Tuesday March 14, 2023
AND SHOWED HIM IN AN INSTANT
Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry. The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.” Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone.’” The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world.
What we see in an instant, at a glance and while our dopamine is triggered, can disorder our desires. In an instant, everything can change. Why does this passage include the phrase “in an instant” before “all the kingdoms of the world?” Other translations say, “in a moment of time.” Speed seems to be part of the meaning here. Why does that matter in this second temptation?
In his book, The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry: How to Stay Emotionally Healthy and Spiritually Alive in the Chaos of the Modern World, John Mark Comer writes: “Because what you give your attention to is the person you become. Put another way: the mind is the portal to the soul, and what you fill your mind with will shape the trajectory of your character. In the end, your life is no more than the sum of what you gave your attention to.” In other words, be careful what you see.
Attention. Focus. Speed. The average person touches their smartphone 2,600 or more times per day (low estimate). This distracting habit is linked to decreased productivity, poorer relationships (inattention/presence), memory loss, and habit-formation and addiction based on the constant dopamine hit. Social media, again, a quick read on the world and the opinions of all our “friends,” is a psychological environment as our focus becomes our reality.
We are not all-powerful robots, filtering out the bad and only taking in the good. We see it, and we absorb it. We must train our young ones to avert their eyes from what will snake around them later and drag their spirits down. That’s not intense parenting. That is preemptive self-help 101.
Hurry and immediate desire gratification are hurricanes, spinning out of control, and are sweeping up many across the globe with their force. We have become people who want things in an instant, without delay—delivered to us almost as soon as we desire them.
Jesus did not live in our fast world as a human being pre-resurrection. He lived in a slow world, where seeing “all the kingdoms” would be a longer-than-lifetime process of viewing drawings and paintings, listening to oral descriptions by travelers, or reading narratives about other lands and using one’s imagination.
The devil showed Jesus all of it in an instant. It was an “Internet Google images search” before it existed.
What we let in through our eye gate matters for the persuasion of our emotions. We must guard what we see in an instant. Our phones have our attention, and what has our attention is what we become and, inevitably, what we begin to value.
Jesus saw it all in an instant, and speed is one of the enemy’s tools of persuasion. Slow down, un-hurry your life, remove yourself for seasons from the instantaneous gratification of your phone—and practice examining the choices before you in light of your identity in Christ and your God-ordained vocation in the world.
What could you do today, even immediately, to slow down your pace of inner and outer life?
Lord of the Wild, we are addicted to the instant-and-in-the- moment in our day. We surrender our need for constant visual and mental stimulation through our phones, through social media, through on-demand video, and through constant texting. We want to ruthlessly eliminate hurry so we can move slowly and deliberately—resisting the enemy’s speed scheme to deform our faith. In Jesus’s name, amen.
Songs for the Wilderness
Today we will sing the hymn “Be Still, My Soul” which you can find here. You can find a modern version of the song here. Subscribe to our Spotify playlist featuring all of our Songs for the Wilderness here.
First 15 through the season of Lent is adapted from Jesus in the Wild: Lessons of Calling for Life in the World available through Seedbed. If you or your small group are interested in using this resource for your Lenten study, you can find more information here or send an email to email@example.com.
The First 15
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