DON’T TRADE ETERNITY FOR THE TEMPORAL

In the Garden of Eden Adam and Eve lived in the best possible scenario. They had their choice of any of the trees to eat from except one and of course they chose that one. Jesus’ temptation, on the other hand, was the worst possible scenario. He was in the wilderness or desert and had gone without food for forty days when the devil tempted him. So we can see God has reached down as far as anyone could ever go. I think one reason is so no one will ever be able to say, “But God, you don’t understand how bad I had it.” No one will ever say that because Jesus was born in the worst possible situation and he died in the worst possible way. He lived his life through some of the worst in order to assure everyone they have a savior who understands the situation they are living with and he can indeed sympathize with our weaknesses.

There is always so much to learn when studying the temptation of Jesus. There are three distinct areas in which he was tempted. First on the body level he was hungry after not eating for forty days. It sounds reasonable to turn stones into bread but it wasn’t God’s plan. On the soul level he was provoked to throw himself off of the pinnacle of the Temple. Surely God won’t allow you to be hurt. I think this was on the soul level because it appeals to the pride of life. Last but not least the enemy tempted him on the spirit level. He showed him the kingdoms of the world and promised them to him if he would only worship him.

Bodily appetites, soulish pride and spiritual adultery are the three areas in which we are all tempted. It struck me that even though Jesus won this battle in the wilderness the enemy attacked him throughout his life and ministry in these same areas. The people intended “to come and take him by force to make him king” so he withdrew to a mountain alone.[1]

Great crowds followed Jesus because he fed them. Jesus responded to them by saying, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you seek me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled. Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life…”[2] In other words, I didn’t come here just to fulfill your physical hungers.

Peter, at one point, sounded like the enemy and Jesus had to rebuke him. Jesus told his disciple how much he was going to suffer by the hands of the elders, priests and scribes and Peter took him aside and began to rebuke Jesus saying, “God forbid it, Lord! This shall never happen to you.” This is the voice of the enemy telling Jesus you’re the Son of God nothing bad is going to happen to you! Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; for you are not setting you mind on God’s interests, but man’s.”[3]

The always present, underlying message from Jesus is don’t spend all of your time and energy on the temporal. After all it isn’t wrong to want to eat, be safe or even to be successful in life what is wrong is when we elevate those things above our eternal purpose and destiny. This reminds me of the story of Jacob and Esau. If you remember Esau traded his birthright for a bowl of soup. Even though Jacob gets a reputation for being a rascal he did have an appetite for the things of God. So I guess the overall lesson here is “Don’t trade you eternal identity and destiny for a temporary satisfaction.”

[1] John 6:15

[2] John 6:26-27

[3] Matthew 16:21-23

Written by Louie

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5 thoughts on “DON’T TRADE ETERNITY FOR THE TEMPORAL

  1. man that is a great word–so true–and im confident that the only way I can do it is to trust that Christ will do it in me. thanks for the good post

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