The Weekly Word - A Devotion for the Week of August 24
Next the devil took him to the peak of a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. “I will give it all to you,” he said, “if you will kneel down and worship me.” “Get out of here, Satan,” Jesus told him. “For the Scriptures say, ‘You must worship the Lord your God and serve only him.’” Then the devil went away, and angels came and took care of Jesus. (Matthew 4:8-11)
If you’ve ever stood on the top of a mountain after a long and grueling climb, you know how exhilarating it can feel. As you rest in the shade, a refreshing breeze cooling your weary body, you gaze out at the spectacular view, feeling like you’re on top of the world.
God rejoices in both our physical and our metaphorical mountaintop experiences. Our God loves to witness our success and to celebrate victory alongside us. He cheers for us when we are promoted or when we land the job of our dreams; He celebrates with us when we conquer challenges and achieve our goals.
But God also cautions that there can be a dark side to these mountaintop moments too. When we are “on top of the world,” it’s easy to let the rush of power and the feeling of invincibility go to our head. The truth is, success can fuel our pride, greed and idolatry if we let it. The taste of power, wealth or authority whets our appetite, compelling us to strive harder and fueling our desire for more. Before we realize it, we might find ourselves worshipping achievement, status, success and our own selves, rather than the God who made the mountaintop moment possible in the first place.
Let us resist the empty power offered by the “kingdoms of the world” and instead, worship the One who intentionally chose the lowest possible point – death itself – for our sake. Let us be like Jesus – who resisted the temptation of earthly power and glory – and turn our whole hearts toward God.
Gracious God, please help me keep a healthy perspective in the mountaintop moments of my life, remembering that it is You and You alone whom I worship, serve and praise. Amen.