«Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us» (Romans 8:37).
The first great temptation both for man and Christ was in the area appetite. Man was defeated while Christ came out victorious. What did each one do to achieve this result?
In Genesis 3, the story of the temptation of man is narrated where the serpent (Satan) gets closer to start a conversation with the woman about what God—allegedly—had said about food. The serpent said to the woman:
«Has God indeed said ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden?’”
Take note that, beyond the false information included in the question, the woman’s attention falls on the food. The woman answered the serpent:
«We may eat the fruit of the trees in the garden, but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said: ‘You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.'»
Then, after a new intervention of the serpent, in which he got to call into question God’s intentions, Eve’s attention focuses once again on food, «So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate» (Gen. 3:6).
In Matthew 4, we are told about the temptation of Jesus in the desert. During this episode, Satan sought to challenge Christ’s identity, channeling his attention «If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.»
However, this time there is a victory. What did Jesus do to come out victorious from this temptation? It is interesting to remember that the Lord had prayed and starved beforehand, denying the indulgence of appetite; and at the moment of temptation, He did not talk about His identity or even food. On the contrary, His attention focused on God, clinging to the Word and obtained a great victory. He answered:
It is written: ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.'»
In essence, to gain the victory, it is necessary to deny the controlling power of the appetite and cling to God when temptation comes. If we overcome this temptation with His help and power, we could conquer on every other point. It is encouraging to remember that «in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.»