Message: Today as I was reading about the different temptations that Satan used on Jesus, I started thinking how they might be interpreted if they were used on me. We have a tendency to examine temptation with the viewpoint of “Is it wrong to___? Or is _____sin??” With this kind of mindset we can justify almost anything. In fact, if we look at some of the things Satan used to tempt Jesus with, I wonder how many of us would have identified it as sin. The first temptation was to turn the stones to bread and satisfy his own hunger. The second temptation was that I he bowed down to Satan he would give Jesus what he supposedly had been given (and according to Satan he could give it to anyone he wanted). Interesting little addition he added on there, but I digress. We might have caught onto the sin in that one, but the last was to throw himself over the cliff and allow the angels to protect him. This is an interesting one…Intentionally put yourself in a dangerous predicament and require the angels to rush in to save you. Is this something we might describe as sin? My point in all of this is not to learn how to identify the sin. My point is that all of this was a deterrent to the plan he came to accomplish. Any one of those things would have derailed the mission entirely. Jesus had to be sinless, blameless, he had to submit to living in a body of flesh without using his power to ease his own struggle. Satan knew that any one of those things would have derailed the mission, so he didn’t go for the obvious temptation like sexual impurity. He went for the legitimate need to fulfill hunger, and then he misrepresented his own authority over the earth as if he was providing Jesus a shortcut to redeem the world.
Command: Evaluate temptation in the context of our mission. Instead of just asking if things are “sin” ask myself if the thing in question will empower of derail the mission I am walking out. Not just the mission of reaching the world, but the mission of walking out my salvation. If it doesn’t draw me TOWARD Jesus it is pulling me away. These things often seem as harmless as turning a stone into bread when we’re hungry.
Promise: Jesus will walk these things out with us the way it was intended to be. He will empower us to do the things we can’t do on our own.
Warning: There are NO shortcuts! Don’t entertain it!
Application: This really challenged me to look at temptation differently. We often look at Satan as the detour monster who tries to obstruct our plans. I think he’s more subtle that that and he is more into influencing our minds and tainting our view of what sin looks like. He is the king of rules and loopholes, but God is after our hearts. We will not be tricked if we are asking the right questions. The questions that reveal the heart and the motive behind the temptation. Lord Jesus, please help me to spot the crafty sneaky motives of temptation and stay focused on your plans for me.