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Andy Stanley: Some of Us Have Fallen for One of the Temptations Satan Offered Jesus

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Screenshot / @The Global Leadership Summit

Some American Christians have bought into one of the very temptations Satan presented to Jesus, said pastor and author Andy Stanley at the Global Leadership Summit Friday afternoon. Stanley shared that he deeply loves the United States, but is troubled by behaviors he has seen from certain believers and church leaders over the past few years. 

“The reason that I love my nation, but it’s not my ultimate allegiance,” said Stanley, “is that years ago, like many of you, I swore allegiance to a king…A king who came to establish an upside-down, others-first, go-to-the-back-of-the-line kingdom.”

This king, said Stanley, “consistently rejected the tools, slogans, posture, tone and approach of the kingdoms of this world.” Yet many who claim to follow Jesus seem to have missed what following him means. In fact, said the pastor, “One of the temptations of Jesus was Satan offered him the very thing that unfortunately has become so important to too many people in the church.”

Andy Stanley: Let’s Be Christian

Andy Stanley is the founder and pastor of Atlanta-based North Point Ministries and the author of “Not in It to Win It: Why Choosing Sides Sidelines the Church.”

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Stanley began his talk by emphasizing that he loves the U.S. “I’m so patriotic,” he said. “I cry when the national anthem is sung.” The pastor also encourages his people to vote, saying they should vote according to their “law-of-Christ-informed conscience.” 

“Be involved in local politics, be involved in national politics,” he said. “I’m 100% for that.” But, he added, “When I die, I will not go to Washington D.C. At least I hope not.” 

Yet even though Jesus did not come to win “as we define winning,” somehow many Christians seem to think it is essential to be the winners in American culture. This mindset is entirely opposed to the one Jesus displayed when Satan tempted him in the wilderness, Stanley argued. Luke 4:5-8 says:

The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And he said to him, “I will give you all their authority and splendor; it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. If you worship me, it will all be yours.” Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.’”

Jesus refused Satan’s offer because he had come to launch an entirely different kind of kingdom from the kingdoms of the world, said Stanley. He was a king who came not to win, but to “lose on purpose with a purpose, and then he said to you and he said to me, ‘Follow me.’”

Admittedly, Jesus’ purpose was and is not an easy one to grasp, Stanley said, pointing to the difficulty that Jesus’ own disciples had with understanding why he came. Some were focused on having positions of authority in Jesus’ kingdom. Peter, who notably cut a man’s ear off when Jesus was arrested, did not understand his savior’s purpose until after Jesus was resurrected. In fact, said Stanley, the moment Jesus was arrested, “all of Jesus’ followers, unfollowed.”