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Cutting Corners

Cutting Corners

We’re now back to our study of the Gospel of Luke. Before New Year’s Eve we had begun looking at the temptation of Christ.

In my last post on this subject, I showed that Christ refused to be tempted to claim a promise. This is the opposite of what many believers do today. We’re trusting God to provide things we don’t even need just because we found a convenient Scripture to “stand on.”

Paul talked about this in his letter to Timothy. Paul warned Timothy about people…

who think that godliness is a means to financial gain. But godliness with contentment is great gain.
1 Timothy 6:5b-6

I believe that there’s something inherently wrong with a message that continually focuses on my happiness, my comfort, and my pleasure. It’s true that God loves us and wants the best for us. I also believe that there is a scriptural prosperity that God desires for His people.

But I also believe that many have taken this too far. As a result, God’s people are spending too much time, prayer, energy and “faith” running after the things of the world that they think will satisfy them. At the same time, they ignore the work of the Kingdom of God. As a result, they never lay hold of what will ultimately fulfill the desires of their souls.

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.”

Luke 4:5-7

The devil continued his assault using the promises of God. This time he used a promise specifically aimed at Christ, the Messiah. He was making a deal with Jesus in which the Lord could obtain the Messiah’s blessing without having to go to the cross.

Jesus was going to become ruler of all creation. The only issue was, according to the Father’s plan, the Lord had to endure all the pain and suffering of the cross. He could now get all of this handed to Him without the struggle.

The only problem was, Jesus would have to bow before Satan. Of course, He didn’t have to mean it. It was tempting because it was a little act with a big reward.

I’m glad to say that as far as the Lord was concerned, this was totally unacceptable to Him.

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.'”

Luke 4:8

Jesus saw right through the devil’s smokescreen, and rejected the offer without even giving it a second thought. How dumb can we be? So often we fall when the enemy tempts us to do foolish, unscriptural, and even ungodly things…all for spiritual reasons, of course. We sometimes make crazy decisions all under the guise of “God wants me blessed, happy, and wealthy”

I’ve heard things like, “God told me that this is the woman He created for me.” My question is; what about the woman you’re married to right now? What about “God hates divorce”?

We need to see how very differently Jesus lived than we do. He didn’t feel the need to spend His life rehearsing the promises. Neither did the Lord try, in His power, to fulfill the requirements so that He could obtain the blessings in His own strength.

The simple fact is, Satan could only give Jesus the authority and splendor of these earthly kingdoms. The Lord was worthy of so much greater power. Look at what Christ said after the resurrection.

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit…”

Matthew 28:18-19

He could have never said this if He took a short-cut around the cross. As God’s people, we need to stop looking for the easy way to serve God. Find the Father’s plan for your life and obey it with all of your heart.

Question: How have you experienced people doing foolish things for “spiritual” reasons?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 

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Are You a Messy Eater?

DinnerI’ve been posting about going to God for the needs of others.

Do you remember, in Scripture, when Jesus was approached by a Canaanite woman on behalf of her daughter?  She asked for healing and the Lord seemed to give her a hard time.  He even went as far as calling her a dog – the Hebrew term for a Gentile.

He didn’t do this to be mean, but to prove a point to His disciples.  He wanted them to see how great her faith was regarding Christ.

Because she pressed in, her daughter ended up being healed.  Look at the exchange between Christ and the woman.

He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to their dogs.”
“Yes, Lord,” she said, “but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.”
Then Jesus answered, “Woman, you have great faith!  Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed from that very hour.
Matthew 15:26-28

There are some very important truths contained in this passage.  First note that Jesus called healing the children’s bread.  It’s right for the children to eat.  God does not view healing as a privilege, but a necessity.  I talk about healing in another series of posts.

What I want you to see at this point is that when Jesus walked the earth, Israel had an “all about us” attitude concerning the blessings of God.  They were very selfish concerning the Word and the promises of God.

This is interesting since they wasted most of what they received.  They rejected the ministry of Christ even though He was trying to lift them up to a greater walk with God.

It’s a principle we see played out over and over again.  The simple fact is that children are very selfish with their food.  I see it all the time.

Because of this, whenever we have a church dinner, we tell parents of small children to accompany them to the food table.  Without parental control, a child will load his plate up with the food he likes without thought to whether there’s enough for others, or even if he’s able to finish it all.  He just wants to see it all on his plate.

Many times we’re the same way in our walk with the Lord.  We’re very selfish concerning the Word of God.  We want every blessing of Scripture to be all about us.  Then we’re like selfish children who play with their food and end up wasting most of it.

In the above passage, the world is illustrated as dogs that are hungry, and circling the table where the children are eating.  They’re desperate.  They’re coming from a place where there’s a famine of the Word of God.  Even the crumbs of what we have will be satisfying to them.

It’s time for us to stop looking at everything as revolving around our own needs and wants.  We must begin to see that our ministry is to those around us.  We must start to receive the Word of God as mature saints.

Then be ready to minister this grace to the hungry world.

Question: What spiritual gifts do you possess that could help those around you?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

 
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Posted by on March 28, 2014 in God's Provision, Ministry, Prayer

 

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