Read: Luke 4
Then devil took him up and revealed to him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. “I will give you the glory of these kingdoms and authority over them,” the devil said, “because they are mine to give to anyone I please. I will give it all to you if you will worship me.” (Luke 4:5-7, NLT)
In these opening verses of Luke 4, Jesus faces an all out assault from Satan, who throws three different temptations at the Lord. In each temptation, Satan tries to entice Jesus to find a shortcut to fulfilling the will of God—which is the usual pattern the Enemy employs in tempting you and me as well. With each temptation, however, Jesus countered Satan with an accurate understanding and correct application of the Word of God—a pattern that we, too, must employ in order to have victory over temptation.
Especially revealing is how Jesus countered Satan in the second temptation, which was to worship Satan in exchange for all the kingdoms of the world. Here Jesus quotes Deuteronomy 6:13, which says, “Worship only the Lord your God and serve only him.”
Interestingly, Satan had said nothing about “serving”, but Jesus knew that at the heart of all temptation is the issue of worship, and that what you worship is what you will serve. Whatever Satan gets you to worship, you will be obligated to serve—and as Jesus famously said elsewhere, you cannot serve two masters. (Matthew 6:24)
If you put your needs and wants ahead of God’s provision (the first temptation—Luke 4:2-3), you will worship at the throne of self-reliance. If you put your plans ahead God’s agenda (the second temptation—Luke 4:5-7), you will worship at the throne of self-actualization. If you skew God’s Word to justify your behavior (the third temptation—Luke 4:9-11), you will worship at the throne of self-indulgence. When you worship anything or anyone other than the Lord your God, you will find yourself serving self, which is simply serving Satan’s purposes in disguise.
What is it that you are worshiping and serving right now? Wherever your dependencies and loyalties are answers that question. Give that some honest thought!
If you are like me, you probably need some help with your dependencies and loyalties about now. But the good news is that you have Someone who can help you in your temptations. Hebrews 2:18 reminds us, “Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.” And Hebrews 4:16 goes on to say, “So let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”
How about we go right away into God’s presence and get some much needed help!
“The reason why many fail in battle is because they wait until the hour of battle. The reason why others succeed is because they have gained their victory on their knees long before the battle came…Anticipate your battles; fight them on your knees before temptation comes, and you will always have victory.” ~R.A. Torrey
What If God Took Over?
Arnold Glasow said, “Temptation usually comes in through a door that has deliberately been left open.” What doors do you need to close?