5 Then the devil led Jesus up and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world.

6And the devil said to Jesus, ‘To you I will give their glory and all this authority; for it has been given over to me, and I give it to anyone I please. 7If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours.’ 8Jesus answered the devil, ‘It is written,
“Worship the Lord your God,
and serve only him.” ’

Glory and power are seductive temptations.

Surely, if I had glory and power, I would never again feel the hunger of this wilderness place. Think of all the good I might do if I had “all the kingdoms of the world” rendering obedience to my will.  Imagine how I might benefit your life with the power of “the kingdoms of the world” under my control.

But, I know the truth is, I do not seek glory and power for your good. I seek glory and power for myself. “It will all be yours” promises the devil.

The core of every temptation is to place myself, my needs, my wants, demands, desires, expectations, hopes, and ambitions at the centre of my life. I become my own little god. I worship myself, seeking to satisfy my own incessant needs before even considering any others. I tantalize myself with the illusion that, when I have enough glory and power, then I will consider your needs and care for the world.

But, it is a lie. There is only one God and this one God, tolerates no rivals. Jesus said,

No one can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.  (Matthew 6:24)

This is simply a reality of life. There is only one centre. Everything revolves around that centre. Either my needs, wants, and desires dominate my life, or love, goodness, purity, and truth are the centre around which my life rotates.

In the wilderness I confront the question of where I locate the centre of my life. Lent is an opportunity to reorient my life from the illusion of surfaces to the reality of my true deep centre.

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