Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Distractions from Grace

I have been bouncing from Song of Solomon to Job and then to looking at these three temptations this morning.

"Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. And the tempter came and said to him, 'IF YOU ARE THE SON OF GOD, COMMAND THESE STONES TO BECOME LOAVES OF BREAD.' But he answered, 'It is written, ''Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.''

Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to him, 'IF YOU ARE THE SON OF GOD, THROW YOURSELF DOWN, FOR IT IS WRITTEN, ''HE WILL COMMAND HIS ANGELS CONCERNING YOU,' AND ''ON THEIR HANDS THEY WILL BEAR YOU UP, LEST YOU STRIKE YOUR FOOT AGAINST A STONE.'' Jesus said to him, 'Again it is written, 'You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.''

Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to him, 'ALL THESE I WILL GIVE YOU, IF YOU WILL FALL DOWN AND WORSHIP ME.' Then Jesus said to him, 'Be gone, Satan! For it is written, ''You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.'' Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and were ministering to him." Matthew 4:1-11 ESV

If we are drawn by grace we will see making our own provision as a temptation. If we are drawn by grace we will see forcing God's hand as a temptation. We need to be unstable in how we relate to God in order for either of these to work. They are like moral questions. They push us in directions that have answers without the Spirit's guidance. They deal with issues in the moment... hunger and need is the first level of testing... security and response time are the second.

Once our identity is proven to be secure the accuser does the full frontal attack and tries to overwhelm us and shake us from that position by saying 'If you have such a great relationship with God why don't we have the same relationship. Worship me and I'll do things you like on your time table.' It is a lie of course.

We are tempted by all these things as well. If we fall at number one we never get to number two. If we fall at number two our identity is not where we are living or it has not been established in our thinking. Number three is always going to be out there. Number three got Jesus angry because He had the loyalty of unity and the World held no attraction to Him.

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