Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Temptation

We are walking through the Life of Christ at Legacy Church. Last Sunday, I walked us through Jesus' Temptation in the wilderness after his baptism. While Jesus' temptations are unique to him as the Christos, or, The Suffering Servant Messiah, they are also common to our experience of temptations to follow our own will and be our own god.

I believe "temptation is the Evil One's offer(s) to seduce us away from God's mission call on our lives." Of course, this presupposes you trust God has a call on your life through Christ and that there is an Evil One--not the Boogie Man sort of Satan, but the Scriptural one who is hell-bent on you doing anything other than love God. The Adversary tried to seduce Jesus away from the Father's call on his life to be the Suffering Servant Messiah. Here's how he did it and does it:

He seduces us at the point of our appetites; and, I might add, when those appetites are at their raging heights! Jesus was 40-days hungry, and Satan tempted him to use his Creator powers to feed his stomach pains. Jesus reminded his Opponent that people "don't live on bread alone." "There's more to life than food and clothing," he would say later. I really don't need Satan's help in getting off mission with my appetites. John tells us we have enough in us to do that.


He seduces us to get what we want by who we worship. Jesus' Adversary is also known as the Prince of the world, and he has some influence over things that happen on earth. He offered Jesus a shortcut to a kingdom by offering the Son of God what he had control over if he would worship him. Jesus quoted from the Shema that he was to "worship Yahweh your God and serve him only." What do you and I show "worth-ship" to by how we spend our time, talent and treasures? Do a personal inventory. You'll find out.

He seduces us to get people to follow us by being a superhero. People follow superheroes, and Satan tempted Jesus to be one; and, he refused. He was not about to be a leader who coerced or out performed others in order to get a following. He also reminded the opposing team, "Don't put Yahweh to the test." How many times do I think I can get people to follow me if I out perform them? I drink the cool aid of superhero status when I act like my performances will gain me anything with God and others.

Spend some time with this story and learn from the Master how not only to overcome temptation but to know the one who was tempted in every way you are, but "did not sin."

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