'If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become loaves of bread.'"
In order to understand the temptations of the devil, you have to see how he works. Most often, he uses your weaknesses and your needs against you in order to get you to move away from God's grace. That is his primary strategy and purpose. Billy Sunday, the popular evangelist from the early-1900s, explained, "Temptation is the devil looking through the keyhole. Yielding is opening the door and inviting him in."
So how does one overcome temptation? Jesus taught to stand firm for what you believe in, not allowing outside influences to affect your decisions. Regarding temptation, He modelled this personally.
In the Gospel of Matthew, chapter 4, Jesus famously faced temptation from the devil while in the wilderness. He had just been baptized--a spiritual high point--when the Holy Spirit led Him into the wilderness to be tempted. Jesus understood that this was a part of life and part of the process for Him. Likewise, for us to truly understand the goodness of God, we must be faced with evil. It helps us to gain a better understanding and appreciation when we witness goodness in all of its glory.
After fasting for 40 days and nights in the wilderness, we are told that "the devil came and said to [Jesus], 'If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become loaves of bread.'" Jesus knew immediately what the devil was trying to do, in spite of the fact that He was already feeling weak from hunger. If He had chosen to turn the stones into bread as the devil had suggested, He would have missed the purpose of being sent there to begin with.
For some people, turning the stones into bread would have seemed the logical course of action. Doing so would have calmed Jesus' hunger. Yet Jesus clearly shows us that even though the easier road is available to you it is not always the godly road.
Jesus responded by telling the devil, "No! The Scriptures say, 'People do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.'" In essence, Jesus was saying to the devil that the devil had no power over Him. He was not going to stray from God's Word and He was not going to take advice from the devil about what He should or should not do.
Even in His hungry state, Jesus would not waiver His convictions. This is powerful; it gives us the courage to say to those who do not believe, "I believe in my God's Word, and I will continue to do what I know is right no matter what!"
Two more times, the devil presented Jesus with temptations. Each time, Jesus rejected the devil's proposal by responding with the truth of God's Word.
Have you ever found yourself in a position where you were tempted to move away from doing the right thing in order to be liked by others or accepted by others? Have you ever been tempted to compromise your values and beliefs in order to satisfy your desire for comfort or pleasure? Was there ever a situation in which you may have "turned the stone into bread"?
The devil knew that Jesus was the Son of God, yet he tried to get Him to do the wrong thing. He even posed the temptations as a testing of God's goodness, trying to make Jesus feel like He had something to prove. In today's world there are going to be people who will try to do this with you. If this happens how will you respond?