Notes From The Margins: Temptations
Every blog post in my “Notes from the Margins” series is an ongoing attempt to process the truth I’m finding in the Bible as I go. You’re welcome to join me by dialoguing, asking questions, or doing your own “Notes from the Margins” post on your blog. There are a few rules that you can read here.
And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness for forty days, being tempted by the devil. And he ate nothing during those days. And when they were ended, he was hungry. The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.” And Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone.'” And the devil took him up and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time, and said to him, “To you I will give all this authority and their glory, for it has been delivered to me, and I give it to whom I will. If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours.” And Jesus answered him, “It is written, “‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve,’” (Luke 4:1-8).
One of the things that I love about Jesus being a man is that He was tempted in every way just like we were. That means that there isn’t any temptation you face that Jesus didn’t have to face in some way. Not all of those ways are recorded, but I guarantee he faced everything you faced and more. He was tempted to the extreme. That’s why reading the account of where he was actually tempted can be so helpful as we look to Jesus as our example of how to overcome temptations.
Today as part of my reading for our 2&3, I came across the account of Jesus’ temptation in Luke 4 again. Here’s what struck me as I read it this morning: Satan was offering something to Jesus that was already promised to Him (Psalm 2:7-8). He wasn’t just offering to make Jesus the idol of all humanity. Satan was actually offering Jesus the destiny God had promised Jesus without having to go through the cross. It was destiny minus the pain.
But that got me thinking about how often we fall for the same temptations. We want to be like King David but we don’t want to be chased through the wilderness by the leader God has removed his hand from. We want the ministry of Paul minus the misunderstandings by people we love, even fellow believers. We want to walk by faith without attempting and failing like Peter did when he stepped out of the boat. We want the promise without the pain. And very frequently we forget that the pain and the suffering are the very things that God uses to prepare us for His promise in the first place.
Satan was looking for worship. Whenever we take short cuts to step into God’s promises with following God’s ways, I think we enter into a measure of worshiping Satan. But to choose the hard path that God is leading us through, all the while believing that God will still deliver on His promise? That’s true worship of the Father. It’s something we’re supposed to give only to Him. Maybe you aren’t being offered a chance to become God of all the nations today, but are you taking a short cut to something God promised in way He hasn’t provided? Today, I’m going to choose the way of God that honors Him, no matter what it costs me.
That’s today’s “Note from the Margin.” Feel free to comment, discuss, and dialogue in the comments section.