Lay It Down
Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written:
‘He will command his angels concerning you,
and they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’”
Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’” (Matthew 4:5-7)
It would have been the most sensational day in the history of the Temple. Imagine the reaction of the people had Jesus floated down into their midst from the highest pinnacle of the Temple. He would immediately have been acclaimed Messiah and there would have been no Cross. Of course, without the Cross, there would have been no salvation or eternal life . . . just an earthly ruler.
How do you handle the temptation to be recognized for what you do or say? We believe this continues to be a struggle for most Christians, as well as for those apart from Jesus. There is always the temptation to draw attention to oneself in order to accomplish something for God. Whether it is an important accomplishment at work or school, or simply our own desire to be recognized for doing something in ministry, it seems to be a human tendency to desire the attention of others. The horizontal pull for approval or acclamation of others is faced by everyone in varying degrees.
Once again, Jesus moves from the horizontal pull to the vertical plan. “Satan, don’t you know that God has told us not to do that which tempts Him or tries to back Him into a corner in order to act?” More than any other man, Jesus knew how temporary the acclamation of mankind could be. What lasts and truly satisfies is doing what the Father has said to do. And yet, how does one do this consistently with purity of heart and humility? We have found that giving of finances or talents anonymously is a good way to practice this discipline and bring the necessity for self-promotion and self-importance under the control of the Holy Spirit.
Listen: Spend a few quiet moments seeking God. Be attentive to whatever He may speak to your heart.
Reflect: How is the Spirit leading you to respond to what you have heard from God?
Confess and Repent: If there is something the Spirit convicts you of, take time to prayerfully confess it. Resolve to turn from it if it is sin, or step toward whatever He is leading you into that you have either neglected or not seen before.
Ask: It is so easy Lord, to fall into the trap of trying to attract attention, even when I’m serving You. Forgive me when I strive for the approval of men rather than Your approval. Help me to not use worldly means to accomplish heavenly goals. I want all that I do to be in the power of Your Holy Spirit.
- Reject the temptation to fall into the enemy’s trap by becoming enamored with your own accomplishments. Desiring to please God with a sincere heart is a testimony to the vertical life.
- Do something significant anonymously—simply because God calls you to do it . . . not to be known, but to make Him known. This may involve your finances, your time or your talent. God may also call you to stretch into a new experience which is outside of your own natural ability or giftedness so that He will receive even more glory.
- When you have an opportunity to step into a role that will give you a high level of attention, visibility or praise, consider every now and then intentionally taking a behind the scenes role that may still be important, but that will not point accolades in your direction.
Taken from Vertical with Jesus by David and Kim Butts. © 2022 PrayerShop Publishing.