Hello everyone! Today is the first day in the “25 Days of December” series, where we are going to dive into the book of Matthew (chapters 4-28) and give you a little soul food to get you through this season full of busyness and distraction. 🙂
Let me preface this by saying that I feel like a Grinch some days. SOME days I feel overwhelmed with gift buying, sales ads, traditions, to do lists, food lists, event dates and all of the other things that tend to come with the holiday season. Don’t get me wrong, the holidays make me feel warm inside and I love to spend time with my family and create memories for our children but GOLLY, it’s kinda been turned into a big tornado of doing and spending and not so much enjoying, am I right? Being an introvert, I thrive off of quiet time, reading and studying. The holidays tend to kind of squash that.
During my study yesterday (yes, this just came to be YESTERDAY), God just laid it on my heart to provide a study of the book of Matthew and share it with you ladies. Now, I don’t know about you but when I hear God’s whispers I try my hardest to obey! And our loving God always rewards obedience. 🙂 To be completely honest, I have no idea what I’m going to be writing each day and I have nothing prepared in advance. I simply prayed over the study, over you ladies and asked that my blog posts be the voice of whatever it is God is wanting to be said here. I sincerely pray that you ladies find value in this series and find some light through the holidays. ❤
Before we start, I just wanted to clarify that I am not a bible expert. I have no special degrees or certificates. I’m just an everyday wife and mom trying to dig into scripture and apply it to my life like any other regular person out there. The thing that may be a little different is the fact that I am FIRED UP to share my “scripture digging” adventure with YOU! So let’s get started….
Today, we start in chapter 4 where Jesus is tempted by Satan 3 times and goes to gather men along the beach of Lake Galilee to become “fishers of men.”
Side note: I will mostly be referencing both the Message translation and the NIV translation. I also like to use biblehub.com to look up verses that really stick out to me, because it offers MANY versions of the same verse which opens up lots of room for deciphering!
The first part of this chapter where Jesus is tempted by Satan three times, spoke to me in a way that every human on this planet can understand! TEMPTATION. Not one of us is exempt from this. We all know what Satan has set out to do: steal, kill and destroy. He stops at nothing but the power of Jesus. He has so many strategies that it makes it hard for us to figure out what’s going on! He will hit us out of NOWHERE and most times he will start at our WEAKNESSES. Satan does not place nice, guys.
In Matthew 4:1-3 we read, “Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”
His weakness. His hunger. Now, he’s Jesus, he could have easily performed a miracle and turned the stones into bread and satisfied his hunger but he knew that was not His Father’s plan and that He would be giving into the enemy and THEREFORE giving him POWER. You guys, the important thing here is not that we do or do not give into temptation (although, that is important). The even BIGGER point here, is that when we DO give into temptation, that allows Satan IN! It gets him closer and closer to where he really wants to be. In our hearts; STEALING our family, friends and love for Jesus, KILLING our passion and drive, and DESTROYING the plan God has for us.
This is not where you need to start feeling bad about all of the temptations you’ve given into. The mistakes you’ve made and the times you’ve given in can be forgiven! Our Father loves us so much and will forgive us of our sins. We can not be strong ALL the time. We are human, and unlike Jesus, we do not have the answer every time. BUT, we do have the same access to our Father that Jesus did, through prayer. Lately, I have been finding AMAZING amounts of pressure relieved by prayer and asking for forgiveness as well as giving forgiveness to others even if it may appear that they don’t deserve it. Grace.
If we DO need somewhere to look when we want to resist temptation, though, we can look to Jesus’ response in Matthew 4:4.
Matthew 4:4 says: Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'”
When it comes down to it, all we really need in this life is God. Sure there are things we “need” to survive like water, food, shelter, love and so on but hasn’t GOD promised he will provide all of those things and more to those who believe in Him?
Philippians 4:19 assures us: “And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.”
Again in Luke 12:31 we read: New Living Translation
Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and he will give you everything you need.
