This morning I read Matthew 4:1-10. After His baptism by John, Jesus was tempted to turn stones into bread to satisfy his hunger, to flaunt the law of gravity, to reign supreme over all the kingdoms of the world. Since this history is early in the gospels, I have often read through it impatiently, wanting to go on to the miracles, the parables, and Christ’s final temptation in the Garden of Gethsemane and His sacrifice at Calvary.
But wait. It wasn’t the devil who had the power to turn stones into bread, or to hold Jesus up if he were to jump off the pinnacle of the temple, or to grant Him power over the world’s kingdoms. Jesus had the power Himself to do and to have all those things. He had the power to call down legions of angles rather than be crucified. The only thing that held Him back was that He worshiped God, not the devil. He put love of God and of others before love of Himself.
Then it struck me! Every single day of Jesus’ ministry was a temptation. As He went about His Father’s business, he had no house of His own. He had no bed of His own. Every meal was a handout. Maybe He did not even have a change of clothes. Yet He could have had the most luxurious of mansions to live in, the softest bed to sleep on, the most sumptuous cuisine to dine on. The most beautiful women to ravish. He could have had all worldly power and glory at any time just by commanding it to be!
When Jesus said, “Take up your daily cross and follow me,” He was carrying His own cross every day – the cross of loving the Lord His God with all His heart, with all His soul, with all His mind and with all His strength. How can I complain about the minor sacrifices Christ asks of me, when my opportunities for self-gratification are so small and fleeting, and the riches and privileges that I have are so meager? Every day of His life on earth, Jesus gave up His power to own and to rule the universe!
Lord, let me never forget how small and insignificant my personal desires are in Thy plans for eternity.
Lord let me never forget how essential my surrender to Thee is in Thy plan for my eternal life.