Gardendale Nazarene

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Temptation | Pastor's Blog | Gardendale Nazarene

Temptation

Trusting God's Narrative

I recently had a writer friend contact me. On his blog, he writes devotionals based on sermons he has heard in the past. He contacts the preacher to make sure he is accurately representing the thought of the sermon he is using. He was working on a devotional and found his notes from a sermon he heard me preach in January 2004.

My first thought was, "Man, I'm getting old. That was thirteen years ago!" My second (and more terrifying) thought was, "Oh no, there is no telling what I said. Do I still agree with twenty-seven-year-old John?"

The sermon was on the temptations of Jesus in Luke 4. This got me thinking about what I would preach differently today compared to 2004. This led me to a central thought on temptation in general.

When you read through the temptations of Jesus, the part of the story that stands out to me deals with narratives. This is what I mean-

Each of these temptations involves the devil changing Jesus' story.
  • With the stone to bread temptation, the devil is asking Jesus, "Are you going to trust Your Father to provide for you?"
  • With the kingdoms of this world temptation, the devil is asking Jesus, "Are you going to trust God in the way He understands power (servanthood and a cross)?"
  • With the pinnacle of the temple temptation, the devil is asking Jesus, "Is God going to protect His Son or has He abandoned You?"

God is the one who directed Jesus' life and the devil's real question is, "Do you really trust God's narrative for Your life?"

I believe this is at the heart of what temptation is. Dallas Willard writes, "This is the basic idea behind all temptation: God is presented as depriving us by His commands of what is good, so we think we must take matters into our own hands and act contrary to what He has said."

We deal with the same temptations that were presented to Jesus. Do we really trust God's narrative of our life? Are we willing to stand in the truth of who God is, even when taking matters into our own hands would seemingly be easier?

My prayer is that we learn to stand in the face of temptation and rely on God to narrate our lives. He loves us beyond anything we can imagine and His life is our life.

This Sunday, we are beginning a new series titled, Renovate: Holiness of the Heart. I am excited about this series and I pray that we open ourselves to what God wants to do in our lives and church through these upcoming messages. You can download a sermon schedule with the passages here.

God is doing great things in the lives of His people. Come join us Sunday as we open our hearts to Him.