For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin.
A subtle but important insight is revealed in Christ’s temptations. In the temptations recorded in Matthew 4:1-11, Satan’s low opinion of the human race is revealed. The order and priorities of God are reversed, as Satan comes first with the temptation of food, then in his twisted way he appealed in along the lines of the higher thoughts of trust and worship. Christ’s response to each temptation was from Deuteronomy, and revealed God’s proper order of things: worship first, trust in God next, and then the physical needs.
To the temptation to turn stones to bread, Christ quoted from Deuteronomy 8:3. To the temptation to leap from the temple, Christ quoted from Deuteronomy 6:16. To the temptation to worship Satan, Christ quoted from Deuteronomy 6:13. Notice that this is the reverse order of what we find in Scripture. So in the Bible God begins to deal with humanity with an appeal to what is lacking the most: the greatest need of human life is spiritual in nature and requires that we worship God. Upon the experience of worship follows the matter of trusting God with all of life, and then our physical desires are submitted to Him in obedience.
As it was with Christ so it is with us, that the center of all temptation is to draw us away from worshipping God. Satan says, You need food or money or sex or drugs, though we know such things do not really change us. God says we need to worship Him. God invites us to worship Him not because He is some insecure egomaniac, but because He knows that only by worshipping Him do we become fully human. Worship opens the human life up to the potential of God. Worship requires recognition of the worth of God, His greatness and majesty, His holiness, love, mercy, compassion, and every other aspect of His personality. Worship is the believing heart’s response to God’s unveiling Himself before our eyes.
How do we worship God? None of us grasps all the attributes of God at once. We might begin merely with the simplest revelation of God’s kindness and grace, but we should feed that thought and encourage its development. We may worship God by singing a simple tune to Him, whether on pitch or not matters none, by directing our thoughts to Him, by quoting a Scripture back to God in recognition of who He is. To start the day with words of praise and end the evening with thoughts that reaffirm the greatness of God lifts us up to a higher life, to the life that God originally planned we would have. If all we do is pause and say, “What a wonderful God You are,” heaven’s possibilities opens for us and we are lifted to a greater level of life and thought.
Do not let Satan ruin your peace with temptations of worry or anger, lusts or pride. Rather focus your heart’s attention on God.
Lord, You are above all things and we praise You! Amen