AFTER Jesus had seen the heavens opened, following his act of humility and obedience in being baptized of John, and beheld the dove descending, and heard the voice declaring him to be God's "beloved Son," we are told that he was "led up of the spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil." The narrative says that he "fasted forty days and forty nights" before the tempter assailed him.
When one first beholds the wonder and glory of divine Science, it may seem to him that his troubles with the flesh are left behind, and it is with joy and confidence that he takes up the fast, the abstinence from materiality which we are told in Isaiah God has chosen "to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and . . . break every yoke." We thus see that for forty days and nights, for a long while, one may seem to himself to be above the plane where the mortal sense can in any wise influence his thoughts and acts, that he is in the atmosphere of Spirit, where even the devils are subject to him through his understanding of Truth. Then, as in the case of the Master, one day the tempter may appear to tell him that he is hungry for human ways, that the flesh has still some claim upon him, that it has rights which cannot be denied, and that he may use his understanding of spiritual power to meet these needs and command stones to be bread for him to eat,—matter to become a medium through which Spirit may work its wonders.
This subtle argument reached the consciousness of Jesus, but his spiritual alertness discerned its deceptive and perversive character, and he answered, "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God." In other words, man shall not be dependent upon matter for life, because God is man's life, and the Word of God is man's food. Here is a point which calls for wide-awake work, also for humility and prayer. To dare to use one's knowledge of "the superiority of spiritual power over sensuous" (Science and Health, p. 454) in order to serve the body, instead of bringing the body into such obedience to Truth as shall progressively reveal all man's needs to be spiritual and spiritually supplied, would be to pervert Mindpower; and if the argument were listened to and obeyed, it would lead the unwary into the snare of delusion and darkness.