Bible Reading: Luke 4:5-8
Jesus replied, “The Scriptures say, ‘You must worship the Lord your God; serve only him.’” Luke 4:8
BOOK REPORTS ARE no fun, usually. After all, you have to read a book that’s a bazillion pages long about somebody who lived a long time ago and said things like, “I wot not what wot I thought I wot.” And the whole time you’re reading, you’re saying, “Huh?”
If you haven’t already, someday you’ll have to read a book like David Copperfield. Now, that wouldn’t be so bad if it was about that magician guy who made the Statue of Liberty disappear (don’t worry, he put it back). But it’s not about that David Copperfield. It’s about some kid in England and was written by Charles Dickens, the same writer who created such characters as Scrooge, Tiny Tim, and Oliver Twist.
But wait! Several David Copperfield movies have been made. You could just rent one of those movies, watch it, then do your book report. That way you wouldn’t have to read the long, boring book, right?
Wrong. That may sound like a good idea, but the problem is that if you do a book report on a movie, you’re lying (you’re even putting your lie on paper!), and lying is a sin. And movies based on books always skip a lot of stuff; you’d miss some important things (things that might end up on a test later).
It would be tempting, wouldn’t it? But that’s just the point. A lot of times temptation to do wrong comes in the form of a “shortcut.” You know, Do it this way; it’ll be easier, or it’ll be quicker, or it’ll be cheaper.
That’s what the devil tried with Jesus in the wilderness of Judea (Matthew 4:6-8). He offered instant glory and power to Jesus if only Jesus would worship him. But Jesus didn’t fall for it. He knew that all glory and power would be given to him after his death and crucifixion. He resisted the temptation to take a shortcut.
In the same way, you will often face the temptation to take a shortcut. You may be tempted to cheat on a test (instead of studying) in order to pass a class. You may be tempted to swipe a few dollars from your mom’s purse (instead of saving your allowance) in order to get a new CD.
The devil may whisper, “Come on, it’ll be easier” or “It’ll be quicker” or “It’ll be cheaper.” But don’t be fooled. Don’t take a shortcut if it means making a wrong choice. Because when you do, you’re the one who ends up on the short end of the stick.
REFLECT: Are you ever tempted to do wrong because it seems easier, quicker, or cheaper? Jesus said, “The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose the easy way. But the gateway to life is small, and the road is narrow, and only a few ever find it” (Matthew 7:13-14). In other words, most people choose the easy way—the “shortcut”—but those shortcuts lead to hell. Be alert this week (and always) for temptations to take shortcuts.
PRAY: “God, help me to resist temptation, even when it comes in the form of a shortcut.”