Hey Renovation Church Family!
Wednesday is a good day of the week to examine our lives and recommit ourselves to God. We spent a little bit of time last Sunday talking about the temptations Jesus faced in the wilderness after his baptism – I hope this continued reflection will help you live for God’s purposes for the remainder of your week.
One of the most enticing temptations that Satan offered to Jesus was the following:
Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. And he said to him, “I will give you all these things if you will fall down and worship me (Matthew 4:8-9).
Satan was offering Jesus a crown without thorns. He was offering Jesus glory without a cross. He was willing to provide Jesus with a kingdom of success rather than suffering. If Jesus would have allowed himself to be seduced by this promise, the redemption of mankind would have never happened. We would still be dead in our sins, unable to respond to God.
Satan’s will for your life is to make you successful, wealthy, and happy. He would love for you to pursue the American Dream and succeed! Satan uses the pleasures & comforts of this life to numb us to the cancerous effects of sin within our souls. If he can keep us from asking existential questions about ourselves and the world, he can deceive us through empty pleasure.
God’s will for your life often leads to suffering and mourning. Jesus called his followers to take up their cross and follow Him. The author of the Gospel we have been studying on Sundays (The Gospel of John) was literally boiled alive in hot oil and then exiled to an island called Patmos. All of the other disciples of Jesus were brutally tortured and killed for refusing to renounce their faith in Christ.
Following Jesus will lead to suffering.
It will also lead to incomprehensible joy which is rooted in the Eternal God rather than temporary circumstances. If we truly taste and see how good God is, we can say in the midst of overwhelming suffering, “Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ (Philippians 3:8).”
Whose will for your life are you following? Are you pursuing comfort or a cross? Are you practicing radical generosity or worldly stinginess? Is your life displaying the infinite value of Christ or are you conforming to the corrupt values of this age?
In Christ’s Love,