Thursday, March 31, 2011

Gluttons Crave

How well do you do in resisting the temptation to eat too soon or too much? The deadly sin of gluttony has it's grip on you. And me. And it almost had it's grip on Jesus. How did Jesus resist the temptations of gluttony in the wilderness? What we learn from him might - it might just be helpful to us.

Here's the story:
And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness for forty days, being tempted by the devil. And he ate nothing during those days. And when they were ended, he was hungry.

The devil said to him, "If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread."
And Jesus answered him, "It is written, 'Man shall not live by bread alone.'" (Deut. 8v3)

And the devil took him up and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time, and said to him, "To you I will give all this authority and their glory, for it has been delivered to me, and I give it to whom I will. If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours."

And Jesus answered him, "It is written, "'You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve.'"(Deut 6v13)

And he took him to Jerusalem and set him on the pinnacle of the Temple and said to him, "If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here, for it is written,

 "'He will command his angels concerning you,
 to guard you,' and

 "'On their hands they will bear you up,
 lest you strike your foot against a stone.'" (Psalm 91v11-12)

And Jesus answered him, "It is said, 'You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.'" (Deut. 6v16)

And when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from him until an opportune time. And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee, and a report about him went out through all the surrounding country. And he taught in their synagogues, being glorified by all.
-Luke 4v1-15 (ESV)

There were three temptations - all variations of the deadly sin of gluttony. Gluttony is about craving food. But food is about life, and so gluttony quickly becomes about more than just one too many french fries. Gluttony is about craving too much, too soon, too eagerly - recognition and affirmation, attention and affection, sustenance and gifts.

What are the ways that gluttony is at work in your life? Your belly reveals your gluttony towards food and drink. Your impatience and anger reveal your gluttony towards accomplishment and accolades. Your insecurity and worry reveals your gluttony towards attention and affection. You can't hide your gluttony. You can misname it, deny it, or you can accept it and repent.

Jesus was human like you and me. The devil tempted him with real temptations. Forty days in the wilderness - would you and I resist the turning stones to bread? See, Jesus was re-enacting the story of Israel in the wilderness - that's part of the reason why he quotes from Deuteronomy 8. He's letting God test him. Israel failed their test in the wilderness, Jesus must pass his test in the wilderness.

Jesus was announced at his birth as a King. Just as Israel was promised a land flowing with milk and honey, so Jesus was promised all authority and glory. If the devil offered a short-cut, a more convenient way that bypassed crucifixion - would Jesus take it? A powerful temptation it was for Jesus. When he quotes from Deuteronomy 6, he is remembering the promises God made to Israel and to him...there is no easy road to greatness and goodness.

Jesus - his name means "God saves." He was called Immanuel at his birth - "God with us." In the midst of his hunger, his lonliness, his contemplation of the hard road ahead - will YHWH save Jesus? Is the LORD with Jesus? To be atop the Temple, the dwelling place of God - to test God there - it reveals great mistrust in Him. The devil quotes Psalm 91 - twisting the poem on trust to become a tool of testing. Jesus responds by referring to the story in Deuteronomy 6 again - unlike the Israelites who quarreled with God and doubted his ability to care for them, Jesus would stay loyal and full of faith.

Gluttony for bread, glory, affirmation. It's our story.
It's Jesus' story.

The deadly sin of gluttony was the starting point for the devil’s tempting of Jesus. And so it often is with us. To fail to resist this sin is to leave us too vulnerable with all the others.

The devil offered Jesus a short-cut, convenience, immediate results. The devil used lies, vanity, and fear; he sought to blind, to distort, to sow seeds of mistrust.

What are signs that you’re succumbing to the deadly sin of gluttony?
Do you crave short-cuts, to convenience, to immediate results?
Are you letting yourself get lied to? Do you let others appeal to your vanity? Are you often afraid? Is it easy for you to mistrust?

What To Do About the Deadly Sin of Gluttony?
It’s okay to stay hungry. God will provide - at just the right time, in just the right way.

There is only one way to greatness, goodness, and satisfaction. God is trustworthy.

Trust God to answer you when you call on him… and accept the form of help he gives you. God is with you.

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