Words of Faith 3-20-18
Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2018
Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL
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 The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world.  And he said to him, "I will give you all their authority and splendor, for it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to.  So if you worship me, it will all be yours."
The second place of temptation was much more enticing. It was a temptation of power. It was not at the level of the physical flesh but at the level of the soul. We might even call it ego.
For Jesus this was the temptation to buy into the power structure of this world. It was the temptation to be a worldly messiah, to be in charge and climb to the top. . . for all for the right reasons, of course.
The second temptation sounds familiar. Climb the ladder to the top! From the vantage point of wealth, power, and control, you will be able to do all the right things! Just one small detail, it will cost you. But don't worry about that cost right now. Think about all the good you can do when you control the world.
And what is the cost? Well... your soul. You must worship the god of this age. In the process of gaining so much you must buy into the system of power, and sell out on God.
Jesus came up with the right answer again. Can't do it. Jesus answered, "It is written: 'Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.'"
This may be the temptation most imbedded in our culture. Paul said we really do not struggle against the flesh but the powers and principalities of this Dark Age. But what form does that temptation take for us? We quickly find that any career climb, any promotion, any political or ecclesiastical ambition can ask us to compromise our worship and service to God. This is the wide path that leads to destruction.
The problem for us with the second temptation is that it is so socially respectable. Our culture rewards those who are ambitious and rise to the top and often does not pay much attention to how they got there. It is very easy to sell out our ethics, our scruples, and our family in drive to achieve. We don't have to hear the voice of the devil to realize that the world is seeking to cut a deal.
What is the answer? Jesus gave it to us.
First, "Worship the Lord your God. . . " Worship is much more than a gathering once or twice a week. Worship is not music or special words. Worship is our connected relationship with the Lord day to day and moment to moment. Worship is focusing our attention on God. Worship is a continued awareness of His love and wonder around us. Worship is loving Him back with all our heart, mind, soul and strength. Worship is declaring that He is the object of our love.
Secondly, ". . . and serve Him only." We must clarify in our minds and hearts who it is that we really work for. We may be part of a company, organization, ministry or business, but our ultimate boss must be God. This goes for both ethical decision and quality of work. We must have the integrity to refuse to be part of cheating, stealing, or any dishonesty, even if it is company policy or "what everyone is doing". We answer to the Lord on issues of honesty and ethics. Period.
The Apostle Paul also advised Christian regarding quality of work. He called even slaves to do their work not only to win the favor of the boss, but to be like slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart. He called believers to serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men (Eph. 6:6-7).
So how are you doing with the second temptation? There is much that is seductive out there. There are many offers to compromise, many ambitions to follow and many promises offered. But the price is way too high. Worship the Lord and serve Him alone.
Lord, keep my eye and my heart upon You alone. Make me constantly aware of Your presence in my life and around me. Show me the wonder of Your love and creation. I work for You. You alone. In Jesus' name.