“Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.” ~1 John 2:6

Have you ever cut through a parking lot in an effort to avoid a red light or a traffic jam, to reach your destination a little more quickly, only to find yourself at a dead end or farther away from your objective than you were when you began? It used to happen to me a lot. It still does occasionally. Carrie-Anne just smiles patiently in the seat next to me as I wind my way through a strip center parking lot looking for a way out.

The desert temptations of Jesus show us a picture of the devil, our Adversary, and his method for pushing us to take spiritual shortcuts. Satan is forever attempting to subvert our walk with God by offering us a shorter path, a quicker route. And they always turn into dead ends.

In response to those temptations — Satan uses our culture to lure us down the wrong path every hour of every day — we must rely on our Father and walk the difficult road with him. Anything we do independently of God and his way expresses a lack of connection, a lack of faith.

Jesus never rationalizes his way out of God’s will. He could very easily have thought that God did not want his Son to starve or suffer rejection or die, so why not turn those stones to warm, fluffy loaves of bread? Why not eschew the cross for a more politically relevant and efficient way to win the throne? Why not? The Kingdom was going to belong to him anyway, so what did it matter how it came into his hands? But our Lord never entertained an end-justifies-the-means viewpoint.

Our charge is to follow him, to follow his way, in making sure the shortcuts that inevitably present themselves to us do not in fact reflect a lack of faith. Or any rationalization to avoid Gods’ holy will and very, very different way.