And Jesus answered him, "It is written, 'Man shall not live on bread alone'" (Luke 4:4)
Someday, probably, you will become a mommy or a daddy. You will know that you are a mommy or a daddy because two things will happen: (1) you will have a little creature called a baby and (2) you will never sleep again.
Here is the sound you baby will make: "WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!" Translated it means, "You will never sleep again." (This is why married couples who once spoke of "wedded bliss" now, after becoming parents, speak of wedded blisters.)
This sound is your child's attempt at communication. If you are a concerned, conscientious parent - or even if you don't give a rip - you will learn to discern three separate and distinct messages which your bundle of joy is trying to get through to you. Message 1 is, "I'm wet and/or messy. Please change me." Message 2 is "(Yawn.) I'm ready to retire to my boudoir." Message 3 is is, "Feed my face. I'll have the veal scampi with the salad bar." Because babies are always wet and/or messy, tired and/or hungry, they always cry. After that first day or two, you will find yourself joining in.
When your little Junior is tired, there is only one thing you can do: put him to bed (preferably in a noise-proof room or across town).
But there are two things you can do when the kid cries because he is hungry. To help you understand these two options, let's spend a typical night in Lullaby Land...
It's 2:30 in the morning. At last seven-day old Junior has fallen asleep. You and your spouse have finally stopped shaking from the nervous exhaustion and muscle fatigue. With your fingers you have managed to pinch shut your red, bloodshot eyes. OK, everything is calm and quiet. Maybe the little tyke will let you catch some ZZZZ.
It's now 2:30 and 15 seconds. Junior is screaming loud enough to raise the dead. No lung problem with this dude. Lights are flashing on in the windows of the rest of the houses on the block. Angry neighbors are calling you names and phoning the police.
Yes, junior is hungry. But to feed him you must make a bottle, and to make a bottle you you must clean the bottle, get the formula, open the formula can, mix the formula with water, pour the mixture into the bottle, heat the bottle, teat the temperature by sprinkling a few drops on your wrist, put a bandage on the resulting scald, cool the bottle, walk to Junior's crib, stick the bottle in Junior's face and hold it there until either you or he falls asleep. This is option 1. At 2:30 in the morning, it is tedious and difficult.
Option 2 is preferred. When the baby cries, simply walk into his room, plug in a baby pacifier, turn around and go back to bed.
Baby pacifiers are wonderful. You may not think so now, but when your own little rug rat is "communicating," you will gladly give your right arm for a pacifier!
They do have one major drawback. You see, a baby cries because he or she is hungry. Only milk will truly satisfy that need. A plastic pacifier can only temporarily delay the feeding. Milk satisfies, a pacifier only placates.
The world is a pacifier
Consider this: Can a person truly be satisfied by this world? Can the world fulfill a person's needs or is this world a giant pacifier which, at best, can only temporarily ease the hunger?
If you have read Luke 4:1-14, you know that when Satan tempted Jesus, he first challenged Him to turn stones into bread. But Jesus gave a remarkably insightful answer, as we would expect. He took His response from the Old Testament: "Man does not live by bread alone" (Deuteronomy 8:3).
You see, Jesus was calling Satan's bluff. The Lord knew that this world is only a huge pacifier. Humankind is not designed to be satisfied by this world. We contain within ourselves a God-given need for more - a need that all the bread (or gold, or partying) in this world cannot satisfy. It is true that we are born and raised here, as God intended. But we are not supposed to die here. This is not our final resting place. The world is not and never can be a replacement for the only real fulfillment of our need, which is God Himself.
A 20-year old prisoner was describing what he had learned about himself as a result of an intensive prison counseling program. "I have a vacuum inside," he said. "It's an empty void that I've been trying to fill with money and good times. I've come to realize that these things will not fill this empty spot."
This young man has taken the first small but important step on the road that leads to a genuine understanding of what life is all about. This first step is to feel a longing for something more than what the "bread" of this world. This is a simple step and probably most if not all people take it at some point. Unhappily, many never go beyond this stage. Those who do not are forced to form their meaning in life from whatever they can grab in this world.
For those who do go ahead, the second step is usually to search for meaning beyond this world. Complex religions and theologies have been created by people in search of meaning beyond this world. Sad to say, these systems systems of belief are substitutes for God. Many people do indeed receive comfort from these empty faiths, but of course the comfort ends at the grave site.
God is the true fulfillment of our longing. Our emptiness can be vanquished only by Him. The third step, then, is to establish a relationship with God through the only means He has provided to do so - belief in His Son Jesus.
Perhaps someday the prisoner will realize that nothing in this world can fill this empty space. Man cannot live by bread alone. We need God.
1. Read Deuteronomy 8:3. What in fact do we need to truly live?
2. Because our only true fulfillment is rom the Lord, we need Him. But what exactly do we need from Him? Make a list of at least ten spiritual benefits which God provides to those who love Him.