January 30-February 5
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In the chapters for this week, Christ is preparing for His ministry. He spends a significant amount of time in the wilderness, and then the devil appears to tempt Him.
5 And the Spirit taketh him up into a high mountain, and he beheld all the kingdoms
of the world in a moment of time.
6 And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it.
7 If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine.
This is a really interesting temptation that Satan tried to offer Jesus Christ; I mean, I guess Satan didn’t have much to work with because it was Christ. But still. This one is just plain ironic.
Satan offers Christ all the kingdoms of the world if Christ will worship him. Now here is the irony: these “blessings” are not actually Satan’s to give, Satan probably would not actually care to deliver on his promises, and if Satan did deliver, they would only be temporary. And here’s the real kicker…all of those kingdoms already belonged to Christ. He created the earth, and Satan was offering to give Him His own creation. How tempting.
And though Christ is perfect and powerful and glorious in comparison to us, Satan simply used the tactics he was already using on humankind.
Not Satan’s to give
Recently I read a news article about a scam that occurred in Los Angeles, California. A man was showing homes to potential buyers, but the homes he was showcasing were not for sale. He would pay a family to use their house for something unrelated, but then he would show it to other people as an open house. He would take their money and never deliver the house because it wasn’t for sale in the first place. It wasn’t his to give. The man scammed a combined group of people out of millions of dollars.
The earth doesn’t belong to Satan even though he likes to pretend it does (because you know…narcissist). It has been prophesied that a day will come in which people will look at him and be astonished that he caused so much mayhem because he’s really not that great. Satan may whisper that you will be blessed for following a path that leads away from Christ, but those blessings are not actually available for him to give. He’s like one of those robocallers; they keep coming especially when you acknowledge them.
It’s a scam.
Satan doesn’t care to deliver anyway
In The Book of Mormon, Korihor is a man who decides to follow Satan, and he gets all of this wealth and admiration and power. When he decides to follow Satan, he is “blessed” for it and receives what he wants. He likes the life he is living.
Satan upholds Korihor for a while but not because he actually likes Korihor. Satan upholds Korihor because he is utilizing Korihor to hurt more people. The minute Korihor loses his ability to speak and lead the people astray, Korihor is left begging until he is trampled to death. Korihor was used to the limit of his usefulness and discarded.
Satan will uphold his own for a time, but it won’t be because he loves them. He does it because he is hoping to bring down as many people as possible. Whether in this life or the next, Satan will lose his “need” for us; we will no longer be useful. As a result, he feels no need to uphold our happiness or pleasure, and he doesn’t care to either. In fact, he relishes that you are miserable too.
And this goes along with the next point I made – the blessings Satan can offer are only temporary. They are temporary because he won’t care to extend them once you’re no longer useful to him, but there is more. Even if Satan uncharacteristically decided to like someone, he can’t offer more than temporary “blessings;” he can’t offer them once Christ comes again and everyone realizes the truth. No one will be following him, and his power will completely disintegrate. He will have nothing to give you because he will have nothing.
He offers what is already our’s
I think the last point is one of the most powerful. Satan tries to offer us what is already ours.
How sad it would have been (not just for us but for Him) if Christ had accepted that deal from Satan.
Let’s pretend Christ accepts the deal. Maybe Christ was even convinced that if He could rule over the kingdoms of men, He would have a bigger influence on the world for good. At some point in time, it is revealed to Christ that He already had power over the kingdoms of men. He created it all, and the power to rule over all of it had never left Him. He sacrificed it all for something that already belonged to Him.
The same applies to us. Everything that Satan tries to offer already belongs to us. It is already well within our rights to overcome the world, to utilize His power to change the world, and to be filled with glory.
We are children of God. Perhaps we have not yet achieved our full stature, but Christ can help us achieve that because of His atoning sacrifice. It’s only a matter of time before we will walk past Satan with everything he had once offered us. Because of Christ’s atonement, His promises are legitimate and binding. It doesn’t matter if we’re not quite there yet. The promises are so real that it is as if we already have them. We are inheritors of all the Father hath and co-inheritors with Christ.
There is no happiness that Satan can offer us that hasn’t already been promised to us by Someone who legitimately loves us.
Christ followed the will of the Father in all things
In my pretended scenario where Christ sacrificed everything that was already His, I made the comment that maybe He believed He could do more if Satan offered to let Him rule over the kingdoms of men. Obviously that wasn’t even a thought in Christ’s mind. However, for us who struggle a bit more, our temptations can often be laced with good intentions.
For example, I’ve mentioned before that there was a period of my life in which I wanted to be a rock star. I remember sitting on the edge of my sister’s bed as she tried to steer me away from this dream of mine. I asked her what was wrong with wanting to be a good influence in a world where there were so many bad ones. She responded with, “That’s not how the Savior did it.” The Savior did not seek large crowds, megaphones, and amphitheaters; they certainly flocked Him occasionally, but that is not how Christ ministered. He ministered one by one.
Now that is not meant to be a commentary on whether a desire to be a rock star is wrong because I don’t think that’s innately wrong (maybe precarious, but not evil). And it’s not wrong to stand in an amphitheater and teach the gospel.
What I was trying to teach is this: we receive our ultimate inheritance (and our ability to change the world) by doing it the Lord’s way even if it looks counterintuitive.
Christ knew He was meant to change the world. Perhaps to some of us, it would have seemed logical to want to rule over all the kingdoms of the world so we could change them. But Christ knew better than to question what His Father was telling Him. Heavenly Father knew the end from the beginning and guided Christ’s every step. Though Christ chose to minister one by one, He left a bigger mark on the world than any other mortal who walked upon it.
If we truly want to make a difference and inherit everything that the Father hath, there is really only one path to take and that is the path that God wants us to take.
Satan will tempt us in any way that he can. He will make his choice look logical. He will try to make you feel angry when obstacles are placed in the path that God has given you. But through the guidance of God and atonement of Christ, every single step along our paths can be for our good. Every step can ultimately be used for us to receive the blessings that God has promised.