The Ultimate Rockstar Devo 002: When the Wait is Heavy Pt 3: Deal or No Deal?

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.

(Get caught up on When the Wait is Heavy and check out part 1 here  and part 2 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.

The Ultimate Rockstar Devo 002: When the Wait is Heavy Part 2- Risky Business


This devotional is a part of  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.

Check out part 1 of When the Wait is Heavy here.

Main scripture references: Matthew 4:1-11, Luke 4:1-13

Scripture to reflect on: Titus 2:11-14

People take a lot of risks to be in the music industry.  It’s risky anytime you put yourself out there for people to either love, hate, or be indifferent towards the very thing you put your heart and soul into. While some risks are completely necessary in such an aggressive industry, there are some risks that are prevalent and have unfortunately proven to be the downfall of some of our greatest talents. Let’s talk about them as we look at the next temptation of Christ in the wilderness.

Let’s rewind: Right before Jesus was led into the wilderness, he was publicly baptized by John the Baptist, the greatest hype man of the New Testament (Matthew 3). John the Baptist had been hyping up Jesus to the people for quite some time  (“Behold the Light of the World!” “I’m not even fit to tie this man’s shoes!”) so when Jesus finally arrived he was stoked.   After he performed the must humbling honor of baptizing Jesus, a voice came from heaven saying “You are my Son, whom I love, with you I am well pleased.” This was a public proclamation, an endorsement if you will, straight from God the Father.  Jesus was not just “next”. Jesus was IT and everyone there heard it.

So fast forward to Jesus’s time in the wilderness when Satan hits him with this next temptation:

Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written“ ‘He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’ ” Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’ ” Matthew 4:5-7

At first glance, this doesn’t look like any temptation at all does it? “Throw yourself down”? Keep in mind that Jesus was very much a human being. Yes he was King of Kings and Lord of Lords but he wasn’t some fictitious superhero. He couldn’t fly. Also, in the flesh he wasn’t immortal. When he died on the cross he COMPLETELY died on the cross. It was the spirit of God that raised him up. So where exactly lies the temptation?

There is something about being seen as “the next big thing” or “a pretty big deal” (for all my Anchorman fans out there) that makes people want to take risks because they feel invincible. In regards to people who take pride in knowing that they are a child of God, they sometimes feel that no matter how far they may go or what they compromise, God is not going to let them fall to the point where they will “strike their foot against a stone”.

Let me give you an example: I remember one time I was talking to a rapper.  He had so much charisma; a natural born leader with a mega watt smile. People just loved him. Although a good guy at heart, he liked to dabble in some pretty risky things that if you want to find them in this industry, you will have no trouble at all. They’ll find you actually. These were things that could quite honestly cost him his life. With a straight face, completely convinced, he told me this: “ I know there are things that God wants me to do, things that I should be doing. I know I’ve been called to preach eventually later in life”. He shuddered at the thought of following in the footsteps of his father, a preacher. “I just have some things I want to do first. God’s not gonna take my life though. He needs me to do his will.”

It sounds a little crazy doesn’t it? A bit prideful right? Yet this is how a lot of us treat the grace of God on a regular basis.

Your being gifted, your being important to this world, your being loved as a child of God? All true. But that is never an excuse to see how far you can go with God’s grace.  Satan was basically saying, “Hey if you are really the Son of God, the chosen one, why don’t you throw yourself off the top of this temple. You can basically do whatever you want and God is going to take care of you. No matter how dumb and reckless it is, he’s got you. ” Why does Satan continue to tempt us by taking the word of God and twisting it? Because we keep falling for it.  We fall for it in the same way that too many of us as believers believe that since “all things work together for the good of them who love the Lord and are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28), then it’s okay to take risks that go against our beliefs to get ahead in this industry.  So many of us have compromised the standards of our faith, jumping off of the highest point of the temple (symbolic isn’t it?) to fall towards not a physical death but a spiritual one because we believe that we are entitled to God’s grace saving us by default.

So how did Jesus clap back at this?  The scripture that Christ chose is an interesting one. Jesus took it back to Deuteronomy  once more and said “It is also written” (as if to say “since we are quoting the bible here”) “Do not put the Lord your God to the test.” He referenced Moses’ speech to the children of Israel in Deuteronomy 6 when He was instructing them to love and worship God only; to keep him at the forefront of their hearts and minds and to remember not to have any other gods but him. He reminded them of God’s mercy and faithfulness in times of trouble and he also reminded them that God is a jealous God. He was basically saying whether you have made a God of yourself, fame, or success, do not throw yourself off of a cliff for one God with the expectation of God the Father rescuing you.  And by all means, do not test him about this.

So how do you keep yourself from taking advantage of God’s grace?  By remembering exactly what the grace of God is for.

“For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.” Titus 2:11

“Zealous for good works” not zealous to wild out. We are all human and yes we all need God’s grace to help us when we mess up. That’s an inevitable part of life but it doesn’t have to be the greater part of your story.  Paul said in Romans 6:1-2 “Well then, should we keep on sinning so that God can show us more and more of his wonderful grace? Of course not! Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it?”   Let the opportunities where you really experience God’s amazing grace be the moments where you will have to rely on Him to help you do the extraordinary things that you should be doing; the things that are beyond yourself to do. Those are the risks worth taking.

