In a beautiful comparison Stanley uses a story many of us have heard from Matthew chapter 4, Jesus' temptation. As an aside, I love the way Stanley often tells his congregation that he knows they will be tempted to gloss over the story saying, "Yeah, yeah, I've heard this before." But, he reminds them to listen
and they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’”
Jesus will ultimately come to rule as King. The devil is offering Jesus a shortcut. No cross, no suffering, no pain and you still get what you want. But, taking short cuts and compromises are like bowing down to Satan. Stanley says that he has written under this verse, (paraphrase) Nothing we gain from broken fellowship with the Father is worth it.
We need to shift our thoughts away from, "I know I shouldn't . . ." to "It has been written . . .". This method was good enough for Jesus and should be good enough for us.
But memorizing verses can be difficult, right? When I was teaching the Economics of Compassion course we covered a large amount of material. Some of my students asked me, "How can we remember all of this?" I told them, "We tend to remember the things that we think about." This wasn't meant to be rude, but, rather a statement of how we learn.
After hearing five sermons in the series (1 more to go) much of our transformation depends on awareness and abiding. We need to be aware of the lies that we believe. But, what is a lie? A deviation from the truth. What truth? The truth about God, ourselves, and others. How do we learn to spot a lie? By abiding in Christ and God's word. The two things that make for excellent character are abiding and awareness. What is more they have a reciprocal relationship! There is no substitute for abiding in Christ and paying attention.