Lust, Ego, Greed… Beware of False Gods

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“Next, taking him to a very high mountain, the devil showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. ‘I will give you all these,’ he said, ‘if you fall at my feet an worship me.’ Then Jesus replied, ‘Be off, Satan! For Scripture says: ‘You must worship the Lord your God, and serve him alone.’” – Matthew 4:8-10

The following is the third installment in contributing writer, Dan Doyle’s, series about temptation. You can also read Part I and Part II now.

The Temptation in the Desert: Part III

How many times have we been tempted to worship other ‘gods’ than God? What other ‘gods’? The answers are not simple, but when we finally see how familiar they are to us and how dominant these other gods can be in our lives, we also realize how much we need to turn back toward God once again.

Some of us are driven by the god of the belly. When we find ourselves caught up in the addictions of food or drink, we begin to give all of our time and our treasure to that insatiable god. Some of us make a god of sex and sensuality. Look at our culture’s obsession with these things and how much attention and money is paid in the worship of these gods. Indeed, some of us give all of our selves over to the illusions of money and its supposed ability to bring us happiness.

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Many make their own ego into a god. This god is a devilish god indeed. It demands that the whole world bow to it. If obeisance is not paid to it, its rage can be horrible in its selfish, destructive response toward those who do not bend to it. This god has three names: me, my self and I. It pretends to be the new Trinity. And this god is the cause of all the suffering between us in this world.

Jesus gives us the way to confront these tempters in this passage. Face them. Reject those false gods who pretend to offer you happiness. Begin the process to turn toward God again. For the God of Creation, who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit is the only source of true happiness. He is the Alpha and the Omega of all that is good, and true, and beautiful. Worship only Him, serve only Him, and you will know the beatitude that can only come from Him. The great mystery here is that when you do this you will finally be free.

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Dan Doyle is a husband, father, grandfather, Vietnam veteran, and retired professor of Humanities at Seattle University. He taught 13 years at the high school level and 22 years at the university level. He spends his time now babysitting his granddaughter. He is a poet and a blogger as well. Dan holds an AA degree in English Literature, a BA in Comparative Literature, and an MA in Theology, and writes regularly for The Veterans Site blog.