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)
It would have been the most sensational day in the history of the Temple. Imagine the reaction of the people had Jesus floated down into their midst from the highest pinnacle of the Temple. He would immediately have been acclaimed Messiah and there would have been no Cross. Of course, without the Cross, there would have been no salvation or eternal life . . . just an earthly ruler.
How do you handle the temptation to be recognized for what you do or say? We believe this continues to be a struggle for most Christians, as well as for those apart from Jesus. There is always the temptation to draw attention to oneself in order to accomplish something for God. Whether it is an important accomplishment at work or school, or simply our own desire to be recognized for doing something in ministry, it seems to be a human tendency to desire the attention of others. The horizontal pull for approval or acclamation of others is faced by everyone in varying degrees.
Once again, Jesus moves from the horizontal pull to the vertical plan. “Satan, don’t you know that God has told us not to do that which tempts Him or tries to back Him into a corner in order to act?” More than any other man, Jesus knew how temporary the acclamation of mankind could be. What lasts and truly satisfies is doing what the Father has said to do. And yet, how does one do this consistently with purity of heart and humility? We have found that giving of finances or talents anonymously is a good way to practice this discipline and bring the necessity for self-promotion and self-importance under the control of the Holy Spirit.
It is so easy Lord, to fall into the trap of trying to attract attention, even when I’m serving You. Forgive me when I strive for the approval of men rather than Your approval. Help me to not use worldly means to accomplish heavenly goals. I want all that I do to be in the power of Your Holy Spirit.
–Adapted from Vertical with Jesus: A 30-Day Journey to Impact Kingdom Living by David and Kim Butts. This book is available at prayershop.org. Use the code CONPSP3 at checkout to receive an additional 10% discount.
Praise the Lord, who made and cares for heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them (Ps. 146:1-6). Give thanks for his personal care for you. Confess instances of putting ultimate trust “in mortal men, who cannot save” (146:3). Commit yourself to putting your hope in the Lord your God. Ask God to help you hand your cares to him through daily prayer.
Pray that God will continually prompt his people to join him in caring for those oppressed or otherwise in need (146:7-10). Ask God to grant corporate and individual wisdom, persistence, and love in seeking to extend his kingdom.
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