In some ways this is one of the hardest chapters to summarise because it ranges over several topics, yet I also found it one of the most challenging yet. The chapter is structured around the 3 temptations of Jesus after his baptism, and explores the idea of Affirming the Will of God.
I found the reminder of our Lord’s example when Satan tempted Him to feed Himself most helpful:
“Jesus knew that he could use his power to provide food. He would do that later on two occasions and feed five thousand and then four thousand hungry people. But he refused to use this ability for his own gratification, listening to Satan and missing God’s call. We too are called to a cross. Like Jesus, we also give up our rights for a greater ultimate good (Phil. 2:5-11). How many lose their spiritual credibility and authority by using the ministry and its privileges for temporary personal gain!” (p75)
As ever, Fernando provides some very helpful practical examples to bring all his teaching home and the chapter as a whole is a powerful call to Godly living and personal holiness – themes I repeatedly need to be reminded of in this world we live in.
There is a very helpful (and again challenging) discussion of our ‘uncrucified desires.’ But as ever, Fernando avoids the easy trap of legalism in his discussion, for which he is to be commended.
Here’s a big aspirational quote to end:
“When we habve a biblical vision of God, we will measure success not by earthly standards but by the extent to which we conformed to the principles and the will of God. This standard will deter us from trying to achieve ambitions with the wrong methods, but it will not discourage godly ambition. When we see that God is glorious, we are fired by an ambition to do great things that reflect his glory. So we too will dream big. But in achieving those ambitions, we will not do things that will diminish his glory. The vision of glory will give us the courage to pay the price on the path to victory. This price is the way of the cross, which Christ embraced at his tempation by refusing the crown Satan offered him.” (p87)