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PASTORS' DAILY DEVOTIONAL
Jan
04

The Test of Transitions

Jon Burgess

Scripture

“Jesus responded, “The Scriptures also say, ‘You must not test the LORD your God.’ ” When the devil had finished tempting Jesus, he left him until the next opportunity came. Then Jesus returned to Galilee, filled with the Holy Spirit’s power. Reports about him spread quickly through the whole region. He taught regularly in their synagogues and was praised by everyone.” ‭‭Luke‬ ‭4:12-15‬ ‭

Observation

Every opportunity is an opportunity for obedience or rebellion. Every transition is a test of obedience to God's timing or a temptation to take the shortcut. Jesus was transitioning from private life to public ministry. J.R.R. Tolkien once wrote, "Shortcuts make long delays." This was what the Devil was tempting Jesus to do. Could Jesus have turned the rock in to stone? Yes. Should he have? No. There's nothing fast about fasting and Jesus was starving as we would be. From the beginning though He chose to subject His flesh to the Father. How about the authority of the kingdoms of this world? Authority that comes before Gods timing always has a price that's not worth paying- bowing down to the devil. If we seek the worship of man we will end up worshipping the devil. Would the angels have caught Jesus? Yes. This was a shortcut salvation. If Jesus threw himself off the temple surely everyone would believe that He was the Messiah. This would have been a showy salvation without the cross. A skin-deep version that would never transform the soul. No, Jesus knew there was only one way to save all of humanity and that was the long arduous journey to the cross one step of obedience at a time.

Application

Whether it's a transition into a new job position, from dating to marriage, from raising toddlers to teenagers, from high school to college, from a new Christian to a mature believer there's no such thing as a spiritual short-cut. We will always be tempted, as Jesus was, to find the quick way around the cross of sacrifice, but we will never be happy with the long-term results if we do. Oh sure, the short-term results will be as tasty as a fresh loaf of bread after a 40 Day fast, but it will be a rock in the stomach. Who needs to wait for marriage, let's have sex now! Who needs to wait for a promotion that's earned as we manipulate our way to the top! Who needs to spend time with our rebellious teens, let's just have their youth pastors and teachers take care of them! Who needs to study and read for the test, let's just cheat off of others or skip higher education completely! All throughout life we are offered what Jesus was: fast food, fast fans, and flights of fancy. But all of these shortcuts come with a steep price. Anything short of daily taking up our cross and following Christ will result in self-worship, man's worship and ultimately devil worship. It won't feel like it in the moment, but we will look back at the time of transition in our lives and realize we had a choice to take the shortcut or the long road. What will we choose in this new year's transition? A quick fix or the daily cross?

Prayer

It's the transition to a new year, but there are other transitions going on all around me. Change is the constant so I need to constantly seek You first above every other thing that my soul craves. Promotion comes from you so my job is to promote You. Praise is made for You, so I will seek security in who You've made me to be and not in what others think of me. Security is found in You so I will put You first in my finances. Change doesn't happen overnight so I will continue to contend for breakthrough for my boys and my church in prayer. Health doesn't happen automatically so will put your will above my cravings for some fresh bread with butter! I will pass the test of transitions through Your strength and by Your Spirit!


Devotions for January 04

Genesis 9,10,11
Luke 4

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