By Bill Spaans:
In chapter 4 of his gospel Luke tells the story of Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness. It is notable that when Satan tempts Jesus, Jesus’ response is always to present a scripture verse which rebukes Satan. What an incentive for us to double down in learning the Word of God!
Satan tries to tempt Jesus in three areas where he knows people tend to be vulnerable. The first two temptations address Jesus’ physical and material needs:
- Physical needs – Jesus is hungry, so why not turn stones into bread?
- Material needs – Jesus can have anything he wants, so why not take it all?
I daresay that we are all tempted in a similar manner by Satan! John D. Rockefeller was at one point the world’s richest man and first ever American billionaire. Considering he was a billionaire in the early 1900’s he is still considered as the richest person in modern history. When a reporter asked him, “How much money is enough?” He responded, “Just a little bit more.”
How easy it is to become preoccupied with satisfying physical and material needs! Jesus addresses this in detail in Matthew 6:25-27, 33 where we read:
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you”.
The third temptation is more subtle. It speaks to who will be in control in our lives. Satan tempts Jesus to throw himself off a cliff so that God is forced to send angels to save him. Satan really wants to tempt Jesus into forcing God to conform to his will rather than the other way around. Jesus’ response was “It is said, do not put the Lord your God to the test”. God’s plan for Jesus was that He should die on the cross, not by throwing himself off a cliff! How easy it is to fall into the trap of trying to follow our own agendas rather than God’s.
So who is in control of your life? Who is in control of mine? There is no more important question for us than this one! Are we willing to live in conformity with God’s plan for us, as Jesus was? What about as a congregation – what is His plan for us? The Consistory is in the process of formulating a three-year plan for the congregation to help us fulfill our vision to be “where church and community connect and grow”. Let’s commit to prayerfully making sure our plans as a congregation falls in line with His plans for us! And to God be the glory!