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    Need...Pride...Purpose — The 3 Temptations of Christ

    The 3 Temptations of Christ while in the wilderness.

    NEED...Turn this stone into bread.

    After 40 days of fasting, the body literally begins to feed on itself and feelings of starvation take hold. Until then, a kind of euphoria has taken over but in the end, the reality of starvation starts to take over every thought as your body begins to, almost literally, cry out for food. In fact, this cry is no longer just a cry for what is needed but has become a DEMAND. It is in this weakened state in both body and mind that Satan came to tempt the Son of God. Satan will always come to you, not as your adversary but will pose as your "friend" and as your friend, try to "reason" with you to accept his advice.

    The premise is that Satan seeks to imply at this time that God has abandoned you and if you are to survive, you must cast off your reliance upon God, seeing as how He has left you in this state, and rely upon your own devices and seek your own solutions. Turn this stone into bread means, you don't have to wait upon God any longer but He has given you the power and authority to effect your own escape from starvation. You don't need God when you can do this yourself.

    Isn't this what we often have faced throughout our lives as we faced one dilemma after another. When the answer doesn't come quickly enough, we choose our own solution? As in the case of King Saul, he was instructed by the prophet to wait for him to come so that he can sacrifice to God before entering into battle but the prophet delayed his coming and the soldiers were getting anxious for the battle. King Saul seeing this, decided not to wait as instructed but attempted to find his own solution and started to make the necessary sacrifices to God but just as he began this, the prophet arrives. Result? He learns that because of his refusal to wait on God and obey the instructions given to him through God's servant the prophet Samuel, God has stripped his kingdom from him. Not being faithful in the little results in not being trusted in the big. (1 Samuel 13)

    How many times have we too took matters into our own hand. Can you pause a moment and reflect on some of those events in your own life? Did we choose to wait on God first and foremost "until" He came with His solution or did we go it alone? Did we succumb to the pressure from others to conform to their demands or expectations? Did we try to solve our own dilemma according to our own understanding as Abraham did after God promised him a son and since his own wife could not bear children, he accepted his wife's recommendation and went into his wife's maiden and created an Ismael whose descendants would oppose his generations after him from generation to generation till today?

    "Man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God."

    PRIDE...Cast yourself down from this pinnacle for God has given His angels charge over you to bear you up in their hands so that you will not dash your foot upon a stone.

    There is something very insidious about this kind of temptation that promotes a kind of religious pride in the heart of a man. It goes along with something like this. We grow in the knowledge "about" God and about our role "with" God. The more we increase in the knowledge of what the Bible teaches, the greater the "opportunity" arises to where we will put to the test His promises in our lives. Where we are not the most careful about is in our need to be subservient to the will and desire of God. We feel more and more confident that God has given us certain promises that He intends to "help" us that, if we aren't careful, we may look more on His promises instead of Him as the "giver" of those promises.

    I am reminded of an episode during my life where I began to witness my brethren in Christ drifting more towards the "gifts" of the Spirit and vying for those gifts and through them, using them to establish who they were "because" of those gifts. I knew something was wrong with this picture but could not put my "finger" on it until God gave me a "vision".

    I was riding with a friend to pick up a piano in a neighboring state when, during that long ride, I was given a vivid vision. I saw myself in the midst of my brethren that were vying for the gifts of the Spirit when, in the vision, I fell asleep and had a dream. In that dream, I was one of the disciples of Christ and was among those who witnessed Jesus rising up in the air and disappearing in that cloud. Before He rose, He encouraged His disciples who had not asked for anything before to now ask of His Father anything so that their joy would be full. In this dream, even though what He was saying was wonderful and encouraging, that wasn't what I really wanted. Jesus was leaving us to return to His Father and what I wanted more than anything He was willing to "give" us was that I wanted "Him".

    Then that dream in my vision ended when in the vision I saw myself wake up with a different perspective than my brethren. I finally understood what that something wrong was that I could only "sense" before. My brethren had lost sight of their hunger and desire for their Savior and instead, chose to chase after what He could "give" them. This suddenly broke my heart both in the vision and in real life. The vision ended but my broken heart remained as the truth about what we were doing as believers came to hit hard. We had lost sight of who we were and began to be lifted up in pride based upon what we could attain through the gifts of the Spirit. We had become like foolish children, each with our own "toy" showing each other how much better we are than our neighbor because of our "toy".

    In the foolishness of our pride, we became easy targets of Satan's temptation to put the Lord our God to the test forgetting about the Holiness of God and that He will not share His Glory with any. We began to "glory" in ourselves just as that serpent of old was cast down to the earth because of how he saw his own beauty and exalted himself above the glory of God. What we no longer walked in is something that is part of the seven-fold Spirit of God, the Spirit of the Fear of the Lord. Since we came into God's kingdom as adopted sons, we placed ourselves as equal to God and in that, we allowed the pride of life to replace our humility and as such, our focus turned from a life of total surrender to His will to a life of surrender to our own will.

    "You shall not put the Lord your God to the test."

