Don’t Do It Yourself


 He (Saul) waited seven days, the time appointed by Samuel. But Samuel did not come …, and the people were scattering from him. So Saul said, “Bring the burnt offering here to me, and the peace offerings.” And he offered the burnt offering. As soon as he had finished offering the burnt offering, behold, Samuel came. And Saul went out to meet him and greet him.  Samuel said, “What have you done?” And Saul said, “When I saw that the people were scattering from me, and that you did not come within the days appointed, and that the Philistines had mustered … I said, ‘Now the Philistines will come down against me …, and I have not sought the favor of the Lord.’ So I forced myself, and offered the burnt offering.” And Samuel said to Saul, “You have done foolishly. You have not kept the command of the Lord your God, with which he commanded you. For then the Lord would have established your kingdom over Israel forever.  But now your kingdom shall not continue. (1 Samuel 13:8-14a)

                Saul falls victim to temptations we all face in our Christian walk. As soon as circumstances developed in a way that he did not like he took matters into his own hands. He was impatient when Samuel didn’t come when expected, he was discouraged when all of his men had scattered, and he lost focus of God’s direction when his focus shifted toward the army mustering against him. He made the decision to trust in his own power over the power of God found through obedience. God had a plan for Saul to rule as long as he was obedient to God’s rule over His chosen people. If you will fear the Lord and serve him and obey his voice and not rebel against the commandment of the Lord, and if both you and the king who reigns over you will follow the Lord your God, it will be well. But if you will not obey the voice of the Lord, but rebel against the commandment of the Lord, then the hand of the Lord will be against you and your king. (1 Samuel 12:14-15) But his self-sufficiency led him away from God and bypassed the plans for his prosperity.

                No battle will ever be complete unless it is won through God. Our human efforts leave trouble incomplete. It is why we find ourselves in struggles repeatedly. If we submit our plans and allow God to fight for us He will bring those troubles to completion where we would continually fight and grow weary. Don’t let the circumstances you see pull you away from what God’s will. Don’t let an impatient soul drive you forward while God is setting up the victory for you. Walk with God as He develops a victory that glorifies Him and His provision for you. Let God’s timing lead you and find rest in the anticipation of the upcoming victory. Die to yourself daily and establish Jesus as your Lord. Give control top the Creator and Sustainer of the universe. Let the plan He has for you exceed your wildest dreams and destroy forever your biggest fears.

Tempted in All Ways (3 of 4)


Jump from the Pinnacle of the Temple

The second temptation of the deceiver is for Jesus to prove His identity and throw Himself from the top of the temple so that He would be rescued by the angels (Psalm 91:12) Again Jesus responds with God’s Word: You shall not put the Lord your God to the test (Deuteronomy 6:16) What could this illustration tell us about broader temptations we all face? We are tempted to do things ourselves and then wonder why God doesn’t come in and save us from our mistakes without consequence. We don’t always feel like we are looking to ‘force God’s hand’ but we follow our own will and expect God to clean up the mess. God gave us free will so that our love for Him would be voluntary and real. God doesn’t force anyone into the loving relationship He desires for all of His children. He chooses that we are allowed to come willingly and most of the time we don’t turn to Him until out sinful nature and self-will hurt us and remind us that we weren’t meant to walk a path different from the one God design for us and designed us for. If God didn’t allow the consequences for self-reliance, we would all run head long into risk without any regard for the danger involved. We would never have a reason to walk in a consistent, loving, reliant relationship with God. He would be reduced to a gene that was called on when our self-sufficiency finally caught up to us. Imagine as a parent your child ignored all of your direction but ran to you as soon as they got into trouble that you had advised against. God’s love and grace cover our ignorance but His heart is for us to live a better life that gives us joy and glorifies Him. Don’t fall into temptations to that are represented here by a leap that our Savior resisted for the glory of the Father and the salvation of His followers.

