Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Have you ever had one of those moments where you can't remember what you were going to do? It seems that once I hit the magical age of 40 they are coming with more regularity. It could be the diet coke, right? I was cleaning the garage and building new shelves for reorganization when I needed something in the house. From the garage to the house is roughly 40 feet. By the time I reached the family room I stopped. Typically in these moments I will look at the ceiling of to the side and throw my jaw out and grunt a little, this is what my wife tells me anyway. Then I close my eyes and concentrate.

No memory.

What had I come to the house to get? Throwing up my hands I go back outside. Halfway to garage I remember and turn around. Mumbling what I need over and over so I don't forget as I enter the house, I get these weird looks. I am sure my family thinks they live with a mumbling idiot! I know that if I don't keep saying it I might forget again which only wastes time and adds to the "my-dad-is-so-weird-that-he" list.

When Jesus was presented with temptation from the Devil in his weakest moments, he did not have this problem. A case could be made in light of certain experiences that because he was only 30 he would not have had this problem. Theologically, some would argue that because he was God he could not have sinned. Or, that because he did not have a biological father that the sin nature was not transferred. We must be careful not to drive so fast into His divinity that we leave his humanity in the dust. In fact, had Jesus not had the choice and chance to sin then the pure sacrifice would not have been so meaningful. Because Jesus could have sinned brings hope to us that do. It is possible! We could, if we continue to develop spiritually.

What is impressive is the simplicity in which he resisted the pleas of Satan. He was hungry and Satan prompted a physical appetite option. Turning stones to bread would be easy. A weak point for many people stems from physical appetites that consume us. From gorging at the buffet to gorging on the internet, we are driven by our desires, passions, and appetites. In addition, if we can do all of this in private we can justify the act because it is not hurting anyone. However, Jesus responded with scripture.

Jesus was starting a new ministry. He would need a lot capital, a fresh marketing plan, and the authority to speak to the leadership at large. How many times have we seen guys come through seminary and begin the self-promotion campaign. They create brochures, cards, email blasts, websites, and cool ministry names. It would seem that while all of this is done in the name of ministry it is also screaming "self" more than Spirit. We change our churches to capture the ever-allusive next generation and forget the Spirit. We change our organizations and conventions to streamline the work. Now, nobody knows what anyone is doing but it looks hip and cool and "leader-like". Jesus responded with scripture.

Jesus was trying to reach people. A spectacular show would entertain and drive people to himself. He could jump off the temple and instantly draw a crowd because he would land unharmed. It reminds me of a ministry leader in Tulsa that camped out on top of a tower and claimed he would not come down until a certain money figure was reached. He made the headlines and raised the money! Is this Biblical? We produce smoke and lights and concerts we call worship so that we can bring in the people. We reduce the message, remove the blood of the cross, and demand nothing in order to get more people into our building. Jesus responded with scripture. We clamor after the headlines and promotions. We deeply desire the awards and accolades. Jesus responded with scripture.

Simple. Clean. Powerful. Scripture.

Our lives hinge on placing faith in Jesus. Our journey of faith depends on knowing and living by the Word of God. When was the last time you could footnote a decision with scripture? Do we read for content or commands? Do I live by the Word of God or logical manipulations? Does the Bible direct my life? When we begin to read, study, and live by the word of God we won't have the same troubles with temptations as before. We won't have to stop in the middle of an issue and call up the preacher and ask for a good verse for the situation. Jesus just knew the right verse. Do you?

The transformation God demands comes from an intimate awareness and obedience to scripture. Get in the Book!

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