    PURPOSE...Taken to a mountaintop, Jesus was shown all the kingdoms of the earth. Satan said, "All these kingdoms and the glory of them will I give to you if you only bow down and worship me."

    God's purpose for sending Jesus to die on the cross was to have Jesus be a propitiation for our sin and in so doing, establish the kingdom of God in the hearts for those who believe in Him. It was because of Jesus' sacrifice that He was given a Name that is above all other names so that at the name of Jesus, every knee will bow and every tongue confess that He is Lord.

    Satan, knowing full well that Jesus came to establish the kingdom of God on earth, chose to make Jesus an offer that did not require any suffering or dying to attain rulership of all the kingdoms of the earth. This would be the "easy way out". At Jesus' most vulnerable moment, while his flesh was literally starving to death, while his body was weakened, his mind not as clear and his will worn, then the prince of darkness comes with an offer of "relief" from those moments of suffering. Once again, an opportunity was offered to Jesus to find His own solution instead of following His Father's solution. On the one hand, Jesus would have to suffer or, on the other hand, He could attain to what "appears at face value" as the same result but without suffering.

    Years ago, the Spirit of the Lord spoke to me while I was in prayer that He was calling me to walk in a place where I was to no longer work nor seek for work. I was to suffer want, suffer need. No one would be able to understand or accept what He was calling me to do. My pastor would not accept it. My wife would not understand. My brothers and sisters in Christ would not understand nor would my natural family understand. Would I be willing to walk with Him to this place? Let me tell you, this is not something that I would make up or have a secret desire to do. If anything, this was a very scary proposition. If I had not already known the voice of the Spirit of the Lord, I would have tested that Spirit immediately but I "knew" His voice to me and knew it was indeed the Spirit of the Lord calling out to me.

    I had been studying in the scriptures about the journey of the children of Israel through their wilderness and saw how God "tested" them. I found that there were 2 things that He sought to accomplish through their trials and testings in the wilderness. 1-To see what is in their heart and whether they will obey Him or not, and 2-To teach them that man will not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord. I knew that this journey I was being called to walk was not going to be easy especially since wherever I was to go, my family would go with me. Do you know how much harder this was to be when your own wife could not understand the nature of what God was calling you to walk and where you walked would directly affect her and your child? (Deuteronomy 8:2-3)

    No, it was not easy but, as I learned, it also was not impossible. Extraordinary lessons were learned along the way. Lessons that I may never have had the chance to learn any other way, too numerous to reveal at this time. For three and one half years this journey would take. Whether the length of it was by design or by necessity for me to learn what He had in His mind to teach me, I don't know. What I do know is that none of those lessons could have been learned outside of this "wilderness walk" He called me to walk. Truly it was a walk of "faith". Just as He sought to show the children of Israel what was in their hearts, to root unbelief out and replace it with a heart of faith as well as to learn that life consists of more than what is needful for the body but rather what is needful for the soul, so He showed me those truths experientially!

    It is one thing to "say" we walk by faith and quite another to "actually learn" to walk by faith. One is much easier than the other. One requires only a proclamation from our lips while the other requires actually "suffering" from want and need. The first one, we gain nothing as we've learned nothing except empty rhetoric. The second one, the lessons learned become a valuable part of us and can never be replaced or overcome through simple rhetoric. Just as His word said, "To him who overcomes will I give him to eat of some of the hidden manna."

    The truths of God's word is actually "hidden" from the casual observer who declares their faith by word and not by word AND deed. Only DOERS of His word will be able to see and "feed" upon that otherwise "hidden manna". I want to illustrate this truth by looking at a couple of portions of things Jesus said to His disciples.

    Faith as a mustard seed...
    Jesus said that if our faith is as small as a mustard seed, being the smallest of all seeds, we can say to this tree or mountain, "Be uprooted and cast yourself into the sea", and it will do what you say.

    Many come away with a sense of awe and wonderment but few ever really understand what this means. How many have ever witnessed such a thing anyway in order to see this in action with their own eyes? This statement of Jesus then becomes nothing more than an "object" lesson spoken only in a metaphorical sense. But this is not what Jesus intended.

    For those who understand, faith is what opens the door to the kingdom of God and once e've entered, lays the foundation for us to live in God's kingdom. But once we are in His kingdom and our relationship is established and starts to grow, we learn that there is far more involved in our growth than just simple faith. We learn that God demands our complete "obedience" and that "through" obedience, we do as Jesus said HE did. We do ONLY what we SEE the Father doing and speak only what we HEAR the Father saying. If God shows us to do something and to say something, whatever it is that He shows and tells us to do, and we do it, miraculous things happen.

