This devotional is a part of the devotional series “The Ultimate Rockstar: Parallels Between the Life and Times of Jesus Christ and the Life of an Artist”. For more info, Click here.
Main scripture references: Matthew 4:1-11, Luke 4:1-13
Scripture to reflect on: Hebrews 12:2-3
Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.” Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’ ” Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.- Matthew 4:8-11
Here we are at the final installment of the Wilderness series and if there is one common thread it is this: the devil has no problem trying to take advantage of you when you are hungry- literally and figuratively (see Part 1 and Part 2). We can learn so much from Jesus in how he handled these three temptations that are so prevalent to this day, especially within the music industry. This last temptation in particular is one that too many are falling victim to still. Let’s break it down:
“The devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor.” All this I will give you,” he said.
Question: How do you give somebody something that is already theirs?
Colossians 1:16 says “The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.”
Did he think that Jesus forgot who he was or did he think that Jesus didn’t know who he was? Jesus was already entitled to all these things. He was there when these things were made! So what exactly is the temptation here? It’s in the catch that we see next:
“If you bow down and worship me.”
Jesus wasn’t exactly being recognized as running things on earth just yet. He still had a ways to go to the cross where he would pay the ultimate sacrifice and return to his throne in heaven. He was aware of this too. The cross wasn’t a surprise. Jesus’ life was on a long and narrow road to destiny and the devil was trying to give him a shortcut: bow down and worship him and *snap* Jesus could rule over these things on earth NOW. Forget about going to the cross. NOW. Although as tempting as this offer could seem considering the ultimate cost that Jesus knew he would have to pay, it wasn’t worth it. We were worth more. You have to decide that your future is worth more than a quick fix that could hold some very negative and long lasting consequences.
As far as all of this “splendor” is concerned, we are all familiar with the the term “mo’ money, mo’ problems” right? While the devil showed Jesus all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor, what he did not show him was the responsibility that comes with those things. Kingdoms don’t run themselves.
Kingdom: a state or government having a king or queen as its head; anything conceived as constituting a realm or sphere of independent action or control.
We often look at fame, money and success as being glamorous but rarely if ever do we take into account the enormous responsibility that comes with those things. The deal to bow down and worship the devil did not imply “bow down, worship me, and you can run these kingdoms yourself.” Satan was saying “You can run these things but you will run them under my authority.” because whatever you worship, you belong to. Jesus’ response of “Worship the Lord your God and serve him only”, should be the umbrella over everything we do to try and be successful. Jesus chose to rule with God and refused to be deceived into believing that he could rule against him or without him.
But there’s good news! At the end of this account in Matthew, the bible says that the devil left and the angels came and ministered to Jesus. The Greek word used here is “Diakoneo” which means to care for someone’s needs. The provision that he trusted to come from the Father was delivered after he fasted and resisted temptation those entire 40 days and 40 nights in the wilderness. He got what he needed. He got what he was waiting on and trusting God for. You never know how close you are to getting what you need if you just hold on and resist the temptation to take a shortcut that can cost you your destiny and your life.
Now in not so good news, Luke’s account of the temptation in the wilderness says that “When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left him until an opportune time.” (Luke 4:13). Don’t sleep. The devil will always, ALWAYS, be waiting for opportune times to tempt you. He’ll be back.
So how do you continue to overcome temptations such as the ones displayed in the wilderness? I like how The Message Bible puts it. It pretty much sums up what this entire devotional series has been about:
“Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!”- Hebrews 12:2-3
The term “Selling your soul to the devil” is so common that people within the entertainment industry who don’t even believe in Jesus understand and often say it. They understand that there comes a point where one will have to make the decision of whether or not to compromise their very soul, standards, and beliefs for just the possibility of success. You may be someone who is not certain exactly where they stand with God. You may feel like you are so far off. You may feel like you are also in the wilderness. You aren’t sure why you are there and may be a little bitter because of it. Although you may not understand where you are with God, in no way, shape, or form do you want to stand anywhere with the devil. It is often at our weakest points that we are prone to make the worse deals. No matter where you are in your faith, I encourage you to continuously seek God about the path for your life and then trust him completely. Seek the one who came to give you life more abundantly over the one who only comes to seek, kill and destroy you. (John 10:10). There are no shortcuts in this thing; only detours. Choose wisely and choose soon because most likely in this business, you will have to choose often.