Word for Wednesday

And saith unto Him, All these things will I give thee, if Thou wilt fall down and worship me. Matthew 4:9

Most of the teenagers who work at the fast food places around here seem to be working for only one purpose, to support their smoking habit. Somehow, a few months or years ago, somebody – one of the devil’s minions – convinced them that smoking was a cool thing to do, that they were ‘chicken’ if they didn’t at least try it. Maybe they did have a bit of fun with it at first. But they were quickly hooked by the nicotine, and now they are wasting their health, their money, and their work breaks on the world’s most useless and destructive pasttime. As they huddle in the cold alone outside sucking forlornly on their stinkweeds, they realize the promise of cool was short-lived. So is the devil’s promise for most of his goodies. Including those he offered to the Lord Jesus.

Did the devil really have those kingdoms and their wealth to offer? Technically, yes, he is the god of this world, the prince of the power of the air. And he has fame, fortune, and popularity aplenty to offer those gullible enough to take his bait. Just as he didn’t mention to the Lord Jesus that his offer of the world’s kingdoms was just a temporary offer, he doesn’t tell people today that he has but a small time frame in which his offers are good. There are pleasures in sin, it is true, but they are only for a season. And some of them have a very short season before the pleasure descends into pain and grief. The fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was possibly very sweet while it was in Adam’s mouth, but its bitter aftertaste has never faded in six thousand years. Although his evil temptations could never deceive the Lord Jesus, they have fooled billions – including us. And we need to be on our guard that we don’t see his attractions for more than they really are.

Nothing that the devil offers has lasting value. Some of his dainties endure for years before the sinner realizes how bad the bargain was. Other temptations are fleeting in their offer but eternal in the price they exact. The devil’s offer of this world’s kingdoms is temporary, because he will someday soon lose the right to offer them. His bad bargain shop will soon be closing, and he will have a price to pay for his own pride. The knowledge that his reign is short should serve to encourage us to withstand his wiles. Even the minor battles he wins against us are tempered by the knowledge that we have already won the war.

The devil’s temptations today can fade away as we grasp the greatness of the riches of Christ. -Jim MacIntosh

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