    Example: In my first year as a believer, I befriended another young man who was physically handicapped. He was pigeon-toed, had withered arms and a cleft pallet. Jesse and I were walking to church, very slowly because of his physical limitations. I was telling him about Jesus along the way. We had reached a place where there was no covering or building for blocks around and it started to rain heavily. I could run the couple of blocks easily enough but not so for Jesse, so we both got wet. Just then, I felt a nudge on my left side, Jesse was on my right. It was the Holy Spirit and He said, "Tell Jesse to ask Me to make it stop raining." Without another thought, I agreed and proceeded to tell Jesse. It seemed he would, except he had never asked God for anything and was hesitant. Immediately, I turned to the Lord and asked Him if I could show Jesse how to pray and the Spirit agreed. I demonstrated a simple straightforward prayer to God for Jesse and he immediately began to say the same words. Just before Jesse finished his prayer, the rain abruptly stopped. Jesse got very excited and started to jump and shout his excitement. I looked all around us and the rain was still coming down as before but just not on us. Meanwhile, I felt another nudge and the Spirit said to explain to Jesse WHY God did this. Till that time, I actually did not know why God did this but as soon as He said this, He put that knowledge into me and I told Jesse, "Do not think that you can 'show off' to others that God will stop the rain for you. He did this to cause you to know that He loves you and hears your prayers." At this, Jesse began to cry. He had never known such love from God.

    You see, God has never used me like that before or again with anyone. It was not necessarily "my faith" that stopped the rain that day but rather "my obedience" although faith did play a foundational role. Had I not been obedient to the instruction of the Spirit of the Lord, none of this would have happened. Jesus said that if we spoke to that tree to uproot itself and cast itself in the sea, it would do whatever we say. But Jesus Himself never did according to His own will but only did what He saw His Father doing. So, as it was with this episode with the rain. I only spoke what the Spirit told me to speak and as a result, a miracle happened.

    What Jesus taught about faith is that it works when we are walking in complete OBEDIENCE to the Father just as He walked. Only those who walk according to the Spirit of God, according to His instructions, will be able to "see" this truth. Only they are allowed, through their own obedience, to eat of that "hidden" truth or manna.

    Another example is found in Matthew 7. Jesus is talking about judgment and His illustration is about the "sliver" and the "beam" in our eyes. In order to help another with the "sliver", we first must remove the "beam" in our own eye in order to "see clearly" to remove the sliver in our brother's eye. Until we actually "do" this, we will never fully understand the "hidden" truth He spoke. Jesus is not speaking a "literal" truth but a "metaphorical" truth using a type of "picture" language to reveal a spiritual truth. Wood, hay and stubble are used later in the New Testament to illustrate a type of worthless material that is only fit to be burned in the fire and as something that we should not "build the kingdom of God" with in our lives as it will not be able to stand the testing and trials by fire. I believe that Jesus is using this same metaphorical truth in this passage in Matthew 7.

    If this is true, then that "sliver" and "beam" represent the works of the flesh which the kingdom of God should not be built with. The eye only looks upon those things which the heart desires and since it is by the contents of the heart men pursue things in their lives whether they are according to the flesh or according to the Spirit, then that "sliver or beam" indicates whether their heart is filled with the desires of the flesh or the desires of the Spirit. If our heart still contains the desire of the flesh and we wish to remove that desire, we quickly find that we do not have the power to change our own hearts. We can only acknowledge the evil that is contained within our heart and seek God's forgiveness. Once that forgiveness is obtained, Jesus promises to forgive us and to "cleanse" us from all unrighteousness. He alone has the power to transform our heart and not we ourselves. Once our desire of the flesh has been removed and replaced with a desire not to please ourselves but seek to please the Father, THEN we can clearly see that we are not the one to remove the sliver in our brother's eye. Only through the Blood of the Lamb, the word of our testimony and we love not our lives unto death will we be able to testify of our witness of His love and mercy and grace in our lives and through that testimony, tell our brother with the "sliver" how they can call upon the Lord and He will remove their "sliver" and transform their heart as He transformed ours.

    That "hidden" truth, revealed only as we became "doers" of His word and not hearers only, is the "hidden manna" given only to those who are actual "doers" and through obedience become overcomers.

    Both of these examples are "fruits" of our walk of faith and if we continue in this walk, without turning aside to seek an "easier way" than that way He is calling us to walk in, we too will be able to reject the temptation of Satan and choose to walk in all the ways of God, even if we are called to "suffer". By our "obedience" to the Spirit of the Lord, we tell that serpent of old to flee from us just as the scriptures say.

    "The Lord, your God, shall you worship and Him alone shall you serve." "Submit yourselves to God, resist the devil and he will flee."

    Our purpose therefore, is to "know" the Lord and through knowing the Lord, we shall find the "rest" He has promised to all those who believe. God sent Jesus to "redeem" the world back to the Father as He created us so that by our own choice, we will love Him and forever be where He is. This cannot happen unless we believe in, trust in and rely upon Him who loved us so much that He sent His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to take our place in judgment and free us to live with Him for all eternity beginning now.

    Jerry Sundberg

    Soon after I received the Lord in 1976, I started receiving prophetic visions and warnings about the future of the church and the United States. I share my visions on my Hidden Manna websites and offer free of charge my two ebooks entitled “Hidden Manna” and “Hidden Manna 2”.

    Website: Hidden Manna

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