The biblical reality is that Jesus rejected the subtly counterfeit offer tendered by Satan of all of the kingdoms, wealth, and glory of the world, in the temptation in the wilderness, because these things already belonged to Jesus (Mt. 4:8-10).
Jesus is the singularly unique Person of “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The prince of Peace”…of Isaiah 9:6-7, even though He is found in the humble status of being a carpenter from Nazareth without any worldly-recognized, lofty pedigree to His credit.
The life-script composed by the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit for Jesus to be the Passover Lamb of God sacrifice for the sins of the world …is so far above the inflated and over-valued offer of Satan to try to tempt Jesus with the temporary allure of the power and glory of this world…that if this offer was not presented with the intention of such universal collateral damage to the human race in mind, fueled by the most deadly malice…it would be almost laughable.
“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you” (Mt. 6:33), does not say “and all these things shall be withheld from you.”
Paul says in Philippians 4:11 “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.”
Peter expresses this well in the closing to his first epistle: “But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, establish, strengthen, settle you” (1 Pet. 5:10).
An instructive observation about the narrative stories of faith recorded in the Bible is that every single one…without exception…has nothing to do with achieving success in a purely worldly sense.
There is not a single storyline in a God-composed life-script in the Bible that chronicles a pathway, no matter how admirable and commendable in keeping with the “Protestant work ethic,” to worldly success, wealth, personal renown, and comfortable security (Lk. 12:16-21).
On the contrary, every biblical narrative story of faith is located at the elevated level of an adventure of faith far above the conventionally normative plans and aims of everyday life.
It is not that God dismisses these aspirations and responsibilities as unimportant…”your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things” (Lk. 12:30).
It is simply that in a totally committed adventure of faith God has all of the practical necessities of life factored into the equation that will produce a divinely elevated outcome (Phil. 4:13).
This applies equally to Christian medical missionary doctors in the Amazon rainforest, Christian CEO’s of Fortune 500 companies, highly paid professional athletes, and to the elementary school janitor with a wife and two kids struggling to make ends meet.
Jesus did not die on the cross to give us lives of horizontally conventional normalcy (Rom. 6:3-4). The biblical narrative stories of faith are anything but conventionally normal. Jesus died on the cross, and rose the third day, to procure for us an adventure of faith. Jesus died for us that we might live a life divinely guided by purpose, meaning, and love for God and for one another (Jn. 10:10).
That every single biblical narrative story of faith soars far above worldly conventional normalcy is a key to placing the highest value upon journeys of faith that Jesus purchased with His own blood on the cross of Calvary to actualize for each one of us.
As blood-bought and Spirit-born Christians today we should not allow any of the cultural challenges of radically skeptical unbelief to undercut or diminish in any way this priceless heritage of our journey of faith following Jesus Christ.
The narrative stories of faith in the Bible are masterpieces of incalculable value.
Above the creativity of a Rembrandt, DiVinci, or Renoir…they are living portraits of real people engaged in the most challenging and beneficial pursuits conceived out of the very heart and mind of God.
Above the artistry of a Beethoven, Chopin, or Brahms…biblical journeys of faith combine events and circumstances into perfect harmony, pace, and rhythm to produce compositions of rare beauty and lasting interest.
The lives of the people of faith in the Bible touch us at our deepest longings for truth, virtue, and the sure peace of inner conviction, in a world where the true directional compass for the guidance of our spirit and soul is hard to find amongst a multitude of competing voices and alternative pathways to follow.
The narrative stories of faith in the Bible tell us that there can be real meaning, purpose, direction, and risk-filled adventure to our lives. They tell us that there is a living God who wants to take an active role in the events and circumstances of our lives to help us find out who and what we were created to be.
These biblical stories describe a God of brilliantly creative imagination combined with an insightfully piercing grasp of moral and ethical standards at the peak of truthfulness, yet with the enduring patience and forbearance of a wise and loving parent (Mt. 6:9-13).
God wants to partner with us to help us find our true selves and to perfect our unique place in eternity, through what this book calls the Christian danger zone of faith.