living by more than just bread
Paul tells us in 1 Timothy 6 that “those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs. 1
The desire to be rich, the love of money, living by bread alone; where is the sin in that temptation? When we look at the temptation of Jesus to turn stones into bread we wonder don't we? Where is the sin in that? What could possibly be wrong with satisfying a God given hunger? Is that a question or an excuse? Can't you hear just a smidgen of an excuse in that question? What if we applied the same question to a different God given hunger, sex for example? Ah! That's different we have laws for that! We say.
I maintain that Jesus wasn't concerned about dietary laws, would the bread be clean or unclean etc. He was concerned with His relationship with His Father and the work that the Father had given Him to accomplish. Jesus was all about His Father's business. Jesus had a meta-directive, His relationship with the Father. I would like to suggest that our definitions of sin, those that only define which behavior is acceptable or not, are not adequate. They miss a whole other sphere of human experience, relationships. Sin to me is anything that does damage to my relationships, starting with my relationship to God.
Jesus couldn't turn the stones into bread because His Father had not directed that. Jesus said He only did what He saw His Father do and that He did nothing on His own! John 5:19 So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise.” What a picture of total dependence upon God!
Paul warns us that it is through God given cravings that some have wandered away. We need to be loved and it is like a hunger. When we attempt to satisfy this need with anything apart from the will of God we fall into a snare. Like Israel who took the God given spoils from Egypt and melted them down at Sinai into a golden calf. We exchange our God given image for whatever we have substituted for Him. We become like whatever we set our affections upon.
Psalm 106:19 They made a calf in Horeb and worshiped a metal image. 20 They exchanged the glory of God for the image of an ox that eats grass. 21 They forgot God, their Savior, who had done great things in Egypt, 22 wondrous works in the land of Ham, and awesome deeds by the Red Sea.
What are we to do? I can never have total dependence upon God like Jesus did! I forget Him daily! The answer is ancient and simple, repent, believe the gospel, for the kingdom of God is at hand! We don't have to live a perfect totally dependent life. Jesus has already done that for us! We only need to trust in His sufficiency as our atonement. The same meta-directive that prevented Him from acting on His own and turning rocks into bread is the same meta-directive that kept Him upon the cross.
Hebrews 12:1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. When you realize you were the joy set before Him you will swell up with awe and worship!
1 All scripture taken from, The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001)