Worshipping Other Than God

After Jesus was baptized, He was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.  The third temptation that Jesus received from the devil is recorded in Luke 4:5-8 “Then the devil, taking Him up on a high mountain, showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time.  And the devil said to Him, ‘All this authority I will give You, and their glory; for this has been delivered to me, and I give it to whomever I wish.  Therefore, if You will worship before me, all will be Yours.’  And Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Get behind Me, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’’”  From this we can understand that the devil has authority over the kingdoms and the glory of the world.  He offered to give it all to Jesus if He would worship him.

Perhaps you have heard a fictional story of an individual selling his soul to the devil so that he could have great wealth or power.  Would you be tempted to sell yourself to the devil to get something of great earthly value?  Matthew 16:24-26 “Then Jesus said to His disciples, ‘If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.   For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.   For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?’”  To lose your soul would mean to lose eternal life and instead receive eternal damnation.  Is there anything that the world has that would be worth losing eternal life?  Even if you gained everything in the whole world, would that be worth losing eternal life?  And yet, every day, people choose to sell themselves for far less than the whole world.  Not that they make a formal contract with the devil.  But they make decisions and enjoy the pleasures of sin which lead themselves away from God and cause them to lose their souls.  For example, those who chose to take recreational drugs and become addicted are in effect selling themselves to the devil.  Those who chose the path of sexual immorality are doing the same thing.  There are many ways that a person can chose the things of this world which cause him to lose his own soul.

Jesus resisted the devil and did not yield to the temptation.  He told the devil to get away from Him because He recognized how evil it would be to worship him.  Jesus declared “It is written ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’”  This is quoted from Deuteronomy 6:13-15 “You shall fear the Lord your God and serve Him, and shall take oaths in His name.  You shall not go after other gods, the gods of the peoples who are all around you (for the Lord your God is a jealous God among you), lest the anger of the Lord your God be aroused against you and destroy you from the face of the earth.”  God is a jealous God.  We often think of jealousy as being bad, but it is not bad for God to be jealous.  It means that he is intolerant of you worshipping anything besides Him; He demands that all worship and service go to Him.  Jesus said in Matthew 6:24 “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.”

Today it is unusual to see someone worshipping an idol of a god.  However, people worship many different things today.  Jesus said “You cannot serve God and mammon.”  Mammon is riches or anything that you treasure.  What might be a treasure?  It could be a job/career, a house or a car or some other possession.  It could be riches or pleasure or power.  A treasure would be anything that you consider of great value.  People today worship things that they treasure.  They worship their treasure by lusting for it or by spending most of their time and energy pursuing it.  You have your choice of worshipping and serving God or something else that you treasure.  Jesus gave the following admonition.  Matthew 6:19-21 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal;  but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.   For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”  Lay up for yourself treasures in heaven rather than pursuing treasures here on earth.

What do you worship?  Evaluate what you lust or have strong desire for and what you spend most of your time and energy pursuing.  Jesus said “You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.”  My encouragement to you is that you only worship the Lord and serve Him only.

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