Lesson 02: Holy Habits 02/04: Bible Study
Shortly after his 30th birthday, Jesus was just about to kick off His public ministry. He didn't start with business cards or a billboard. Instead, He planned a little retreat and vision quest. He was weak from fasting and exhausted from the harsh elements, so the enemy saw an opportunity. At His weakest, the Devil appeared to tempt Jesus with the sins of pride, idolatry, and...bread making. Yes, you heard that right. That's exactly what happened. Satan, the accuser, tempted Jesus to bake up a loaf of bread in the middle of the desert. Let's examine this passage to learn how we can overcome conflict, temptation, and accusation.
Large Group Instructions
Have a collection of bread items on the stage.
We are blessed to live in a world with bread.
Whether we are talking about chewy bagels in New York City, buttery garlic knots from the local Italian place, Bao from a little cart in Shanghai, or Naan served with Indian curry, bread is a staple at tables all around the world.
It’s also an important metaphor in the Bible.
Shortly after his 30th birthday, Jesus was just about to kick off His public ministry. He didn't start with business cards or a billboard.
Instead, He planned a little retreat and vision quest.
Jesus ventured into the wilderness to pray, fast, and unplug.
We aren't talking about a wilderness resort with a pool and spa.
Jesus was roughing it in the middle of the desert.
He was weak from fasting and exhausted from the harsh elements, so the enemy saw an opportunity.
At His weakest, the Devil appeared to tempt Jesus with the sins of pride, idolatry, and...bread making.
Yes, you heard that right. That's exactly what happened. Satan, the accuser, tempted Jesus to bake up a loaf of bread in the middle of the desert.
Let's examine this passage to learn how we can overcome conflict, temptation, and accusation.
We often assume that Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness contained a few short episodes over a forty-day period.
That's not what this passage teaches.
Luke records that Satan tempted Jesus for forty days straight.
It was a nonstop battle. Satan stalked Jesus through the sandy landscape while whispering in His ear every step of the way. What was the first temptation?
The devil told Jesus to make bread out of some stones.
For context, Jesus was fasting.
A chunk of bread isn't evil, but this would break the commitment made by Christ.
The devil wanted to stop His spiritual journey with a physical temptation. This is how the enemy often works.
He uses physical temptation to distract us from spiritual growth.
Motioning to some loaf-shaped boulders, Lucifer likely prodded, "You're hungry, aren't you? Turn these stones into a snack. You have the power, don't you? Wouldn't a hot piece of buttered toast be delicious right now?"
Jesus rebutted, "Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God."
Do you see what Jesus is doing here? He quoted the Old Testament.
This exact line comes from the book of Deuteronomy.
When Christ was in conflict, Scripture was his escape.
The Word of God is our source of spiritual food and fuel. Scripture is soul food.
Just like food is essential for your physical health, the Bible is essential for your spiritual health.
Do you want a full and fulfilled life? Nourish your soul with scripture.
It's not a luxury. It’s a necessity. Notice that Jesus said we are to "live by" every Word that comes from God.
He didn't merely say to read it or get it tattooed on our arms.
Jesus commanded us to live by the word of God. Without food, you become physically weak. Without God's word, you become spiritually weak.
Bread has gotten a bad wrap over the years.
Low carb diets spread a smear campaign that actually made bread sales plummet.
Health-conscious folks will do jumping jacks at the sheer smell of fresh bread. That's not the kind of bread Jesus was tempted with, though.
Bread in this era was nutritionally dense.
It wasn't like the Wonder Bread at your local supermarket. This stuff was full of sprouted grains, seeds, fiber, protein, and the nutrients people needed to get through a day of manual labor.
It was a superfood.
The Bible is for nourishment, not indulgence.
I once saw an Instagram post that read, "The Bible is bread for daily nourishment, not cake for special occasions.”
I love that thought. You shouldn't only crack open your Bible during church services.
God gave it to you for daily use.
Meditating on scripture is like medicine.
God's Word, like food, is designed to give you energy, vigor, and health. Form the habit of spiritual health by reading the Bible every day.
In this passage, Jesus didn't just use God's Word for energy. He also used it as a weapon against the enemy’s attacks. A baguette would make a terrible sword, which is why the Bible also teaches us another central role of Scripture in our lives.
God's word is a weapon for when the enemy attacks.
In Ephesians 6, Paul urges us to take on the full armor of God which includes "the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God" (Ephesians 6:17).
Jesus was attacked in the wilderness, so He used the word as a weapon.
