When Jesus was tempted in the wilderness, he had to confront Satan’s dare to test God. Fathers also fall into the trap of testing God by testing sin. Our rebellious bravado causes our mind to forget that many mightier than us have succumbed. By keeping our eyes focused on God’s mission for our life, we remain fervently committed to carry out this most important task. The hard part is avoiding the pitfalls. Yes, God is always with us. However, our response to circumstances or opportunities (both good and bad) is the key. Thankfully, Jesus provides that example to fight off temptation by relying on the power of God’s Word to conquer it. And so should we.
With this in mind, let’s take a look at how Jesus confronted and conquered Satan’s third and final temptation.
“Again, the devil took Him to a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.” Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.” (Matthew 4:8-10)
Myron the Mouth wanted me to jump off in the worst way. He seemed to only enjoy trouble when there were accomplices. “O.K. Dave, I’ll give you my foot long stick of sour apple bubble gum, plus my Jim Rice baseball card.” The sweet sound of Myron’s offer engaged my ears and delivered me to a breaking point.
My knees shook. My heart pounded on the old log overlooking the small pond a foot and a half below me. How mad would Mom be with my wet clothes? How deep is that water? “Should I or shouldn’t I?” rattled in my brain like a glow-in-the-dark super bowl in a darkened shower stall. The ultimate dilemma confronted by a silly dare.
Satan saves his last trump card by utilizing the pinnacle of temptation to every young man’s heart. He shoots a flaming arrow into the target of an unlit furnace filled with the fuel of more money, power and glory. He toys with our innermost desires like a delicious, steaming pizza advertised on television.
Satan, the greatest salesman in the world, knows his pitch is the most effective when customers consider purchasing his product without investigating the price.
The strongest temptations for young fathers usually occur during the stress and fatigue of raising a young family and trying to make a name for himself – to be somebody. The company vice-president will say, “Say, kid, you’ve got potential. Keep it up and you’ll have a big future with us. Big money, large expense account, corner office and your own personal secretary. Yea, it means long hours, but don’t worry, your family will get used to it.”
With a renewed strength and vigor, Jesus promptly orders Satan to hit the road. He knew his purpose and mission. He was fully aware of what the prophets said about him. Satan was offering what the Jewish people were expecting of him. He was to be the promised Messiah – the King of the Israelites to re-establish the power and glory of days gone by. God had other plans and Jesus boldly proclaims His unwavering service to His will.
The Bible proclaims a father’s mission on earth and God is asking us if we are willing to accept it. The mission? To raise and train our children to honor and serve God with a faithful heart. Satan is determined to tempt and fool us, so he can drive a father’s influence away from his family. He uses his earthly realm to define success and create expectations derived from the world – the same world which expected a triumphant Messiah, not a broken Savior.
Are we spending too much time at work instead of home? Is our free time used pursuing our pleasures rather than being with our family or in the Word of God? Which God do you bow down and worship? If fathers do not accept God’s mission of actively raising our children, then the world is ready and waiting with open arms to accept our children and raise them accordingly. The nightly news of family tragedy and strive is proof alone of Satan’s handiwork.