What can we learn from the temptations of Jesus? Or are they inapplicable in today’s world? But it is not just about big temptations, it’s about our daily choices. It’s about putting God first in everything.
My thoughts on Matthew 4: 1-11 were inspired by Eugene H. Peterson’s sermon notes found in Conversations – the Message with its translator. The core of the temptations is to put something else first in our lives and God second. The things can be good and necessary in life like bread (in the first temptation) and other basic needs. But too often we get so preoccupied with our own life that we never get to God.
Father, have mercy on us! Jesus shows the way: God first, everything else second.
The second temptation talks about treating God as the entertainment of our lives. We are not to use God for getting mountain top experiences and interpreting everything that’s ordinary and routine as the absence of God.
Christ, have mercy on us! Jesus shows the way: God first, everything else second.
The third temptation is to bypass God in order to do something good. The temptation is to be so bought to a great cause like Social Justice or mission work that we are willing to get rid of God in order to do it. The temptation is to be impatient with God’s ways and make the world a little better on our own but eliminate God for the sake of efficiency.
Holy Spirit, have mercy on us! Jesus shows the way: God first, everything else second.
If we say yes to these temptations, we diminish God in our lives. If we say yes to these temptations, we become less, we diminish ourselves. If we say yes to these temptations, there is less of God and less of us. That’s why I am so thankful that Jesus did not say yes to any of the temptations. Because otherwise we wouldn’t have a Savior.
Following Jesus is a humbling experience.
Time after time I feel unworthy, unable, very much in need of salvation.
Time after time I am surprised by God’s wild grace.
Following of Jesus is a joyful experience: We are saved by grace!
Time after time I am in reverent awe of God Almighty!
Be praised for your salvation plan!
Be praised for sending us Jesus!
Be praised for teaching us how to live!
Be praised for taking care of us!
Be praised for everything!
In Jesus’ name,
Q4U: How are you tempted most often?
Be blessed, my fellow pilgrim, as you stick to putting God first in your life! It’s worth it!
Photo courtesy of Alan Belcher.