One of the game shows I grew up watching was “Let’s Make A Deal”. It’s a fun environment where the audience dresses up in ridiculous outfits hoping to be chosen by the host to come on stage. They can choose to trade what they have for what’s behind Door #1, Door #2, or Door #3. Sometimes, they would win a fabulous prize, but often they would get a Zonk (a worthless prize). There are a lot of times in life when we make bad trades. We sometimes trade moments of pleasure for a lifetime of regret. We sometimes trade happiness for a better paying job. Life is full of trades.
When Jesus was fasting in the wilderness, just before He began His ministry, Satan met Him and offered three trades. The first trade was to trade spiritual strength for a full belly. We know He was hungry and it must have been tempting to turn those stones into bread, but Jesus knew it wasn’t a good trade. Too often we are tempted to give up our spiritual significance for an insignificant morsel. In Luke 4:4, Jesus said, “It takes more than bread to really live” (MSG).
In the second temptation, Satan offered Jesus the kingdoms of the world if He would bow to him. The trade here was to displace God from the throne of His life and put Himself there. Satan still tries that with each of us. Our flesh wants to play “King of the Hill” with God for who’s in control. Like Jesus, we need to understand it’s a bad trade. Jesus reminded him and us that the way to a successful life is to worship the Lord with absolute single-heartedness. We can’t give in to the temptation to trade places with God on the throne of our life.
The third temptation of Jesus was to jump off the Temple and let the angels catch Him. Satan was asking Him to doubt God’s protection by testing it. Jesus knew God would send the angels if he fell, but to jump would appear to be an act of faith, but would really be an act of disbelief. That’s why Jesus quoted the commandment, “Don’t you dare tempt the Lord your God.” Our enemy often masks what you’re really trading to make us think we are doing something spiritual when really, we’re doing the opposite.
The best way to make sure you don’t trade for a Zonk, is to know God’s Word. It’s what Jesus used to look at each trade that was offered. Every one of us are tempted daily to make trades. We need to take a closer look at what we are being offered and what we are being asked to give up. Leading a Spirit led life, immersed in the Bible, will help you to make fewer bad trades. Whatever you’re being tempted with today, I hope that you will take a moment to look at it in the light of God’s Word and ask God to help you make the best choice.