I am honored to lead the Resources Division at LifeWay and serve with a team of leaders who are passionate to serve the Church in her mission of making disciples. Each Wednesday, I share the heart behind one of the resources our team has developed and give an opportunity for you to register to win a free copy of the resource. This week’s post is from author Scott Patty, whose book, Words of Grace, launches March 1.
Scott Patty is the founding pastor of Grace Community Church of Nashville, Tennessee. He was raised in Nashville and came to faith in Christ as a high school student. He is a graduate of Belmont University and Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. As a pastor, Scott’s primary calling is to serve the congregation by casting a biblical vision for all of life through the preaching of God’s Word. Scott and his wife, Beth, have two married daughters.
While preparing to preach from Luke 4 a few years back, I tried to understand the nature of each temptation Jesus faced. What did each one mean? How does each one apply to us? It dawned on me that even though each temptation did mean something specific for Jesus and His mission, and each one does help us in our temptations, the one big lesson in the temptations of Jesus is that we are simply called to do the next right thing. Our priority should be to do what we know we are to do today, this moment, and not be distracted.
Jesus was led into the wilderness by the Holy Spirit to be tempted by the devil, so He fasted and prayed, and kept doing that until He was told by the Father to do otherwise. Jesus was not told to use His divine power to work miracles, to turn stones into bread, or to jump from buildings to prove he would not get hurt. That was the devil’s idea. As far as we know, He was simply to go into the wilderness until the Spirit led Him to leave the wilderness. That’s what God told Him to do. He couldn’t listen to the devil’s temptations and succumb to his distractions. He had to do the next right thing, the thing the Father told Him to do.
In Jesus, we see that obedience to God in the next thing is always the right way. It may not be easy, but neither is it complicated. There are many distractions, but the calling is clear. Do the next right thing.
Don’t complicate obedience to God. What’s the next right thing for you to do? Is it to love your spouse? To go to work? To pay a bill? To kill a thought? To break off a relationship? To read a book? To help a neighbor? To say, “I love you”? To apologize? Forgive? Volunteer? Give? Pray? Sleep? What is it that you know you need to do now?
Don’t get distracted. Keep doing the next right thing, today, for forty days, and for the rest of your life. You have no idea what the future holds, and you certainly can’t control it. So take today and, in obedience to God, being led by the Holy Spirit, do the next right thing.
Words of Grace: A 100-Day Devotional is a pastor’s encouragement, written with a congregation in mind, to build a life centered on God’s Word. Each day’s reading starts with Scripture, which is the written Word of God. The devotionals expand on the Scripture and are designed to shape your mind by a vision of God and stir your heart’s affection for Him.