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.”1 In other words, be careful little eyes 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.
Lord of the Wild, we are addicted to the instant-and-in-themoment 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.
What could you do today, even immediately, to slow down your pace of inner and outer life?
For the Awakening,
- John Mark Comer, The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry: How to Stay Emotionally Healthy and Spiritually Alive in the Chaos of the Modern World (Colorado Springs, CO: Waterbrook, 2019), 54–55.
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Quick Christianity served up in a tidy Sunday service and then shelved for a week abandons the power of abiding in the vine and being led by the Spirit. We need a lifestyle of binge watching Jesus and continually streaming the author and finisher of our faith.
I am truly blessed in that I’m a late consumer into the internet world. While I once subscribed to Facebook and did enjoy the connection to other folks during the Covid social sequestration period; I soon recognized the negative impact that the consumption of so much “bad news” does to one’s mental and spiritual health. I now limit my internet exposure to primarily Christian blogs and news sites. I have way too many chores to preform on a daily basis to waist so much time browsing the internet on my smartphone. I’m grateful for the time I spend working in the soil of landscape and gardening. That’s where I find time to contemplate my relationship with my Creator.
The hearing ear and the seeing eye, the Lord has made them both.
“The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light,
For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
The Word gives precise instructs on who and what our eyes and thoughts should focus on. Paul says it will either be on our sinful nature or the spirit, the nature o God, and our inner being. As money is not evil in itself, our love for it and how we spend it can be. It is our desire to satisfy the flesh or God that determines what is evil or good.
13 When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14 but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. 15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.
Be aware of your intentions and beware of the evil one as he is the one who tempts our evil desires to carry out his will to kill, steal and destroy any and all relationships. Mainly the one with Christ.
Staying 💪’n Christ