No Shortcuts: Victory Series, Part 29 (Temptation)


Dunedin

Hospitality is never the same. In one place you are welcomed with open arms, in another you are completely ignored.

This happened to us while visiting the beautiful country of New Zealand.

Our first night at Dunedin was fabulous. Despite the fact that she had other urgent obligations, our hostess was waiting for her guests with a smile. She literally welcomed us with open arms, taking the time to getting to know us over a cup of hot herbal tea and exquisite cookies. I wished I had asked her for her recipe!

When asked why she hadn't just left us a note and gone about her urgent business, she said this wasn't her style. She preferred to welcome her guests personally so that they were sure to feel at home.

Wow! Southern hospitality (If we had been any farther south we would have been in Antarctica!) at its best!

Or at least that is what we thought until we reached our next destination, where the Bed and Breakfast was completely dark when we arrived, with only a note to greet us. We never saw our hosts, except in the morning, when we were loading our car. And then, it was only because another note was brought to our attention: The bill!

To tell you the truth, although the rooms were more than adequate, we didn't feel welcome.

In the hosting business, if you want repeat business, there can be no shortcuts. The same is true if we are followers of Christ. We can't ignore the needs of others because we are too busy with our own. And the same is true with temptation! Shortcuts will not do!

The third time the evil one approached Jesus with his tempting offers he aimed at Jesus' needs: "You don't have to head down this road of suffering buddy! There are shortcuts. I will help you out of this. Just worship me!" Finally he was revealing his true intentions. He wasn't there to help Jesus. His shortcut was to satisfy his OWN ego! And it all came down to worship.

"'All this I will give you,' he said, 'if you will bow down and worship me.'" (Matt 4:9 NIV)

Stupid, right? Who would fall for that???

But let's be careful. How many of us wouldn't give away our hearts for the promise of life? "I will make you rich!" "I will give you good health!" "I will lead you to the love of your life." "I will give you a fulfilling job!" "I will get you out of debt!..." And the list could go on.

These shortcuts are far from being fulfilling, and they certainly do not lead to real life! If you don't believe me, read the tabloids from the "stars" on this planet. Drugs, sex, infidelity, addictions, sleeplessness and even money concerns dominate the lives of most of them!

Yes, this shortcut to idolatry is far from fulfilling. So why do we even contemplate it? Instead, let's follow Jesus' example: "Jesus said to him, 'Away from me, Satan! For it is written: "Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only."'" (Matt 4:10 NIV) Jesus is clear: "There are no shortcuts! My heart belongs solely to God only!"

Only when we realize the true nature of the evil one, and only when we resist him with all of our heart and our soul, will he leave us alone. At least temporarily, for he sure hopes that forgetfulness will soon overtake us!

"Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him." (Matt 4:11 NIV)

May we constantly remind ourselves that shortcuts in the spiritual realm are always deadly. There is only One who really cares for us, and it sure is not the evil one!

"Don't look for shortcuts to God. The market is flooded with surefire, easygoing formulas for a successful life that can be practiced in your spare time. Don't fall for that stuff, even though crowds of people do. The way to life - to God! - is vigorous and requires total attention." (Matt 7:13-14 The Message)

Excuse me, is there a shortcut to Queenstown or are these mountains really in the way?

Rob Chaffart

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