Training for Reigning - 45 - What if you were able

YOUNG PEOPLE, SEEKING to find a niche in an adult world (which, as a whole, is callously indifferent to their existence or their fate) usually do plenty of dreaming and wishing. And frequently their urges begin to find expression in such terms as, "Oh, if I only could . . .
But yearnings like these are not limited to young Christians. What myriads of sighs, prefaced by those, or similar words have ascended into the ears of a mercifully understanding Heavenly Father (Psa. 103:13-14) from older believers as well! Indeed, man as a limited creature, dwelling within the boundaries of his limitations, and without hope of escape, ceases not to search for more power of different types, albeit they may threaten his earthly existence. In a more ordinary sense David, in the tragic days of Absalom’s rebellion, finding himself without power to curb the defection either of men of low degree, or men of high degree, was compelled to cry out, "God hath spoken once; twice have I heard this; that power belongeth unto God"; Psa. 62:11. No doubt the king would have liked to have done important things in that crisis; but he wasn’t able.
IF ONLY WE HAD THE POWER what great things might we not attempt! And what escapes from responsibility, or boredom, or unpleasant tasks; from uncongenial people, or illness, or financial worries; from things as they are; from this impossible place to one wherü we could get a fresh start, etc.- what escapes, I say, would we not engineer!
Then, too, there is the felt need in Gospel efforts and testimony. We think of the power manifested in Apostles, and other chosen vessels, in the Church’s early days; and of some who in more recent times were used mightly of the Lord. But power belongeth unto God. We haven’t got it; few really know how to get it. Nor can I tell you the way to acquire it. But while reading, lately, about the Temptation in the wilderness of our blessed Lord Jesus (Matt. 3:1 6-4:11) I thought I caught a glimpse of some qualifying factors. Let me tell you about them.
In this passage the One Who "upholds all things by the word of His power" (Heb. 1:3) is seen on earth as "the Man, Christ Jesus," previously having "emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant, becoming in the likeness of men"; (Phil. 2:7: Vine). Baptized by John, and coming up out of the water, the Spirit of God descended upon Him. Years later the Holy Spirit, through Peter, described it in these words: "How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power"; Acts 10:38.
Here, then, we have the Perfect Servant receiving the anointing that will equip Him for His public ministry. Now stop a moment and ask yourself what you would have done had you received (in your measure) such power. Likely most of us would consider that we ought to use it right and left - for the Lord’s work, of course, but for. all sorts of things as well . . . which surely must be a major reason why God cannot entrust us with it.
Before the Lord Jesus made any use of His anointing with the Holy Ghost and with power, He was led (and driven: Mark 1:12) by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted
tempted with respect to His readiness to act under the Spirit’s guidance, and to use His power as and when He was directed, only. Hence, from a natural standpoint, His reactions to Satan’s proposals seem altogether different from what might have been expected. Notice that in each case HE REFUSED TO USE HIS
Vss. 3-4: to supply His own temporal needs;
Vss. 5-7: to gain the acceptance of Himself by others;
Vss. 8-10: for personal advantage - to take a "short-cut" to His objective.
Now if this doesn’t strike you as remarkable, compare it with the common attitude of those of us who bear His name. Are not these the very things that many of us pray earnestly about, EXERTING EVERY SCRAP OF HUMAN POWER THAT WE POSSESS in order to gain them? He had power to turn stones into bread; but as the Dependent One He would, although an-hungered, await His Father’s provision for, or direction concerning, His needs for food . . . But as for ourselves, do we not feel justified in using all our little power to get better jobs, with better pay, better working conditions, so that we may have better cars, better homes, or a better standard of living? . . . our strivings eloquent of an attitude that cries to heaven, "Oh, if we only had MORE power!" . . . contrast: Acts 20:34; Eph. 4:28.
There are numerous instances recorded when He used His power to supply the temporal needs of others. But for Himself, His dependence on whatever His Father should provide was never to vary. No wonder angels came and ministered unto Him; vs. 11.
The second temptation was of such a character that possibly few of us should have recognized it as such. About to begin His earthly ministry, and unknown to the people, a public demonstration of Psa. 91:11-12 would serve to proclaim Him at once to the Jews as the long-awaited Messiah, especially if done before the eyes of priests and people at the Temple. But He refused to use His power of claim to that promise. Indeed, He would seek no such acceptance of Himself, nor of His ministry - no vindication except that received from His Father; John 5:41; 1 Pet. 2:23 . . . "Wonderful Man of Calvary!"
In contrast, how many of us dream of being, someday, a "big shot." Moreover, should we hear of something uncomplimentary having been said about us, we hurry away to get it "put straight," or to make the offender "take it back," lest our prestige should suffer. It would almost seem that some of us might be willing to accept a temple-jump-test . . . if we felt sure it would work. (What great publicity!).
Last of all came the temptation to avoid the waiting-time for the fulness of time . . . to take a "short cut" to the fulfilment of His objectives . . . to by-pass the sufferings of the cross and attain to earth’s kingdoms by using His personal power of choice. But there could be no response in Him to such a proposal. The power of choice would remain where it belonged - in His Father’s hands, even unto Gethsemane; Matt. 26:53-54. He would await His Father’s time to give Him the kingdom . . .and He is waiting for it still!
-But how many of us are willing for God to make all the choices? Psa. 47:4.
-And how many of us there are who chafe because God seems so slow in giving us what we want.
-And how few there be who are willing to WAIT for the out- working of His plan for our lives; James 5:11.
-And what a lot of us spend much time trying to figure out short-cuts - methods of by-passing times of trial, and suffering, and waiting for God’s time to act to come.
But likely some young folks will not have thought of these things before. However, now that we see a little more of the path that He trod, let us pray for grace (Heb. 4:16) to take up the cross (death to self) and to seek to follow Him; Mark 8:34 . . . Shall we?