The devil led Jesus up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And he said to him, “I will give you all their authority and splendor; it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. If you worship me, it will all be yours.” Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.’”
Serve Him Only
Babies may look innocent, but parents can tell you that being naughty comes naturally to them. You don’t have to teach a child to do the wrong thing. That comes very easily. On the other hand, teaching a child to do the right thing can be a struggle.
In fact, everyone starts out with an inclination to serve themselves, and that makes the devil very happy. If his temptations include something that seems good to us, we fall into them very easily.
When God brings us to faith in Jesus as our Savior, we are set free from having to serve ourselves and to please the devil. The devil can offer us what he likes—authority, splendor, power—and we can answer, “No, I have Jesus, and that is enough.”
In gratitude to God for saving us through the work of Jesus, we ask ourselves, “What can I do to thank him?” The Lord our God answers, “Worship and serve me only.” That service is a delight, because we are thankful to Jesus for defeating the devil. Jesus has set us free from having to follow every evil whim and emotion encouraged by our ancient enemy. Instead, we serve him freely with joy.
Prayer: (Christian Worship: A Lutheran Hymnal – 470:1)
Praise to you and adoration, blessed Jesus, Son of God,
Who, to serve your own creation, came to share our flesh and blood.
Guide me that I never may from your fold or pastures stray,
But with zeal and joy exceeding follow where your steps are leading. Amen.