Devotion: Monday, March 11, 2019

Welcome to “Word from The Center” MONDAY, a devotional word from the Center of our faith, Jesus Christ, with reflections on His Word. I’m Gregory Seltz. Today’s reading is from portions of Luke chapter 4 which begins,   

Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, 2 where for forty days he was tempted by the devil…. 5 The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. 6 And he said to him, “I will give you all their authority and splendor; it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. 7 If you worship me, it will all be yours.”

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

PUT HIS TEMPTATION-BUSTING WORD TO WORK IN YOUR LIFE!

Do you remember the movie, Fatal Attraction? It starred Michael Douglass and Glenn Close. It was a movie in which a married man yields to temptation with another woman when his wife and family are away. The brief encounter starts with unbridled excitement and ends in tragedy. It’s the same old story. We often are our own worst enemies because of sin and temptation. Temptation. begins with a bent desire, to do as one pleases, not what is right and good; then there’s the deception that there are no consequences for rebellious, sinful behavior. Then comes the destruction, when temptation’s reality finally hits. What is it about temptation, vice and greed that are so common to us all?

In preparing this devotion, I must admit that it wouldn’t take much effort to find scores of bad examples of dealing with temptation and its destructive power. I’m sure that you could find them too. They’d include people from all walks of life. But let’s be even more honest with ourselves today. You and I would have to admit that we could find all kinds of dirt and devastation in our own lives as well. It may not be on display for all to see, but that doesn’t make it any less real or destructive.

So, the deadly effects of temptation and sin are common to us all. But the real questions for today are these: “Is that all there is in this world? Is that the reality of this life, period?” NO! The lesson for today speaks about One who faced real temptation and OVERCAME IT ALL for you and for me. Jesus, the Messiah, was not merely a “good teacher,” or an influential “thought leader.” No, He was God himself, born into this world as fully human to live life perfectly in our place, to take the eternal punishment for our sins, and to give us His eternal life as a gift. When He “takes on” Satan himself in today’s reading, He does it in our place….and wins a battle, later even winning the decisive war on the cross and at this empty tomb. Jesus did it, not just for Himself, but for the world that needs a Savior, for people like you and me who have fallen on our faces and given in to temptation time after time!

It’s also amazing how Jesus, at every challenge, was ready with God’s Word as a resource, even a weapon. The text says that He was “full of the Holy Spirit” (Luke 4:1). How does that happen? Well, one is filled with the Spirit when one is filled with the words and promises of Holy Scripture. With that Word, Jesus himself faces down the tempter with the double-edged sword of the Spirit, the Word of God (Ephesians 6:17). He says over and over again, “It is written” …. “It is written” …. “IT IS WRITTEN” (Luke 4:4, 8, 10). In so doing, He unleashes the Bible’s power, putting God’s Word to work even for Him, a Word that can rebuke and forgive, judge and heal, and, for us, a Word that can literally bring sinners to life!

So, today, reflect on the fact that amidst all the temptations that you face, even all the craziness of the sinful world in which we live, you have a Savior who has faced down temptation, judgment, and even death in your place to save you.  In a spirit of thankfulness, put your trust in the One who overcomes ALL TEMPTATION. Discipline yourself to receive and share His Word. Then watch temptation’s power wane, Satan’s presence flee, and Jesus’ comfort sustain you, as you put His Word to work for your life and the life of those whom you love, now and forever.

PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, give us faith to trust in You as our Lord and Savior. Then give us wisdom to put Your Word to work in the daily challenges of life. AMEN.

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