Then the devil led Jesus up and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And then the devil said to Him, “To You I will give their glory and all this authority….If You, then, will worship me, it will all be Yours.” Luke 4:5–7
The devil offered Jesus the same things God offered Him. The kingdom. Authority. Glory. There was one significant difference. The devil offered Jesus an easy way to achieve His goals. With the devil there is no cross. The devil offers all the gain without any of the pain. This is the devil’s “get rich quick” scheme. All Jesus had to be willing to do was cut a few corners, make a few compromises, and then He could sidestep the cross on His way to greatness. However, while He may have achieved His ends more expeditiously, if Jesus had accepted the devil’s offer, He would have likely lost His soul in the transaction. Jesus was destined to turn over tables, transform hearts, and bring healing to all people…and He would have to pay the price for doing it.
In truth, crosses build character. Hard work builds endurance. Overcoming obstacles builds resilience and resolve. Salvation comes through sacrifice. For God, there are no shortcuts. God is trying to build a kingdom in this world. God is trying to build us into people of integrity, wisdom, and compassion. That is hard and demanding work—for us, and for God. And God wants it done right.
Are you trying to sidestep any of the necessary demands of your life right now?
Lord, there are no shortcuts toward my growth into a person of integrity, wisdom, and compassion. You know how I am tempted to cut corners, pursue the course of least resistance, and take the easy way out. The devil’s deal is indeed tempting. I am tempted daily. I long to avoid the cross…but in doing so I realize that I may miss out on becoming the person You are shaping me to be. Do not let my fear of the cross scare me away from who You have created me to be. In Jesus’ name, I pray. AMEN.