Early in his ministry, Jesus and the devil had a showdown in the sand. The devil lobbed three temptations at the Christ – temptations that are still so common for us all! But our Savior handled them perfectly. Our devotion today is the third of these three temptations, described here:
“Again, the devil took Jesus to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. ‘All this I will give you,’ he said, ‘if you will bow down and worship me.’
Jesus said to him, ‘Away from me, Satan! For it is written, ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only (Matthew 4:8-10).'”
Satan’s softer approach of, “Why don’t you turn these stones into bread?” had not worked. Neither did quoting the Bible out of context. With this third temptation, the old wily foe must’ve thought, “Go big, or go home.” But as he did, he showed his true colors: HE IS A LIAR! The devil didn’t own the splendor of the kingdoms of the world! It wasn’t his possession to give away! Yet he claimed that they were his, and that he would give it all to Jesus for just one little favor!
Even worse, he implied that he was being super-helpful to Jesus with his offer. “Oh come on, Jesus, you came for the world, didn’t you? You came for glory, right? Well, here, let me give you a hand. You can have it all right now! And you can have it pretty cheap! Take the shortcut! Just one little act of worship…just bow down this one little time…simple as that.
If Jesus would have listened for an instant, we would all be doomed! How could Jesus pay for our sins if he had to pay for his own instead?
But Jesus didn’t fall for the lies. While it’s true that the Christ had come for the world, he hadn’t come for worldly glory. He had come to give to the world, not get the world. He had come to serve, not be served. He gave Satan no wiggle room. He refused to toy with the suggested shortcut. Jesus gave a swift kick to the devil as he quoted the simplest commandment of them all – the first one. “Jesus said to him…’For it is written, ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.'”
He won! The Christ won! Do you understand what this means for you? It means that you have won too. Heaven. Is. Yours. Period! And because Christ’s victory is your victory, you own a powerful weapon when Satan attacks. Why listen to any sinful shortcut for earthly success and happiness, when Jesus gives you heavenly glory that never ends?
So FIGHT the good fight! Have zero tolerance for the devil’s garbage. Give zero wiggle room to his lies. With tremendous confidence and joy, say, “Away from me, Satan! Today I am worshiping the Lord my God, and serving him only!” And the devil will only have one option: to go careening away from your soul, screaming and shrieking back to the pits of hell.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, you know that Satan, the Accuser, is filled with fury because his time is short. He wages war against those who keep your commands and hold to your truth. But you have already triumphed over him, King Messiah! Your holy truth will always expose all of his deceptions and lies! Drown out all his accusations, and help me listen instead to your truth. I want to worship you, and serve you only, Lord…give me confidence to do that every single day. Help me to use your finished work as the most precious, powerful and perfect weapon I have as I ward off the devil. He is such a liar! Amen.
“There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” – Romans 8:1