In Luke 4:4, Jesus said that we cannot live by bread alone, but by every word of God. He made that statement while he was being tempted in wilderness by Satan. After Jesus was baptized ‘to fulfill all righteousness’, He was led by the Spirit into the wilderness where for forty days he underwent temptation by the devil. While there, He had nothing to eat and afterwards was hungry (Luke 4:2).
Most of us are “starving” if dinner is a little late, and missing a meal altogether is a big deal – imagine forty days of nothing to eat. Jesus must have been in an extremely weakened state physically and mentally as well. Have you ever noticed how hard it is to be mentally alert when you are really hungry? Nutritionists have said that if a person is to be sharp mentally, they need a good breakfast in the morning and a good lunch to sustain them throughout the day. Yet the devil comes to Jesus at His weakest physical and mental state.
Satan loves to attack us when we are in our most vulnerable situations. Knowing Jesus had the power to do so, Satan tempts Him to use His power to ‘turn these stones into bread’. (Luke 4:3) But as weak as Jesus was, He resisted the temptation as He did in all cases, by turning to the word of God. Scripture was the source of Jesus’ strength to fight temptation and it must be ours also. It supplies everything we need for life and godliness (2Pet 1:3) and furnishes us for every good work (2Tim 3:16-17). And notice the attitude of Christ in His answer to Satan. Even though He was very hungry, He recognized that the material things of the body and this life are secondary to the spiritual things and to the will of God.
And after Jesus had experienced and practiced this attitude, He taught it to the people. He told them not to worry about the material things of life, but to seek first the kingdom of God and that all the necessities would follow. (Matt 6:24-33) Our greatest goal is to do the will of God. Yet most people seem to have the priorities reversed. They spend their lives in pursuit of the physical and never give attention to the spiritual. Jesus told about a rich man who He called a fool for his attitude toward his possessions. (Luke 12) He was a fool for being solely concerned with the physical and not being ‘rich toward God’.
Christians are not always free from this priority problem. Sometimes material things start having a great priority in their lives. And sometimes, if we are not careful and watchful, they take over our lives and fill our hearts. (Matt 13:22) Where Christ and His word once were most important, now this world and its concerns have taken over. Paul said that the love of money has caused some to wander from the faith and pierce themselves through with many sorrows. (1Tim 6:10) If we want to please God and overcome the devil, we must strive to put the will of God first and material things second. Do not live by ‘bread alone’, but by every word that comes from God!