Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Temptations We Face

In Exodus 32, we read the narrative about the Golden Calf. It is a very telling story concerning the “idolatry” that exists in all our hearts. We know the story well. Moses has been on the mountain for awhile. The people get restless and demand Aaron to “make” a god for them. They compile all their gold together, Aaron puts it in the fire, and “out came this calf”.

I had the privilege to hear David Platt preach this text a couple of weeks ago in chapel at Southeastern Seminary. He focused our attention on four temptations we will face as Christians, all of which are ever before us. I wanted to share them with you because his message from this text had a significant impact as I have been evaluating my own life and ministry.

Number one, we will be tempted to become leaders without convictions. In this, Platt pointed to Aaron’s failure in leadership in “giving the people what they wanted”--a god they could mold and shape for their own ends.

Number two, we will be tempted to celebrate salvation without dedication. Here scripture calls us to “supreme devotion and total abandonment”. Following Jesus is not for “lazy Christians” and it means more than fire insurance.

Number three, we will be tempted to manufacture worship without humiliation. They were really “worshiping themselves in the guise of worshipping God”. David then pointed out rightly that “the Word of God is sufficient to incite the worship of God”. He called our attention to Isaiah 66:2 that says, “All these things my hand has made, and so all these things came to be, declares the LORD. But this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word.”

Number four, we will be tempted to create a god without retribution. The reality of eternity and the wrath of God is not a game. It is real spiritual warfare that we are engaged in for the souls of men, women, boys, and girls.

May I encourage us this week to search our own hearts asking the question: Which one of these temptations am I most susceptible to?