The word is our SWORD. We must pull it out and fight the enemy when he tries to tempt us!
The second time Satan tries to tempt Jesus, he tries to do so by challenging Him. His attitude comes off as: So your Father has all of these powers? Prove it! And how does Jesus respond? He used his SWORD (scripture), and quotes Deuteronomy.
Deuteronomy 6:16 says: “Do not put the LORD your God to the test as you did at Massah.”
The third and final time Jesus is tempted, Satan pulls a very famous stunt of his by offering Jesus the riches of the world. This one hits home for a lot of us, if not all of us, at one point or another. How appealing has the enemy made money, diamonds, brand name clothes, big houses, and fast cars? How much money does any given brand spend on advertising in a year? He works overtime trying to convince us that we will be LIKED and ACCEPTED if we have these things. We will FIT IN if we follow the crowd and fit into this mold. Being POPULAR fuels many of our daily actions!!
We are ALL guilty of this. The enemy feels he is winning at this, because he sees our weakness of wanting to feel loved and accepted; as our human instincts crave it to survive. The thing we have mixed up here is that God instilled this craving into us so that we would NEED HIM! That craving that we all have can only be satisfied by Him.
I have experienced this like anyone else out there. I STILL fight temptation to have the things of this world. One thing I can say, though, is that God has shown me that those things not only leave me empty but they push me further away from God and closer to the enemy. Can I get personal and share my money situation like we are told not to? ha. A year ago my husband was making $12,000 a month. We were on the verge of divorce. Today he makes less than $3,000 a month and we are the happiest we have EVER been! We budget TOGETHER, we spend QUALITY time together, we ENJOY each other’s presence and we push through this life TOGETHER! We no longer try to satisfy our needs with money and things. When our budget doesn’t allow us to take trips or go out to eat or take the kids to a playhouse – we stay home and watch Frosty the Snowman, drink hot chocolate and play on the floor (GASP!)
Simply put: If we desire the things of this world over God, we are worshiping the wrong God. That hurts. As Christians, we don’t want to hear that we are WORSHIPING THINGS. That seems as crazy as worshiping a cow. Worshiping doesn’t necessarily mean we bow down and pray to this thing. It simply means we put it first. If the majority of our thoughts revolve around something other than God, we need to change our priorities. What is the motive behind our actions? That will ultimately tell us who or what we are worshiping. Now, we all have everyday tasks that we need to do: cooking, cleaning, errands, work, attending events etc but we need to look at the REASON we do these things. Putting God first doesn’t always have to mean we spend 24/7 at church. We can serve Him through our DAILY actions. We can clean our house in joy knowing that we are providing a happy place for our family to land, we can go to work and make a difference in someone else’s life, we can tip a waitress a bigger amount because we are blessed with the means to do so.
The last thing I wanted to touch on today was when Jesus walked down the beach of Lake Galilee and began to gather “fishers of men.” What does this mean to you? To me, it means that God is calling us to go out and “catch” the hearts of the broken and tell them about the love of Jesus. Let’s talk to our friends and family with meaning. Let’s be REAL and SINCERE and relate to people! Tear down walls, cry with people, break generational cycles of abuse, CARE about PEOPLE and not what they are wearing or driving.
For some reason, my husband and I tend to get into Netflix shows that have to do with the end of the world. Power outages, viral outbreaks, zombies…..whatever it is. I take away things from those shows other than the cool visual effects and sappy love stories. One thing that kind of sticks with me is: in all of these shows, these people are having to survive and guess what? MONEY means NOTHING. It loses it’s value. The material things these people worked their whole lives to store up and gain status from…..they mean absolutely nothing. The things that mean something to them during this time are their faith and relationships. Hollywood did get something right. The End. ❤
*I hope to see you tomorrow, all ready to dive into chapter 5! If you haven’t already, please find the “follow” button in the sidebar on the right so you can receive daily emails. This will allow you to easily access these posts each day of the series!