A Notch Higher

“Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. And the tempter came and said to him, ‘If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.’ But he answered, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple and said, ‘If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written, “He will command his angels concerning you,” and “On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.”’ Jesus said to him, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’ Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to him, ‘All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.’ Then Jesus said to him, ‘Be gone, Satan! For it is written, “You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.”’ Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and were ministering to him.” Matthew 4:1-11

Immediately after His baptism by His cousin John, having received the audible blessing of God His Father’s approval, Jesus is led by the Spirit into the furnace of the wilderness. He was tempted as we are, yet keeping His focus, thinking, and responses a notch higher than the natural and earthly, He remained without sin. (1 Corinthians 10:13; Hebrews 2:17-18; 1 Peter 2:21-24)

Lee's Camera as of Nov 2008 050

Forty days hungry, wouldn’t fresh bread be welcome? Ah, there is spiritual bread that satisfies far more deeply. Humbled in His low position and isolation, wouldn’t He like to show off against and over natural forces like gravity? Ah, but testing God’s created power is testing God Himself, and that is forbidden in His word. How about taking all the world’s kingdoms and glory now (as if the devil could proffer them)? No, Jesus came humbly to serve and worship the King of kings; it was not yet time to be glorified. In all things and every way, Jesus lived a notch above where natural man does. His was an eternal, divine perspective with accompanying determination. (Philippians 2:5-11)

With the muddle of worldliness all around, temptations to take and relish and swagger, it can be a challenge, and takes deliberate effort, to poke our heads up above the chatter to breathe heavenly air, to take in the clear skies of true truth, to catch the vastness of eternal vistas. But God calls us to this higher thinking and living. (Colossians 3:1-2)

Living a notch higher compels us to lay up treasure in heaven, rather than on earth, to seek first God’s kingdom and righteousness instead of fretting anxiously over what we eat and drink and wear. Will we choose to do as Jesus did? (Matthew 6:19-20, 25-33)

Father, when I am tempted, cause me to cling to the higher notches in Your word and the steadfastness of my Savior. Thank You that He has won the ultimate victory over Satan so I can do the same today.

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