Whatever else Satan may do, he will certainly appeal to our appetites. Far better to play on natural, acknowledged needs than struggle to plant in us artificial ones. Here Jesus experiences the real and very understandable hunger for food by which he must sustain his mortal life. We would not deny anyone this relief; certainly we would not deny the Son of Man. Israel had its manna in the wilderness. This is Israel's God. He has fasted for forty days and forty nights. Why not eat? He seems ready to break his fast, or surely must soon. Why not simply turn the stones to bread and eat?
The temptation is not in the eating. He has eaten before, he will soon eat again, and he must eat for the rest of his mortal life. The temptation, at least the part I wish to focus on, is to do it this way, to get his bread--his physical satisfaction, relief for his human appetite--the easy way, by abuse of power and without a willingness to wait for the right time and the right way. It is the temptation to be the convenient Messiah. Why do things the hard way? Why walk to the shop--or bakery? Why travel all the way home? Why deny yourself satisfaction when with ever such a slight compromise you might enjoy this much-needed nourishment? But Christ will not ask selfishly for unearned bread. He will postpone gratification, indefinitely if necessary, rather than appease appetite--even ravenous appetite--with what is not his.
I'll take an earnest person over a hip person every time, because hip is short-term. Earnest is long-term.
Earnestness is highly underestimated. It comes from the core, while hip is trying to impress you with the surface.
"Hip" people love parodies. But there's no such thing as a timeless parody, is there? I have more respect for the earnest guy who does something that can last for generations, and that hip people feel the need to parody.
When I think of someone who is earnest, I think of a Boy Scout who works hard and becomes an Eagle Scout. When I was interviewing people to work for me, and I came upon a candidate who had been an Eagle Scout, I'd almost always try to hire him. I knew there had to be an earnestness about him that outweighed any superficial urges toward hipness.
Think about it. Becoming an Eagle Scout is just about the only thing you can put on your resume at age fifty that you did at age fourteen - and it still impresses.
“Prayer is the act by which the will of the Father and the will of the child are brought into correspondence with each other” (Bible Dictionary, “Prayer,” 752–53). Humble, earnest, and persistent prayer enables us to recognize and align ourselves with the will of our Heavenly Father. And in this the Savior provided the perfect example as He prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane, “saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done. . . . And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly” (Luke 22:42, 44).
In fact, is it not possible that one reason so many parallels and resemblances exist between the fulness of the gospel and the various approximations of the truth is that men and women are responding to what might be called “spirit memories” of the past? These would be intimations of things we once knew that now seem just out of conscious awareness. President Joseph F. Smith observed: “All those salient truths which come home so forcibly to the head and heart seem but the awakening of the memories of the spirit. Can we know anything here that we did not know before we came?” (Gospel Doctrine, 13). Is this not why so many who join the Church recognize in the teachings of the missionaries things that they feel they have always known, things, interestingly enough, that are not necessarily to be found in their former religion? We generally refer to those who come into the Church as converts, implying that they turned from another belief to embrace the testimony of the Restoration. While that happens in many instances, those who are baptized will often say, “Everything the missionaries told me I already believed!” That which we call a conversion often seems to be the awakening of a distant memory, an echo from the past. “People ask me why I left my old church,” the convert says. “I tell them it was not a matter of leaving my old church so much as it was a matter of coming home.”
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