The world and the ruler of this world want you to believe this lie. Convenience — the worldly pursuit of ease — has become the Enemy’s battle cry (or, better yet, whisper) in the war for our modern souls. Satan’s strategy has morphed from direct opposition to subtle enticement.
In most American churches, the battle is being fought with wireless routers, HDMI cables, standing desks, and lumbar supports rather than the lashes, stones, rods, and chains of old (2 Corinthians [11:23]–25). Today, most of us in the West calculate our significance by our Facebook friend count, newest technology, iPhone notifications, and 401k. The Enemy has recruited our own hearts to fight against us.
A Dangerous Security Blanket
Perhaps our biggest problem stares back at us every time we look into the dark mirrors of our handheld devices. But our contemporary problem has never been convenience — just as the problem in Eden was never the fruit. From Sinai’s stone tablets to today’s tablet computers, convenience has been vital to human advancement and even the spread of God’s kingdom. Even now, I sit conveniently in front of a computer — the modern convenience of our time — while you are scrolling through these digital words conveniently on a digital screen.
The problem, then, lies not with convenience, but with what our hearts make of it. The dark appeal of temptation is to twist good things into idols. Convenience steps in front of God and steals his worship. The world’s empty promises silently hijack our affections. We let cheap knockoffs of fulfillment obscure the true beauty of our nail-torn Savior.
When our hearts fall for the idol of convenience, the call of Jesus to follow him in shouldering a cross feels foreign. The one who saves us quietly mutates into a threat to our counterfeit sanctuaries of advantage. When our security is the warm comfort of secular convenience, we will keep hitting the snooze button on Jesus’s alarming command to take up our cross.
Christ and the Convenient Kingdom
Jesus, however, shows us how to confront this danger. Worn down over forty days with hunger, thirst, and isolation, Jesus meets the Enemy in the barren wilderness. Twisting the good things of God into opportunities for disobedience, Satan entices the exhausted Messiah with the idol of convenience:
If you are the son of God, ease your hunger by commanding these stones to become bread (Luke 4:3).
If you want a kingdom, let me give it to you. All you have to do is worship me and my world is yours (Luke 4:5–7).
If you are the Son of God, prove it. Now. On your own terms. The coming kingdom will arrive much easier than what your Father has planned. Why go through the hardships that stand before you? Just throw yourself from the top of the temple and let the world watch your Father protect you (Luke 4:9–11).
New page, same playbook. But Jesus did not give in to the lie of convenience. Instead, he clung to God’s promise to install a better kingdom. Jesus was there to do his Father’s will (Luke 4:4, 8, 12), not Satan’s (Luke 4:1–13), and not even his own (Matthew [26:36]–46). He came “to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark [10:45]), and nothing — not even the convenience of earthly provision, fame, or an undeniable, self-determined supernatural ministry — could keep the Son from his mission.