True confession: I could not watch the motion picture "Back to the Future" without asking myself, "Is this movie about me?" Marty McFly, the protagonist, had a clear mission, which was to save his existence. Despite coaching by Doc Brown, he jeopardized the mission repeatedly when challenged to prove he was not a coward. Many- if not all- of us, have had issues with our identity that hindered us from accomplishing our mission in life.
Our perfect example is found in the life of Jesus of Nazareth. The devil tempted him to turn stones into bread after he had gone without food forty days. Jesus' answer was that there was something more important determining his life, which was the Word of God, quoting Deuteronomy. The devil tempted him to take a 'leap of faith,' and prove himself the Son of God, by jumping from the top of the Temple. Jesus answer was both short and biblical: "It is written, do not tempt God. The devil tempted Jesus to take a shortcut to becoming ruler of all the Earth by the simple act of bowing to Satan. Jesus answered the third time from the same book, Deuteronomy, even though there were at least thirty-eight other books he could have referenced, "Worship God, and serve Him only."(from Matthew 4:1-19)
Jesus was able to resist temptation, because He knew who He was. He had not preached , taught, nor done any miracles. But, the Father already assured Jesus of his identity as the beloved and well-pleasing Son of God.
There are several lessons here. First, do not be surprised if the devil tempts you at your weakest point. Temptation would not be temptation if it were not tempting. Forewarned is forearmed. Second, the Bible is our Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth. It will not work for you if it is merely kept on the coffee table. Read it, study it, pray for understanding. Apply it to your life. There is a huge difference between faith and presumption. With the latter, you are in-effect praying, "My will be done." It is written, "The earth is the Lord's, and the fullness thereof."
It is possible to get into self-worship. The original version of this piece had much to do with my personal opinions. After reviewing it with my wife, I realized it was more condemning of people who disagreed with me than edifying of people who needed encouragement. God's general mission for each of us is that we be helpers of one another. For a specific mission, be like Saul of Tarsus, who asked, "Lord, what would you have me to do?"
Homer McQueen serves as assistant pastor of Mt. Carmel Church of God in Christ, secretary at In His Shadow Outreach Ministries, chaplain for the Sherman District Parole Office, ministry volunteer for the Texas Youth Commission and Texas Department of Criminal Justice, a part-time pharmacist, and a full-time husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather. The views and opinions expressed here are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of the Herald Democrat.