By Joseph Ametepe
"And he led Him up and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said to Him, 'I will give You all this domain and its glory; for it has been handed to me, and I give it to whomever I wish. Therefore if You worship before me, it shall all be Yours.' And Jesus answered and said to him, "It is written, You shall worship the LORD your God and serve Him only" (Luke 4:5-8).
This passage is loaded with spiritual lessons for God's believing people. It teaches us how our Lord overcame the tempter. It also reveals to us to conflict between Christ and Satan. It shows what the devil's ultimate desire is: his desire is to be worshiped as the supreme being. But the lesson I would like to focus on is this: Satan is a master at offering a short-cut path to satisfaction. In his second temptation as recorded above, Satan offered a short-cut path to our Lord Jesus Christ. Basically, he was saying to the Lord Jesus: "Jesus, if You embrace, if You take the short-cut path to satisfaction which I'm offering You today, You won't suffer the agony of the cross. You won't experience the shame of the cross. You won't be slapped by sinners. You won't be struck by soldiers. You won't be scourged. You won't be scorned by the self-centered and self-seeking religious leaders. You won't be sneered at. You won't be screamed and shouted at. You won't be spat upon. You won't be slandered. Your name won't be smeared. But You will enjoy a speedy and smooth satisfaction. You will experience the greatest delight of Your life. Just embrace the short-cut path I'm offering You. Avoid the cross simply by worshiping me. I promise You, satisfaction galore will be Yours, both now and forever. Believe me, I'll keep my word to You." Talk about making the wrong choice looks so glittering, glamorous, and great! Satan is an expert at making the wrong choices in life look so appealing and alluring.
But thanks be to God, the Lord Jesus knew better. He knew that taking the short-cuts offered by the devil does not bring true and lasting satisfaction in life. He knew that taking the short-cuts of the tempter does not lead to the fulfillment of God's purposes. He knew that embracing Satan's glamorous and glittering short-cuts to satisfaction only leads to disappointment and disaster. Therefore, standing firmly on the word of God, the Lord Jesus responded authoritatively to the tempter on the important subject of worship. Jesus made it clear, that the Supreme God of the universe, not Satan, is the only true object of worship. And since the Lord Jesus is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of God's nature (see Hebrew 1:3), He was essentially saying to the tempter: "You've got it all wrong. You are not the true object of worship. I am. You are to worship Me."
The tempter didn't succeed in his attempt to lure Jesus to embrace his short-cut path to satisfaction. Yet, today, the tempter is still using the same strategy against believers, offering us short-cut paths to fulfillment that are so appealing and alluring. He does this a lot in the advertisement business. On several occasions, while watching the news, I've seen him at work in advertising for a certain casino. With glittering surroundings and grinning "winners"- holding lots of dollars in their hands, the ad says: "More casino more fun." But I've seen how gambling has destroyed many lives, even friends I know. Yet the ad promises, fun, festivities, fulfillment and full wallets for all who embrace this short-cut path to becoming rich and famous.
How are you doing? Do you discern the tempter's short-cut paths to satisfaction? Do you steer away from them? Or do you embrace his seductive suggestions that offer instant satisfaction? Perhaps, as you look back on this past week, Satan has lured you with his bait. You've taken his bait and found out that the short-cut path he offered you, didn't after all lead you to fulfillment. Rather, it led you to failure. Thank God He forgives us when we sincerely repent of our sins. His Spirit is ready to renew and strengthen us to start all over again. May the Holy Spirit help you today to follow the example of the Lord Jesus. Fix your eyes on Him. Forsake all the short-cut paths the tempter presents to you in the strength and power of the Spirit. Find your fulfillment in God alone. Focus your heart's desire on worshiping Him who alone is worthy of worship both now and to the day of eternity.