Wednesday, February 6th, 2013
Celebrity Poison (Part 6)
Then the devil took Him into the holy city and had Him stand 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, so that You will not strike Your foot against a stone.' '
Jesus said to him, 'On the other hand, it is written, 'You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.' '
Matthew 4:5-7 (NAS)
Daring Satan is foolish. Testing God is worse. Does reckless behavior do both?
Consider Jesus in the desert. While fasting, He was 'Led around by the Spirit in the wilderness for forty days, being tempted by the devil' (Luke 4:1-2). At the end, Satan tempted Jesus three more times. He shared these last temptations with us. Why?
To teach us, because we will face them too--including the temptation to 'Put the Lord Your God to the test.' How? Fast living, wild actions, and bad choices. I call it free falling. Satan asked Jesus to free fall--betting on God to save Him.
But fast is not patient, wild is not gentle, bad is not good and falling is never free. It has a price: bumps, breaks and even death. Putting God to the test is choosing to make a wrong decision--then expecting Him to save us.
I believe God's tough love policy allows us to suffer the consequences of our choices.
But perhaps our worst choice is procrastination: to postpone a commitment to Christ, to delay helping a friend, to wait when we should go. It's a slow fall, but a fall nonetheless. Fast or slow, we're testing God.
Actors, models and talent for God, learn this: God is not in school. You are. He needs no tests. You do.
Therefore, consider God as the Superintendent of Education, Jesus as your Principal, The Holy Spirit as your Teacher and Satan as the expelled bully who tempts you to join him. So stay in school. Study, and 'Be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect' (Matthew 24:44).
What is the antidote for reckless behavior?
In one word? Obedience. Add a phrase: Follow the rules.
'You shall not put the Lord your God to the test... You should diligently keep the commandments of the Lord your God, and His testimonies and His statutes which He has commanded you. You shall do what is right and good in the sight of the Lord, that it may be well with you and that you may go in and possess the good land' (Deuteronomy 6:16-18).
To Be Continued...
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the Celebrity Poison series.