BY PASTOR T.O. BANSO
In Matt 4:1-11, satan tempted Jesus three times, and three times he failed. There are many things one can learn from this incident but the one I want to focus on is the character of Jesus in refusing to abuse his gift or power.
The first two temptations by satan focused on the use of the power that Jesus had. He asked Jesus to prove that he was the Son of God by commanding stones to become bread. Jesus had the power to do that more so he was hungry but he didn’t do it. He said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God’” (Matt. 4:4, NKJV).
In the second temptation, satan wanted Jesus to prove that he was the Son of God by throwing himself down from the pinnacle of the temple but Jesus didn’t agree to such use of power. He said again, “It is written again, ‘You shall not tempt the LORD your God’” (Verse 7). Even the third temptation bothered on selfishness and Jesus refused to swallow satan’s bait. He wasn’t on earth on any ego trip to possess all the kingdoms of the world and their glory using satan’s strategy but to do the will of God.
There is a lesson for children of God not to abuse their gifts or power. That you have power (spiritual or natural) to do something or you have a certain gift (spiritual or natural) doesn’t mean you must use it. Jesus could cause stone to become bread, and he could jump from the top of the temple without being hurt but of what use would these miracles be? What would be the motive of such miracles? – To prove a point or to impress who?
Jesus didn’t need to prove any point like satan wanted him to do. He didn’t need to prove to anyone that he was the Son of God. You must not use the gift and the power that God has given you to prove any point. God’s gift or power given to humans is not to impress anyone. It is not for personal aggrandizement or benefit.
Jesus refused to use his power gift recklessly for personal benefit. Every anointed person is sent to be a blessing to others. “And he gave some (to be) apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, unto the work of ministering, unto the building up of the body of Christ” (Eph 4:11-12, ASV).
Each time Jesus used his power gift for miracles, he was always moved by compassion to help people not to draw attention to himself. For example, the feeding of Five thousand people and Four thousand people (Matt 14:14-21, 15:32-38). He did both miracles out of compassion. But when they needed to eat, his disciples had to go and buy food for them to eat – he didn’t use that power gift to provide food miraculously for himself and the disciples (John 4:8).
Samson’s misuse of gift
I’ll like to compare how Jesus handled his gift or power to how Samson used his. Samson used the power God had given him for his personal advantage. Because he knew God had given him this special power not available to others, he kept on getting himself in trouble and using this power on each occasion to bail himself out. This could not have been the purpose for which God endowed him with such power.
In Judges14, one cannot but ask: what was the purpose of the riddle that Samson gave at the house of his in-law? It was obvious he never imagined that the thirty companions brought by his in-laws to be with him would be able to solve the riddle. So if they couldn’t solve the riddle within the seven days of the feast, what would have been the benefit of the thirty linen garments and thirty changes of clothing he expected them to give him? Except he was provoked by greed, of what use would these clothes be to him? What did he want to use them for? Of what relevance was that to the assignment God had given him? What was the need for that riddle? The Philistines saw it as a device to rob them – they told his fiancée that it was robbery; a ploy by Samson to impoverish them. “On the fourth day they said to Samson’s wife, ‘Get the answer to the riddle from your husband, or we will burn down your father’s house with you in it. Did you invite us to this party just to make us poor?’ (Judg. 14:15, NLT).
But see how Samson relied on his God-given power for personal benefit to get himself out of the situation his needless riddle brought him when through his fiancée, the solution of the riddle was found out: “So the men of the city said to him on the seventh day before the sun went down: ‘What is sweeter than honey?And what is stronger than a lion?’ And he said to them: ‘If you had not plowed with my heifer, you would not have solved my riddle!’ Then the Spirit of the LORD came upon him mightily, and he went down to Ashkelon and killed thirty of their men, took their apparel, and gave the changes of clothing to those who had explained the riddle. So his anger was aroused, and he went back up to his father’s house” (Judges 14:18-19, NKJV).
You will see the same abuse of divine power in Judges 16:1-3. God never sent him to go in to a harlot but when he was in trouble, it was the power of God that he abused to get out of the trouble. While the Gazites were lying in wait to kill him, he pulled up the doors of the gate of the city and the two gateposts by midnight, and carried them on his shoulders to the top of the hill and escaped (Judges 16:1-3).
Samson must have been deluded by the unprecedented power of God in his life to think that he could always get out of any situation no matter the type of life he lived. Though it kept working for him, a day came that on the lap of Delilah that power failed him because he had also failed God over time. Judg 16:20 says, “… So he awoke from his sleep, and said, ‘I will go out as before, at other times, and shake myself free!’ But he did not know that the LORD had departed from him” (NKJV). Did you see that faulty mind set again? Samson was always abusing the gift of God in his life for personal advantage even when his life was in direct violation of the Word of God that endowed him with this enormous power.
You must avoid misuse or abuse of the gift that God has given you especially spiritual gifts. “God has given each of you special abilities, be sure to use them to help each other, passing to others God’s many kinds of blessings” (1 Peter 4:10, TLB).
If you’ve not yet given your life to Jesus and you’ll like to do so, you need to take the following steps:*Admit you’re a sinner and you can’t save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start to attend a Bible-believing, Bible-teaching church. There, you will be taught how to grow in the Lord and how to discover and fulfill God’s purpose for your life.
Kindly say this prayer now: “0 Lord God, I come unto you today. I know I’m a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour and surrender my life to him today. I invite Jesus into my heart today. By this prayer, I know I’m saved. Thank you Jesus for saving me and making me a child of God.”
I congratulate you if you’ve said that prayer sincerely. You are now a child of God. May the Lord make you a Cedar Christian. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you.
T.O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
Phone No: +2348155744752, +2348033113523