Jesus answered, "It is written ..." Luke 4:8
A few years ago while visiting New York City, I made a trip up to the observation deck of the Empire State Building. It struck me that if Jesus were being tempted today, the devil could have brought him there. The devil could have nodded toward Wall Street--a banking district that controls 21 percent of the world's assets. He might have offered control of a communications center that houses four major TV networks. He could have pointed to the United Nations building, with its international ties that reach throughout the world. That observation deck offers quite a view. It's almost enough to make us believe the world's kingdoms offer the real action. It's tough to resist the devil's lies. Even if we're offered mere tidbits of worldly power, our moral fiber can easily crumble. A lucrative but shady business deal suddenly doesn't look so bad. Neither does a chance to cheat big-time on our taxes--or on our spouse. Temptations like these are enough to trip us up. And we can always come up with good reasons to justify what we do! In turning down the devil's offers, Jesus shows us how to maintain our ethical stamina. Jesus quotes God's truth in the face of the devil's lies. We need the truth of God's Word to keep us strong when we journey out into the wilderness.
Lord, in the face of temptation we have a tendency to play games. But your Word keeps us honest with you and with ourselves. Mold our lives to your will. Amen.
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