I wrote the song Suddenly Angels Came when I was in university. I was living in a dorm that was Christian in name, but not a lot of the people living around me shared my views about God, faith, and morality. For all of us, being away from home and being independent for the first time was incredibly freeing—we could finally make our own decisions, choose our own paths, live our own lives. I soon found out, though, that freedom can be dangerous. When you’re free to choose, sometimes you make the wrong choices.
People make choices for all sorts of reasons. Sometimes we make choices so that they fall in line with a certain worldview or group of people. Sometimes we make choices because we can anticipate a desired end result. And sometimes we make choices because we are called, led, and inspired to follow.
One night, I was reading the Gospel of Matthew, especially the story of Jesus’ temptation found in chapter 4. After forty days and nights of fasting, the Bible tells us Jesus was hungry. When Satan tempts Him to turn some stones into bread, Jesus declines, saying that God’s Word is enough sustenance for Him. From the highest point of the Temple, Satan tempts Jesus to jump so the heavenly angels can catch Him. Jesus again rejects the suggestion, saying He will not put God to the test. One last time, Satan shows Jesus the splendour of the earthly kingdoms, offering all of it to Him if Jesus would only worship Satan. Jesus refuses, declaring His allegiance and worship will only ever belong to God.
Satan’s first attack was against Jesus’ physical weakness. Jesus was very hungry and probably very weak after His long fast. Sometimes temptation comes at us like this—when our body itself is weak and less able to resist. But Jesus showed us that God’s strength and truth, even when we are physically weak, will defend us.
Satan’s second try attacked Jesus’ connection to God the Father. Satan took a hint from Jesus Himself and quoted scripture to prove his point. Jesus wasn’t falling for it, though. Jesus trusted His acceptance by God and didn’t feel the need to prove it by jumping off the temple. Have you ever given in to someone to prove a point? “If you really loved me, you’d do this.” “If you were really part of this group, you’d do that.” It may make sense at the time, and that’s why it’s so sneaky…
And the last ditch effort to sway Jesus to Satan’s side came in the form of a blatant offer—Satan would give Jesus everything in exchange for His worship. From Jesus’ response, “Away from me, Satan!”, it seems like He might have gotten angry at this one. Jesus’ worship belonged to God and God only. Take a look at your life. What (or who) is asking for your worship? Are they offering you anything in return? Are you giving it?
In each of His responses to Satan’s wiles, Jesus quotes the Word of God. The Son of God uses the inspired Word of God as ammunition against temptation. In my four years at university, I encountered some things I just knew were wrong. And because of my knowledge of God’s Word and the support of God’s family, I was able to (most of the time) stay strong and resist.
I still struggle with giving God alone my worship. So many things clamour for my attention, pulling it away from God. But, by God’s strength, and Jesus’ example, I sing, “No, no, no… I worship God alone.”
Will you join me?
- Jennifer Jade Kerr