The difference is remarkable, really. The difference between stepping into your place and overstepping your place is in a place that I’m not sure most of us would look to find it. We assume certain privileges based on our position, sometimes accurately so, and in those assumptions we ignore the responsibility that comes with the privilege.
Last week, I looked at the third temptation. The trap is set for us to believe that we can do this by ourselves. The bait is the lie that we don’t need anybody else and we certainly don’t need God. In our culture, it can be pulled off to some degree but not without a price. The price comes in all forms as pursuit of a kingdom built of our own effort costs relationships, peace, health and other valuable assets for the accumulation of different things of different value.
The difference between accepting adoption by God as Father and choosing instead to do it on our own is in our willingness to endure suffering. We step out of the house of God and off of the course towards our intended destiny when we take control to avoid discomfort. We want what we want when we want it and we won’t compromise even for the short-term to get what we think we deserve. That puts us in the driver’s seat. That makes us our own little gods. We want the glory, but we won’t pay the price.
“The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.” Romans 8:16-17.
“Provided we suffer with him . . . ” is probably the most overlooked phrase in teaching today. Part of the problem is we have become so attractional for the sake of maintaining the institution that we don’t want to run anybody off. Suffering isn’t an attractional message. Suffering isn’t desirable in a culture of comfort.
When we want the benefits of God (the glory, according to Romans 8:17), but without any sharing in the suffering, the result is that we fall for the third temptation. We accept the invitation to bow to the prince of this world to accept the enemy’s invitation in Luke 3:6, “To you I will give all this authority and their glory, for it has been delivered to me, and I give it to whom I will.”
The glory of God which He desires for us to experience comes at the cost of us. Our character is simply not developed to carry His glory without the shaping and development which results from discomfort. A lack of discipline produces a spoiled child who will not be prepared to carry on the responsibility of the family business. Avoiding the process leaves us ill-equipped to share in the Kingdom.