The View from the Top

Leaping off the temple would have been quite a sight—the kind people seem to be compulsively attracted to. It would have gained everyone’s attention, word would have spread and Jesus would have gone viral in Jerusalem. But even for the undiscerning, there is a chasm of difference between Christ being displayed to Israel through the noble means of yielding to God at baptism, versus the flagrant sensationalism of something so reckless and void of purpose as jumping from the temple. One showed a God-honoring dependence and the other a sinful, self-promoting autonomy. One was being used by God and the other was using Him.

It's never dependence upon God when we put ourselves at the center of things.

Dependence is David refusing, not once, but twice, to take matters into his own hands and take the life of King Saul—even though the king was desperately seeking to murder him.

It is Ruth pledging to follow Naomi’s God unconditionally.

It is Paul learning to delight in his thorn in the flesh.

It is Moses telling God he didn’t want to go to the promised land if God didn’t go with them.

It is us asking God each day to provide for us.

The view from the top is as seductive as it is spectacular. Whether it’s the pinnacle of the temple, our career, our health or our family—it can whisper tempting things to us that we’d like to believe but aren’t true: that life will always be this way, that trusting God will always be easy and that it’s God’s will that everything remain as it is. Our current wilderness has taught us better. Wanting to leave it is a fine thing we all desire. But learning to live with a growing dependence upon God no matter where we are is true joy. 

I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through Him who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:12-13)

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