The Bible doesn't just help us get healthier, it also makes us a better fighter.
Read scripture every day, it is the weapon that helps you win every battle.
Whenever you encounter a lie from the enemy, respond to it with the truth of God. Whenever you are feeling fear, go into the Word for peace.
Whenever you face an attack, open the Bible for strength.
You likely don't see too many needs for a sword while living in the suburbs. What are we fighting against, anyway? Paul, in the same passage, teaches that "Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the power of the dark world.”
Every day, we find ourselves fighting a spiritual war.
We are defending ourselves from the lies of the enemy and his tempting tactics. Daily scripture reading helps us replace the lies in our mind with the truth of God. If you want to win the fight, you need the right weapon. Reach for God's word.
The Bible is like bread; it nourishes us. The Bible is like a blade; it protects us. Lastly, the Bible is like a band-aid; it heals us.
Emotional injury is impossible to avoid.
The lies of the enemy may even make a home in your heart.
Next thing you know, you have allowed a lie to swallow us up. It's possible that what someone did or said cut us deeper than people know. We can replay the awful things someone said to us in our head like a playlist on repeat.
Next thing you know, injury has become your identity. When you are emotionally hurt, you need spiritual healing.
The authors of the Bible are well aquatinted with pain.
They wrote about hurt, suffering, grief, snake bites, rashes, and the consequences of their sin.
One of the most prolific writers about pain is King David, the primary songwriter behind most of the Psalms. He was the Taylor Swift of Ancient Israel — writing relatable songs about heartbreak, pain, loss, and loneliness.
In Psalm 107, David writes, "He sent out his word and healed them; he rescued them from the grave" (Psalm 107:20).
This song was written to the Jewish Diaspora, which is a fancy word for "the scattered." The Jewish people were forced to live in exile, away from their homes, friends, and families.
They lived a life on the move, which led to some complex emotional turmoil. They were feeling lost, directionless, and insignificant. David wrote a song to help them find application within their affliction.
To sum up the Psalm, healing is found in the Word of God.
If you are facing insecurity or inadequacy, read God's healing Word. You will discover a life-changing truth that there is a real God who really loves you and really wants the best for your life.
Maybe You can’t stop thinking about the cutting words he said to you before slamming the door behind him. Commit to meditating on the Word of our God who calls you perfectly and wonderfully made.
Maybe your brain flashbacks and reminds you of the trauma you faced. The word of God will show you that God can heal and redeem even your deepest hurts.
I know it doesn’t feel like it, but emotional healing is possible for you.
Healing is available to you because God is active within you. The message that David wrote to the scattered Israelites is still true today — God’s Word heals wounds. It's like a bandaid for your soul.
Like Satan stalking Jesus in the wilderness, the enemy uses the same strategy when going after you.
He waits for you to be weak, then he tempts you like he did to Jesus. After that, he condemns you for the temptation. It's a vicious spiral that leads to emptiness, brokenness and hurt.
Fortunately, God has given us what we need to stop the cycle. God's word gives us nourishment, protection, and healing.
Small Group Instructions
TALK IT OUT Go through these questions with your circle. Be honest. Be open. Talk through the tough stuff.
Icebreaker: Introduce yourself and share this week’s highs and lows (the best part of your week and the lowest part of your week).
Q1: What can we do to develop the Holy Habit of reading God’s word every day?
Q2: Have you ever heard a Bible verse that helped you through a difficult moment? Share the verse and/or situation, if you can remember.
Q3: What do you need most from God’s Word right now? Nourishment and strength; protection from lies and temptation; or healing from hurts and hardships?
Application: What can you commit to doing this week to begin integrating Bible reading into your routine?
This reading plan includes:
Deuteronomy 8:18 Philippians 4:13 Proverbs 10:4 Romans 8:28 Colossians 3:23 Joshua 1:9 Proverbs 3:5-6
Do the following with each passage:
ASK– God to connect with you here. In prayer, start by slowing down and inviting God to be present. Begin with focus and openness to see what God has for you today.
READ– the selected section of Scripture slowly. Take note of the words and phrases that intrigue you, reading them a second time if necessary.
REFLECT– on what grabs you. How does this passage personally relate to your own life and experiences?
RESPOND– to the Scripture. Speak directly to God about what’s on your mind and heart. Look for ways to live out what you’ve uncovered.
About For Ministry Resources Youth Series
FMR develops a monthly youth ministry curriculum that is free to all local churches. Each monthly release includes a sermon series, small group series, Bible devotional, and supporting graphics packs that are original, practical, and ready to use.