Placing Spiritual Above Physical

           In our lives, it seems as if there is every reason to put the spiritual on the back burner and prioritize the physical here and now. My great grandmother used to say, “You have all eternity to learn your lessons, but you might as well get started.“

Matthew 4:1-11 describes the story when the devil was trying to tempt Jesus into prioritizing the physical over the eternal. In Mathew 4:3, the devil first says to Jesus after He fasted for 40 days and nights in the wilderness, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” Despite being starving and having His authority attacked, Jesus replied, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” Since Jesus maintained an eternal focus by dwelling scripture, the devil then attempts to trap Jesus by quoting Psalm 91:11. The devil’s plan was foiled when Jesus replied saying, “You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.” Lastly, Satan promises Jesus all the nations and glory of the world if He bows down in worship to him. Jesus turns to scripture for the third time saying, “You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.”

Some versions of the Bible preface Matthew 4:1-11 with, “The Temptation of Jesus”. God’s children should recognize that every day presented Jesus with opportunities and temptations to put the physical aspects of life before God. Yet, Hebrews 4:14-16 (NIV) reads, “Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

In Jesus’ time of need, He conquered temptation by focusing His soul on God’s word. Each, every child of God has the choice of whether, or not to follow Jesus’ teachings and examples. He chose to please God before Himself so that mankind could be eternally saved. Romans 15:2-7 reads, “Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. For Christ did not please himself…For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.” By utilizing Jesus’ ultimate example, begin today to replace the physical sense with the spiritual in your quest for eternal life.