What was the problem with Satan’s first temptation of turning rocks to bread? The problem was that it was contrary to God’s plan at that time for Jesus. This is what the enemy is always presenting, an alternative plan to God’s. Here he is seeking to lure the Son of God away from His Father and he attempts the same for us. So what’s His strategy? Exploit weakness, undermine priorities and appeal to our independence. How are we to guard against this?
The answer isn’t becoming defensive—it’s being vulnerable.
Naturally, we think that the best way for us to guard our areas of weakness is by acting like we don’t have them. If there was a modern self-help library available in the wilderness that day, I suppose the books would be titled “You’ve God this!” or “Never Weak Again!”. Notice, however, what Jesus doesn’t do. When Satan says, “Make some bread” Jesus doesn’t say, “I’m fine Satan, really. I’m not hungry anyway. I just didn’t feel like eating for a month”. Jesus did not shy away from acknowledging weakness.
Jesus, though fully God, is also fully man, and He is aware of what his body is going through. This, I believe, is something that the church must get right if we are to become who God wants us to be. Confessing weakness and vulnerability is not a sin. In fact, acknowledging weakness can become strength; Jesus did not pretend that his body didn’t need food. In the wilderness He is demonstrating his vulnerability to human weakness and suffering. Acknowledging areas of vulnerability is key in overcoming lies.
We must not only be open before others, we must ultimately be open before God. Are we prone to anxiety? Depression? Lust? Greed? And are these areas more tempting when we are alone? Opening yourself up to God and others about areas of weakness is not a loss, it becomes a win. Admitting an area of weakness can cause you to trust in the strength that God Himself supplies. Isn’t that what the Apostle Paul said? “When I am weak, then I am strong because I’m not depending upon myself any longer, but upon God Himself.” (2 Cor. 12:9-10) The whispered suggestions of the enemy are intended to exploit weakness in order to do what he really wants to do, act independently of God.
Bible Verses: Matthew 4:2-4 (KJV)
2 And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred.
3 And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.
4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.