For 40 days and nights the devil tested the mettle of our Lord Jesus. At one point the enemy “showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said to Him, “I will give You all this domain and its glory; for it has been handed over to me, and I give it to whomever I wish. Therefore, if You worship before me, it shall all be Yours.” Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God and serve Him only.”
I read that section again this morning and for the first time realized the Lord’s response might have been a not-too-thinly-veiled reference to the portion of Isaiah in which we find this partial history of the devil (Isaiah 14:12-15):
“How you have fallen from heaven, O star of the morning, son of the dawn! You have been cut down to the earth, You who have weakened the nations! 13 “But you said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God, And I will sit on the mount of assembly In the recesses of the north. 14 ‘I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.’ 15 “Nevertheless you will be thrust down to Sheol, to the recesses of the pit.
While I considered this new understanding of the text, the Holy Spirit reminded me of what He said through St. Paul in his letter to the Colossians (1:16-18):
“For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. 17 He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. 18 He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything.”
Look again at the last clause. From the beginning of creation, it has been – and always will be – the Father’s intent that Jesus have first place in everything we do and everything we are.
Jesus should have first place in all our life goals. Our daily plans should seek to honor Him first. Our employment or unemployment should be done in such a way that Jesus has first place in it.
You might remember when Simon Peter’s mother-in-law was sick with a fever (Luke 4:38-40). When the disciples asked the Lord to heal her, He rebuked the fever “and she IMMEDIATELY got up and served them.”
We ought not gloss over that point. When Jesus healed her, she got up from her sickbed and waited on Him.
Our position and titles are not given us to serve ourselves, but to serve Him. Our time, talents, and treasures were each given us by God to serve Jesus. When He heals us – as with Peter’s mother-in-law – it is to serve Him. When He does NOT heal us – as was true of the many faithful men and women in Hebrews 11:36-40 – it is so that in our illness and suffering we might serve Him.
God formed us in the womb for His purposes. No one can read scripture from cover to cover with an honest heart and not come away with the ever-growing realization that our very being is for and through Jesus – that our Creator intends that Jesus have first place in everything.
Oh, Holy Spirit, change my heart – give me a ‘sea-change’ of attitude that I might always remember my responsibility is to place Jesus above all things in my life. That He may always receive honor from my life. Amen