Saturday, February 18, 2012

One Minute Devotion: Matthew 4: 8-11

Matthew 4:8-11

Again, the devil taketh Him up into an exceeding high mountain, and showeth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them;  and saith unto Him, all these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.  Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve.  Then the devil leaveth Him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto Him.

Most, like myself, look at this verse and see it from one perspective. It is an excerpt from the temptation of Christ in the wilderness as told in the scriptures. It is the last of the three temptations that Satan unsuccessfully tried with Jesus. The face value dissertation is that Christ could be tempted but could not sin. Jesus' humanity had the possibility of sinning, but His diety would not allow it. In that, we can draw several conclusions. One, that the devil believed he could tempt Jesus with some level of success. The devil is the master of pride, so to tempt Christ, believing it would be futile, is a ridiculous concept. Two, the devil wholly underestimated the person and power of Christ and His mission. Finally, the devil understands the concept of worship and knows scripture better than most so called scholars. Two facts that make him an incredibly dangerous adversary. I never like giving the devil his due, but facts are facts. Those three points alone are incredibly powerful and thought provoking, but there is another level to this passage that I think most miss. I know I have. Why would Satan tempt Christ with the idea of worshipping him? Satan believed, because of the fall, that he held the title of the world and humanity. That God could not revoke that title. As seemingly unimaginable as that idea is, the devil was convinced of it. He believed he won a significant victory through his rebellion, in heaven, and successfully tempting God's first man, Adam. Through Adam, he corrupted God's ultimate creation, a being designed for the sole purpose of glorifying Himself. That self perceived win, convinced the devil that he could defeat God if he worked hard enough. He may have failed with Job or been unable to execute Christ as a child through Herod, but he lay waiting to turn the tide in his behalf. So Satan dug deep into his bag of tricks to find the most effective weapon in his arsenal, worship. Why? Man was created to worship God. Jesus was the son of man, the second, perfected Adam. If Satan could corrupt that worship in his favor, it would be an undeniable victory. If the Son of Man would worship the Son of Perdition, not just the battle, but the war could be won. At least in the twisted mind of the deceiver. What is worship? According to the Bing Dictionary it is defined as: treating somebody or something as a deity, showing respect by engaging in acts of prayer and devotion. It continues to describe worship as to love, admire, or respect somebody or something greatly and perhaps excessively or unquestioningly. To simplify further, Satan wanted Jesus to recognize him as sole diety, worthy of all praise and adoration. In exchange, Satan promised dominion over all of his kingdoms. This ownership was a delusion to all present but himself. If Christ knew that Satan had no providence, why was this a temptation? In this case, it was the temptee not the temptor, that was aware of the truth. The deceiver had once again, deceived himself. So was this a real temptation? It served several purposes, unquestionably declare to a finite being, the devil, that Christ's loyalty was to God and God alone. That Jesus, not his adversary, had control over the entire event. Finally, for us, that all temptation can be resisted through the power and wisdom of Jesus Christ. That message alone is spiritual triumph defined, but it begs a deeper question. In all of the temptations, you have faced, have you ever been tempted to worship someone or something other than Christ? Have you been tempted to worship the devil in exchange for your desires? Immediately one would say unequivocally no, but before answering on must consider this, every time we succumb to temptation and then sin, we chose to love and worship something over Christ. Sin is the enemy of obedience. Obedience glorifies Christ. Obedience is worship. When we sin, give into temptation, we turn our worship from Christ, to Satan. This is a stark and harsh reality, but it is just that, reality. Temptation is not sin, surrendering to it is. When we are tempted, Satan offers us the world to turn against God. What he owns is only pain and guilt. So we trade our worship on empty promises and obstacles in our relationship with God. Which is exactly what our enemy wants. Is anyone perfect? There is none but Christ. Will we sin? Yes, the battle will rage until we are with Christ in eternity. Can we resist any temptation? Absolutely. If we understand and accept two basic things. We need a complete reliance on God's strength to resist temptation and an understanding of who we are worshipping. Once we register these to base principles, it tends to motivate us to resist any temptation at all cost. We can not do it alone. Christ was Christ. We are human. God provides us all the strength we need, all we need to do is accept it. Is it that simple? Yes. If we allow it to be. Who does your worship belong to? Is anything in your life, any desire you have worth worshipping more than Christ? God bless.

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