Tempted in All Ways (2 of 4)


Stone to Bread

At first glance, we see a hungry man being tempted to feed Himself. His response is from scripture: …that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD. (Deuteronomy 8:3) This temptation represents something that covers the majority of us are tempted with every day. Another way of seeing this is, Jesus was being tempted to seek worldly comfort instead of that which comes from God. This also represents our tendency to bypass the correction and growth God desires for us to walk through in order to be in submission and reliance on Him. People try to sooth their pain and frustration with worldly things like drugs, alcohol, food, people, etc. People sinfully seek a reward without the work and process that God desires to grow our spirit in the times of need. We should look to God, His provision and His Word to sustain us as He leads us through difficult times meant to help us grow in relationship with our Creator. God will always give us the provision we need to walk the path that He has illuminated for us. It is when we lean on the lesser provision of this world that we are drawn away from our Sustainer to seek the things that will perish. The desire to resort to our own strength and power haunt all of us in our fallen nature. We can’t appreciate the process of the timing of God. If we really think about it, something as simple as turning a stone to bread covers the majority of the temptation we face. If we were in a constant relationship with God and His will, we would be the source of abundant spiritual fruit where sin cannot abound.

Tempted in All Ways (1 of 4)


    Following His baptism in the Jordan by John the Baptist, Jesus is led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted after 40 days and 40 nights (Matthew 4:1). I heard a sermon where the speaker said that Jesus could not be tempted due to the lack of indwelling sin that we carry from birth. It’s an interesting thought. He prefers to say that the deceiver was testing The Son of God, sizing up his adversary. I like the thought of the deceiver being clueless to what God in the flesh had come to do. He would eventually cause a disciple to betray Jesus, leading to the death that defeated his own power over those who choose to believe in salvation through Jesus.

    However we see the time spent in the wilderness, it is clear that the deceiver was on a mission to try and change what God was doing. If we look at the temptations Jesus was presented we can see that the Book of Hebrews presents a truth described here in the Gospels. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:15-16) When I see the ways Jesus was tempted, I see that all three cover the majority, if not all, of the temptations we face. I want to examine how these three temptations encompass more than what might be scanned over as we read. Let’s break down each and see what larger truths exist beyond three attempts by satan.

He tempted toward the good parts of being human without the bad: to savor the taste of bread without being subject to the fixed rules of hunger and of agriculture, to confront risk with no real danger, to enjoy fame and power without the prospect of painful rejection- in short, to wear a crown but not a cross. – Philip Yancey

Jesus forfeited the three greatest powers at his disposal, “miracles, mystery, and authority.” – The Brothers Karamazov

Jesus was not willing to trade away our freedom for control, safety, protection, ambition, or comfort.

Love and Temptation (3)


Love over Jealousy

If you are jealous, you are lacking in love; for love does not envy. Love causes us to want more for those we care about. We should want them to grow and prosper even if it costs us a great deal. We should be willing to sacrifice our comfort to help others grow in their journey toward reconciliation with God. God has provided for people what He intends for them to have for their individual journey. He has done the same for you but in a different way because no two journeys are the same. Do not be jealous of their provision, love them and what God has given them for their walk. Love that God had provided for them appropriately according to His will. Love that God will provide all that you need for your journey as well.


(1 Corinthians 13:4-7) Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love and Temptation (Intro)


            Love is the focal point of the two greatest commandments of God.

(Matthew 22:36-40)   “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “’Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. ’This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

            Love not only conveys the nature and desire of God but also acts as a means for our sanctification. Love will force us to face every temptation laid out in scripture: (1)Pride, (2)Greed, (3)Jealousy, (4)Lust; you name it. It is in the midst of that temptation that we come into a deeper dependence on God. Through love we must be willing to fight the temptations of this world that drive us to selfish desire and inward focus. (James 1:14) But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. We must put others before ourselves even if doing so causes us to suffer. It’s through love that we show the world God, and that we also grow closer to God by becoming as close to His unconditional love for us as we possibly can in our fallen human condition.


(1 Corinthians 13:4-7) Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.