Tuesday, January 25, 2011
Today’s Topic: Priorities – Part 2
Today’s Text: Luke 4:1-2 Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the desert, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry.
I know, it’s Tuesday and it’s supposed to be my day off. But this is a wrangled week. Tomorrow I have some outpatient surgery done that will lay me up at home for a couple of days so I’m working today. Nothing serious, but will take a couple of days to heal. If I’m up to it I might be back on line on Thursday, but hopefully Friday for sure.
I have an assignment for you for the next few days. I will be spending some time contemplating the whole priority issue we reviewed yesterday and deepening my understanding of the Lord’s words about denying self. To help with that process, I want to really study the life of Jesus in one particular experience He had when He was tempted to connect himself to the world’s system and values. I think it would be beneficial for all of us to spend some time looking at it.
The event we will look at is the temptation of Christ in the wilderness following His baptism. Let’s read the story and see how the Holy Spirit draws some connecting points to our own lives as He helps us understand the temptations we experience to seek our value and purpose from the world. I have combined the stories from Matthew and Luke into one so we can get the whole picture.
Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the desert, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry. The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.” Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ The devil then led him to Jerusalem and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down from here. For it is written: “‘He will command his angels concerning you to guard you carefully; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’” Jesus answered, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’” Then the devil led him up to a very high mountain and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. And he said to him, “I will give you all their authority and splendor, for it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. So if you bow down and worship me, it will all be yours.” Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’” Then the devil left him until an opportune time, and angels came and attended him.
Three specific temptations that manifest themselves in a variety of ways in our lives today. Some are very obvious. Most are very subtle and subversive. Do you recognize them?
- The temptation to not trust God for our physical needs
- The temptation to try to mingle the pleasures of the world with the promises of God
- The temptation to find our value and status from the world and not from God
I trust that the Holy Spirit will teach us all to recognize them and defend against them with the authority of God’s Word as Jesus did. This will take effort. Don’t just skim over this. Submit to the teaching of the Holy Spirit as He reveals to us the specific areas of our lives where we have fallen into sin. Denial does not help us. We must open our hearts and our minds to the cleansing and purifying work of the Holy Spirit. After all, we say we love the Lord our God with all our heart, our mind, our soul, and our strength. Maybe the priorities of our lives should reflect that.