MATTHEW 4:8-11 NKJV Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. 9 And he said to Him, “All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.” 10 Then Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’ ” 11 Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels came and ministered to Him.
Now what is the devil up to? He has not found anything thus far in Jesus that he could use to destroy Him, but the devil doesn’t quit until you convince him he is wasting time with you. He still had one more weakness that he felt confident Jesus would fall prey to, the very one that he himself fell into, self-importance. When he took Jesus up into this high mountain and showed Him the domain He could have, he was tempting Jesus with the highest position attainable; all the kingdoms of the world. There is something in the nature of fallen man that makes him think he has a right to the highest position, it is this attitude of self-importance. Jesus addressed the pride of the scribes and Pharisees when teaching his disciples.
MATTHEW 23:1-6 KJV Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples, 2 Saying The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat: 3 All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not. 4 For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers. 5 But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments, 6 And love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the CHIEF SEATS in the synagogues,
Satan’s downfall was a result of thinking he should have the highest position of authority in the universe. He was overcome with his own created beauty and greatness and became dissatisfied with the position God had given him.
ISAIAH 14:12-15 NKJV “How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, You who weakened the nations! 13 For you have said in your heart: ‘I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation On the farthest sides of the north; 14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.’ 15 Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol, To the lowest depths of the Pit.
Satan wanted the “chief seat” like the Pharisees. He felt he was more important than God who created him, and that he could do God’s job as good if not better than God. This attitude of self-importance in Christians is the cause of much strife and contention in the churches of God. Especially when young believers with the call of God upon their life begin to experience the anointing and gifts of God. As a pastor I have witnessed this attitude arise in people God had given me to train for ministry. Some who realized their own giftedness decided that they could now run the church better than myself and rebelled against my leadership. This of course always results in conflict and unrest in the church when an insurrection results from the leaven spread by those proud individuals. When this happens we know that Satan has whispered to them that they are not being recognized for their real worth and he makes them dissatisfied with the place of ministry they have been given at that time. Satan was hoping for the same results with Jesus when he suggested that Jesus should become ruler of all the kingdoms of the World. He was disappointed when his hook of temptation could find nothing to snag. Jesus was not grasping for recognition and power but was content with the role His heavenly Father had given Him, as is indicated in His reply. Then Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’ ”
Let’s examine Jesus ́ reply because it contains a revelation of the answer to this problem of self-importance. When Jesus said “…and Him only you shall serve”. He let the devil know that there was humility and not pride in His heart. Jesus had the attitude of a servant, praise the Lord. When the devil went fishing in Jesus’ life for pride, he found a humble spirit instead. We will all be tempted with this feeling of self-importance, let’s identify it for what it really is, a devilish pride in self. When we get saved, God must begin the process of teaching us humility and creating in us a servant’s heart, if we are ever to overcome the temptation to be lords over our brothers and sisters. This was a much needed lesson in the lives of the disciples.
MATTHEW 20:20-28 NKJV Then the mother of Zebedee’s sons came to Him with her sons, kneeling down and asking something from Him. 21 And He said to her, “What do you wish?” She said to Him, “Grant that these two sons of mine may sit, one on Your right hand and the other on the left, in Your kingdom.” 22 But Jesus answered and said, “You do not know what you ask. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?” They said to Him, “We are able.” 23 So He said to them, “You will indeed drink My cup, [b]and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with; but to sit on My right hand and on My left is not Mine to give, but it is for those for whom it is prepared by My Father.” 24 And when the ten heard it, they were greatly displeased with the two brothers. 25 But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. 26 Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. 27 And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave— 28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”
We are told that the mother of these two disciples thought that Jesus should give them the position of ruling over the others because obviously she felt they were the most qualified. This story shows us how children can be infected with devilish pride by their parents who think their children are the most gifted and should always have the most important roles in the church plays, etc. Need I say more? Parents should teach their children the spirit of humility and how to be the servant of other children. In that way they won’t grow up wondering why everyone just doesn’t “move over” when they enter the room. Jesus gently instructed these two disciples that this was the world mentality, that of grasping for the highest position, and lording over others. But that the highest position in the kingdom of God was to be the “servant of others”. He told them they should be seeking opportunities to serve others not to be served themselves. Jesus could not be overcome by this temptation of self-importance because He had a servant heart and would be content to be promoted to a place of great authority whenever it pleased his Father and not before.
PHILIPPIANS 2:5-11 NKJV Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. 9 Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
We should pray for a servant’s heart and be content to have that reputation only. When the great Apostle Paul wrote to the New Testament Churches he often greeted them with a reminder that he wanted to be known among them as “a servant of God”.
TITUS 1:1 NKJV Paul, a bondservant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God’s elect and the acknowledgment of the truth which accords with godliness,
PHILIPPIANS 1:1 NKJV Paul and Timothy, bondservants of Jesus Christ, To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, with the bishops and deacons:
From God’s point of view, not even being an Apostle is greater than being a SERVANT of God. Even though the Apostle is the highest in authority among the ministry gifts, (EPHESIANS 4:1-16) being the “servant of all” will determine the extent one will function in any of the gift offices. So, in essence, Jesus could not be overcome by this third temptation of Satan because He knew what the highest position was in God’s kingdom and that as a SERVANT he already had it. “Him only shalt thou SERVE”.
We should also point out the connection between “worship” and being a “servant” in vs. 10. It is apparent that the “true worshippers” that the Father is seeking (JOHN 4:23) are those who have a servant’s heart. Otherwise we are probably worshipping a position, ministry, title, and self. When we become a servant of God, self is dethroned and Christ is exalted to live in and through us. John said “I must decrease and He must increase” (JOHN 3:30).
In Bible times, the position of servant was the lowest position one could have. It was the servant’s job to wash the feet of visiting guests, and to do the most menial tasks. This position fell to the poorest and most unfortunate individual not as a choice, but due to circumstances. However, Jesus gives us the example of servanthood by choice when at the Last Supper He took off His robe and girded Himself with a towel to wash the disciples’ feet. Due to the culture they lived in this was the greatest lesson in humility Jesus could give them. Peter was shocked that one who walked in the power and authority that Jesus did, would still be willing to do the most ignoble task of service. No doubt from here on, they could do no less. Peter later in writing to the church at Rome drew on that self-crucifying experience in the upper room the night before Jesus’ death, to teach the Christians about being a servant.
1 PETER 5:5 NKJV Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.”
The word “clothed” in this verse means “to gird oneself as with a servant’s towel”, and is the same word used in JOHN 13:4 KJV where “He riseth from supper, and laid aside His garments; and took a towel, and GIRDED Himself”, I believe what Peter was saying is that when we gird (wrap) ourselves with the servant’s towel than we are “clothed with humility”. Each of us must be prepared (girded with a towel) to serve each other at all times no matter what that service may require us to do. I am sure that God will arrange situations where we will be required to do things we were formerly unwilling to do just to see if we will take off the servant’s towel and hand it to another. The true nature of a servant is “to make sure OTHERS have what THEY need”.
That was the attitude of Jesus when He went to Calvary after accepting the tremendous cost in the garden of Gethsemane. He was a servant in the truest sense because He made sure WE had what we needed (forgiveness, healing, and prosperity) at the greatest expense.
This then is the defense against Satan when he comes to tempt us with position, authority, and greatness. If we let the mind of Christ be in us when Satan comes in the evil day to ensnare us, he will go away disappointed and we will “return in the power of the Spirit” to continue an anointed life of service.