We are tempted every day in ways we often do not catch. We can be tempted with anxiety, fear, doubt, overeating, procrastinating, and spending too much time on things like social media and less in our Bible. My temptation today, in all transparency, is to look at my body and hate what I see. My weight is not at a healthy level and I have been working for a year to bring it down. I have stalled at the same weight for months and nothing I do is working. The temptation to feel hatred for myself is great today and tears have been fierce this morning. Through my tears, though, I was reminded of the temptation the devil dished out to Jesus.
The devil knew what to tempt Jesus with. When he was starving, he tempted Him with food. He tried to take advantage of Christ’s humility and worship Him instead. Then, in the ultimate temptation he tries to get Jesus to prove He is who He says He is. All these temptations arose when Jesus was at His weakest and if the devil knew how to tempt Jesus Christ, you are guaranteed he knows how to tempt you to despise yourself.
Luke 4: 2- 13 tells us :
2 For 40 days, the Spirit led Him from place to place in the desert, and while there, the devil tempted Jesus. Jesus was fasting, eating nothing during this time, and at the end, He was terribly hungry. 3 At that point, the devil came to Him.
Devil: Since You’re the Son of God, You don’t need to be hungry. Just tell this stone to transform itself into bread.
Jesus: 4 It is written in the Hebrew Scriptures, “People need more than bread to live.”[a]
5 Then the devil gave Jesus a vision. It was as if He traveled around the world in an instant and saw all the kingdoms of the world at once.
Devil: 6 All these kingdoms, all their glory, I’ll give to You. They’re mine to give because this whole world has been handed over to me. 7 If You just worship me, then everything You see will all be Yours. All Yours!
9 Then the devil led Jesus to Jerusalem, and he transported Jesus to stand upon the pinnacle of the temple.
Devil: Since You’re the Son of God, just jump. Just throw Yourself into the air. 10 You keep quoting the Hebrew Scriptures. They themselves say,
He will put His heavenly messengers in charge of You,
to keep You safe in every way.
They will hold You up in their hands
so that You do not smash Your foot against a stone.[d]
Jesus: 12 Yes, but the Hebrew Scriptures also say, “You will not presume on God; you will not test the Lord, the one True God.”[e]
13 The devil had no more temptations to offer that day, so he left Jesus, preparing to return at some other opportune time.
Today, I looked to Jesus’ example to know how to resist the temptation to look down on myself. In Luke 4 we find three ways we can see the devil’s temptation in our lives and how to respond in a Christ-like manner.
- I must look at myself with love. When the devil tempted Jesus with food, He responded that man does not live on bread alone. We find a filling of our souls in the love and presence of God. Jesus was the living bread. He fills our souls and our marriages with immense joy, healing, and longevity. When I found myself self-loathing the first thing I needed to do is to turn to Christ and fill my soul with His love. He loves me. I need to love me too.
- I must recognize and resist the many worldly offers from Satan. This world is full of temptation. Satan keeps it that way. There are many distractions he can use to impose neglectful behaviors: pornography, drugs, alcohol, greed. The list is long and diverse. The temptation will be great. See it for what it is and rebuke him: “Get out of my face Satan!!” Then turn to the Father for strength. Know that, if he has already snared you with temptation, that there is a way out. God always provides a way out. He always provides a way of escape so that you will be able to endure and keep moving forward. 1 Corinthians 10:13. Let Him show you the exit door and then do what it takes to walk through it. Today I recognize and resist the devil’s temptation to see myself as anything other than a worthy, loving and daughter of the Most High.
- Know God’s word so that your armor is strong. When the devil tried to deceive Jesus with scripture he was rebuked because the scripture was planted firmly in Jesus’ heart. God’s word is our strong armor. (Eph 6:10-18) When I am fully clothed in the living Word, I can stand firmly against the devil’s advances. Without His word I am wide open to succumb to the devil’s temptations. God says I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Psalm 139:14 He created me in His image, and He says I am good. Gen 1:27 Truth is found in His word.
Today, through the tears I must love myself. I must see the devil in my frustration. I must stand on the truth that no matter what weight I am; I am so very loved by my Father. That love must be good enough for me. I need it to sustain me in this world where thin means perfection and acceptance. A world where the devil chooses what society deems acceptable. I am not of this world. I belong on the streets of Heaven, walking in peace and love with Christ. Today the devil will not win. I am acceptable in the eyes of my Father and He is all that matters. Today I will join Him at the table and eat of His truth and I will love myself as I am. I choose truth and love and they always win.