I always liked that the first Sunday of Lent, the Catholic Gospel used is Jesus’ 40 days in desert from Luke 4:1-13

Filled with the Holy Spirit, Jesus returned from the Jordan
and was led by the Spirit into the desert for forty days,
to be tempted by the devil.
He ate nothing during those days,
and when they were over he was hungry.
The devil said to him,
“If you are the Son of God,
command this stone to become bread.”
Jesus answered him,
“It is written, One does not live on bread alone.”
Then he took him up and showed him
all the kingdoms of the world in a single instant.
The devil said to him,
“I shall give to you all this power and glory;
for it has been handed over to me,
and I may give it to whomever I wish.
All this will be yours, if you worship me.”
Jesus said to him in reply,
“It is written
You shall worship the Lord, your God,
and him alone shall you serve.”

Then he led him to Jerusalem,
made him stand on the parapet of the temple, and said to him,
“If you are the Son of God,
throw yourself down from here, for it is written:
He will command his angels concerning you, to guard you,
With their hands they will support you,
lest you dash your foot against a stone.”

Jesus said to him in reply,
“It also says,
You shall not put the Lord, your God, to the test.”
When the devil had finished every temptation,
he departed from him for a time.

Much has been written about this event in Jesus’ life. I often use the book series In Conversation with God to reflect on the readings of the day and here are a few excerpts about today’s Gospel. Regarding the first temptation of turning stones to bread for food:

How generous Our Lord is in humbling himself and fully accepting his human condition! He does not use his divine power to escape from difficulties or avoid effort. Let us pray that He will teach us to be tough, to love work, to appreciate the human and divine nobility of savoring the consequences of self-giving.

This passage of the Gospel teaches us too to be particularly watchful over ourselves and over those whom we have a special obligation to help in their moments of weakness and tiredness: to be alert when we ourselves are going through a bad patch. It is at such moments that the devil chooses to tempt us more fiercely, so that our lives may turn away from God’s will and follow a different path.

Regarding the third temptation of throwing Himself from the pinnacle of the temple:

It seemed a very cunning temptation: if you refuse, you will demonstrate that you do not trust God completely; if you accept, you oblige him to send his angels to save you, to your own personal advantage. (The devil does not know that Jesus would not need any angel at all.)

Christ refuses to perform pointless miracles which would simply be a matter of vanity or ostentation. We too have to be on the alert so as to reject similar temptations that arise in our own circumstances. The wish to excel can be caused by even the holiest of things; we must be alert to false arguments claiming to be based on Holy Scripture, and not ask for (much less demand) proofs or extraordinary signs in order to believe. God indicates the path of faith to us with sufficient graces and testimonies in our everyday lives.

But it was this reflection on the devil offering the kingdoms of the world that really gave me some insights: (emphasis mine)

The devil always promises more than he can give. Happiness is very far from being his gift. Any temptation is always a miserable deception. In order to test us, the devil takes advantage of our ambitions. Probably the worst of these is that of desiring one’s own excellence at all costs, of systematically seeking ourselves in everything we do or plan. Our own self can often be the worst of all idols.

Neither should we fall down to worship material things, making of them false gods which will ultimately make slaves of us. Material goods cease to be good if they separate us from God and our fellow men.

We will have to keep up a constant watch, an unremitting struggle, because we still have the tendency to seek human glory, in spite of our having told Our Lord on many occasions that we want only his glory. Jesus speaks to us too: You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve. And that is what we want and what we ask for; to be able to serve God in the vocation to which he has called us.