“The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And he said to him, “I will give you all their authority and splendour, for it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. So if you worship me, it will all be yours.”
In the second temptation it seems as if the devil was offering Jesus the very things that He had come to recover as part of His kingdom – but without the hardship and effort involved in the way of the Cross. Here was a short cut that made it easy and which, on the face of it, only the two of them might know about.
The problem of course was that all this was not the devil’s to give. In addition the cost involved was to turn from God and worship Satan. It would be easy to try and say that the end justifies the means, but the truth is that you cannot have a good result in God’s eyes if the process is flawed.
We live in a world which appears to offer us everything we want on the easiest of terms. Too often people have found that in accepting the offer they have lost something which is very precious – their own integrity and self-esteem. Once again, through putting their own desires first, and listening to the seductive promises of the world, they have missed out on who they could have been as a son or daughter of God.
“Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs.” (Jonah 2:8)
Jesus knew that the only response was the one that placed God first. We cannot truly worship God with our lips if our lives tell a different story. In our pursuit of happiness, wealth and significance it is easy to try and cut corners, looking for the quick and easy options. However, personal integrity and the honouring of God our Father are not things that we can buy or lightly lay claim to. They are easily lost and some are never regained. Yesterday can never be re-written, it must be lived properly today.
“Jesus answered, “It is written: `Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.'” (Luke 4:8)
Where am I acting dishonourably before God?
Father, please help me to discern the lies of the world and to live to Your honour and glory. Amen.