By Steve Wallace
The ability to have anything you want, when you want it. Power and glory. Respect and influence. Timeless pursuits, these are the universal values of those who run ahead of the pack. The enemy believed he could tempt Jesus Christ with exactly these things. After the Savior fasted for forty days in the wilderness, the devil appeared to him. “The devil said to him, ‘If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.’ ” Jesus quoted applicable Scripture and remained sinless. “Then the devil took Jesus 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 their 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.’ ” Nothing doing.
“Then the devil led Jesus 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. Jesus said to him in reply, ‘It also says, You shall not put the Lord, your God, to the test.’ ” The devil left him, but left us a measure of the temptations we continue to face.
Is the desire to have all we want—when we want it—enough to cloud our judgment? Do we seek power to the exclusion of wisdom and discretion? Does the longing for acceptance act like a narcotic, dulling our ability to choose wisely? Who do we worship? What do we worship? On what do we place ultimate value? When we are fatigued, physically or spiritually famished, lonely, anxious about tomorrow, aimless and weary, we tend to make poor choices. We sin. At times, universal values are nothing more than universal pleasures. If we focus on the God of the universe, we find ourselves more dependent on him, capable of making choices that honor the Lord and actually serve our best purposes too.
Steve Wallace BA, MA is a local writer, minister and teacher. (And a good friend!)
Used by permission of Stewardship Today.