For the last four weeks of Lent, Shaina and I are reading a chapter a day from Matthew (28 chapters in 28 days.) Today was Matthew 4, the temptation of Jesus in the wilderness.
The enemy uses three tactics in trying to seduce Jesus into disqualifying himself from the role God sent him to fulfill...Surprisingly, Satan's strategies haven't changed much in 2000 years.
1. Turn stones into bread. Jesus was fasting for 40 days and 40 nights. Without a doubt, the basic need for food was very real to him. The heart of this temptation is "Will God meet my needs?" This is a question that plagues us today. We actually think that we have alot to do with food being on the table, money being in the bank, and a roof being over our head. Seldom do we remember that the God who made us is the God who provided manna in the wilderness for his people. The reason many choose not to tithe is because they do not trust God more than they trust their own abilities. The question here is whether God is trustworthy and when we show by our actions that He is not, we sin against the Most High God.
2. "If you are the Son of God..." Satan tries to call into question Jesus' identity. The same is true for us. We want to trade in the New Creation that we have become because of Christ, to maintain 'status' in our old creation way of life. At the root of many sins is the question of whether what God said has happened in my life is really what has happened. People search for meaning, identity, popularity all their lives, and when we seek to find ourselves in any way other than losing ourselves, we betray the God who formed us in the womb.
3."All the kingdoms of the world I will give to you if you bow down and worship me."
So much of this life is about the power game. Satan offers Jesus reign over all the earth, if he will simply renounce his God and worship Satan instead. Perhaps the biggest fear (and greatest sin?) is that we fear the loss of control. We so desperately want authority, say-so, control, power, prestige, that we try to make the king of kings bow down to our reign, our will and our desires. The question of whether God is sovereign haunts us. Because if He is indeed sovereign, we then are not, and must yield to His higher purposes. So many believe that they can sit on the throne of their lives and bring God along for the ride, for genie-in-the-bottle type blessings. So few will actually bow down to the king of kings and place their jobs, their families, their status,their country, their money, their identity and their very lives at the throne of the Almighty God.
Satan is who He has always been, he operates as he has always operated. But our God is who He has always been and He operates as he has always opereated. So it boils down to the challenge that Joshua presented to us at the end of his life. "CHOOSE THIS DAY WHOM YOU WILL SERVE...AS FOR ME AND MY HOUSE, WE WILL SERVE THE LORD."