Part 3 coming soon…

The Ultimate Rockstar Devo 002: When the Wait is Heavy- Part 1

This devotional is a part of  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: John 4:34

One of the most difficult things that everyone has to deal with at some point is waiting.  No matter where you are in your career, there will be a time where you will have no choice.  If you’re just starting out, you’ll have to wait for your big break.  If you’re selling out arenas, you’ll have to wait to see if what your next move is will continue the momentum of your success. No one is exempt from having to wait for the unknown in what feels like the wilderness portion of life.

During these times of waiting to get to the next level of success, one of the key things to remember that can really help you during this time is that a period of waiting is a time of preparation and testing.  It’s during these times where it will be revealed exactly what your definition of success is and how much it means to you.  It seems to always happen right on the brink of a big change too. This is what happened to Jesus when he was tested in the wilderness for 40 days and 40 nights- before he started his ministry that completely changed the course of the world and eternity.

Let’s check out how Jesus handled the wilderness like a rock star.

How Did I Even Get Here?

Before Jesus was turning out weddings with miracles and turning over tables in the temple, he went through a 40 day/ 40 night fast in the wilderness. The bible says he was led into the wilderness by God. That right there says a lot. There are times of waiting that we go through where we feel so lost and unsure that we begin to wonder if we are really where we are supposed to be. In actuality, it is exactly where we are supposed to be because God led us there. There are just some lessons and answers that you can’t get without seclusion.

So what did Jesus do when he was in the wilderness alone?   He fasted and prayed the entire time.  God the Father had his undivided attention.  When you find yourself in the wilderness, not sure what your next move should be, it is so imperative that you are in a place mentally and spiritually that you can hear from God. Fasting and praying for whatever length of time that is right for you is imperative to that. Also, what you expose yourself to during a time of waiting is critical.  This is a good time to feed yourself on things like the word of God that give strength to your spirit. Where your flesh may feel weak, your spirit will be getting stronger and stronger.

During this time in the wilderness, Jesus was not alone completely.  He had company, the absolute worst company.  The devil was right there relentlessly tempting him every step of the way.  It’s not until the end of Christ’s 40 days do we get specifics on what his plans were to trip him up. What Satan attempted to trick Jesus into at the end of his fast are some of the same tactics that he uses to trick us up today.  Here’s how Jesus handled it and here’s how we can too.

Temptation in the Wilderness #1- What are you willing to do when you’re hungry?

In the music business, I am constantly hearing about people being hungry.  “Man, I’m on my grind. I’m hungry for this!”  At times it seems almost like it’s this boasting of having some sort of voracious appetite for success by any means necessary.  Being driven in this business is essential for sure.  However what can be so dangerous about that is if you are hungry for the wrong things or in this case even the right things but by the wrong means.  For instance, there is no doubt that after 40 days and 40 nights in the wilderness that Jesus was beyond being literally hungry.  Knowing this, Satan says “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.”  Now here’s the thing: the bible says that Jesus was at the end of his fast (Luke 4:2). He was good to eat at that moment.  So why didn’t he just do it?  One could think he didn’t do it to spite Satan but let’s look at this a little differently.

Jesus answered ““It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:4).  This is a reference, a throwback if you will, to Deuteronomy 8 where Moses is reminding the children of Israel of how God provided for them when they were in the wilderness.

“Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.”

First of all, let’s just talk about how important it is to know the word of God for yourself.  If Jesus, who is the word that became flesh (John 1), chose to stand on this word while tempted, how much more should we when we are tempted?  It’s our sword in battle (Ephesians 6:10-18) and when the flesh is weak (which not eating for 40 days will do to a person), you are definitely going to need it.  It reminds you of who God is and who you are in Him.   Secondly, Jesus could’ve very well said “This has nothing to do with you Satan but excuse me while I turn this bread into some pizza. I haven’t eaten in 40 days.” but he didn’t. He didn’t because just like God provided for the children of  Israel with manna, food that could only come from God,  Jesus was not about to take matters into his own hands. He didn’t have to prove who he was. He knew who he was.  And because of who he was, a child of God,  he knew that he was entitled to the provision that would only come from God. He didn’t know when but still he expected it.  Getting this right may indeed be the difference between being in the wilderness for 40 days (Jesus) or 40 years (the children of Israel).

Interestingly enough, there is a part later on in the story of Jesus where the disciples tell Jesus that he should probably eat something (you know they did do a lot of walking in those days) and he says:

“My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work.- John 4:34

At the end of the day, if your desire is to follow Christ, the success that truly feeds you is going to look a lot differently than the success that feeds others.

Waiting can be a pain.  There are times where you are going to start feeling impatient and will be tempted to rely on your own talents and your own resources to provide for yourself in order to gain success when you know that God is really urging you to wait on Him.  But come on now.  Do you really think that you can provide for yourself better than God? Yes the wait can be heavy but the wait is worth it. Don’t sell yourself short trying to do it on your own. Especially when your breakthrough could be right around the corner.

We’ll look at the second temptation in When the Wait is Heavy- Part 2 coming soon…