I am looking at the temptation of Jesus from the Bible story in Matthew 4. Part one looked at how temptation comes at our weakest moment. Now let’s look at how impatience is at the core of temptation.
Satan threw three temptations at Jesus:
- To turn stones into bread
- To throw himself off the temple and be rescued by angels
- To worship Satan to gain the kingdoms of the world
The Temptation of Impatience
You might not recognize it at first but each temptation had to do with impatience. Satan tempted Jesus to take the fast-track to bringing his kingdom to earth. He says to Jesus, Look, if you really are the Son of God then why mess around? Why take so long teaching and developing followers and suffering? Why not turn these stones into bread? In this economy, that would get you some followers.
In fact, isn’t that what God did in the Wilderness? He gave his people bread. So Jesus, do that…turn these stones into bread. It’s even biblical. How can you go wrong?
Or he says…if you really are the son of God then dazzle the people. Throw yourself off the temple and let God’s angels save you like a celestial trapeze act. That will catch some headlines. That will fill the seats. No one will doubt you are the Messiah then!
Or he says…why wait for God to give you the world after the cross? I’ll give it to you now with no cross.
In a moment of weakness…these things probably sounded pretty good.
- Jesus could speed up his ministry.
- He could help people by feeding them.
- He could convince them he was Messiah with an amazing miracle.
- And best of all…he could gain the whole world without facing the cross.
Impatience Empowers Temptation
We are all tempted in our weakness to look for a short-cut. Impatience drives us. Few of us can resist a quick fix dangled in front of us. It might be financial; you see all of your problems evaporating if you’ll just lie a little here or cheat a little there or invest in something with borrowed money thinking you’ll get a big payback.
Or the temptation might be physical; you have a sexual craving or a food craving or a drug or alcohol craving. A simple “yes” will bring you instant gratification. With a simple “yes” you can kill the pain or take control or feel loved or solve a problem right NOW..this minute, no waiting…oh, man, that is sooooo tempting.
Yielding to Impatience Makes You Smaller
But here’s the thing. Every time you give into impatience you become a little smaller. With each relapse your world reduces to that sin. All you think about is your next drink or that new porn site or the next lie to cover your tracks. Everything else in life grows dim as you increasingly focus on your pet sin.
Like Esau selling his birthright for a bowl of stew, you trade away what COULD BE for WHAT IS and it’s never a fair exchange. You are always the loser. And you get smaller, and smaller and smaller. I know someone who became so small that he lost everything; his marriage, his family, his career and all his possessions. He became so consumed with his sin that he lost sight of what’s important.
Someone told me recently, “I realize that all these years I’ve been settling for less when God wanted so much more for me.” Exactly. But Jesus wasn’t willing to settle for less. Jesus understood that the kingdom of God doesn’t come quickly. He refused to cut corners and take shortcuts. So, even though he was at his weakest he refused the offer of instant gratification. He was willing to suffer rather than succumb to impatience.
Question: How has impatience caused you to yield to temptation? Leave your comment below and “share the knowledge” by clicking a link. Thanks!