In this season of Lent, we are reminded of how we have been lured from God’s presence to unselfish, uncompassionate living. Modern-day distractions of success are rampant and affect even the most spiritual among us. Our Lenten fasts and disciplines are great practices for both empowering our will and relocating our focus back to the demands of the spirit and the spiritual nourishment we receive from God.
Matthew’s Gospel tells us about the Temptation of Our Lord in the Desert (Matt 4:1-11) — A very important lesson on how to be vigilant and resist temptations in our modern-day wilderness. Chapter 4 begins with Christ’s journey into the wilderness where he was tempted by the devil and continues with a narrative of the three temptations that our Lord undergoes after fasting for forty days and nights. Of course, there is so much to be gained from prayerful consideration of these narratives, but overall, Jesus showed us that the key to resisting temptation is by finding our identity in our relationship with God.
Jesus responded by refusing to establish his worth and identity on his terms but instead remained dependent on God. God promises that His Spirit will help us in our weakness (Romans 8:26). For Jesus, there was the physical presence of God’s angels – and we have the same promise from God.
Draw closer to God… Whatever it takes!
- What measures will you take to reorient your life around the things of God during this season?
- What will you give up? What will you add?
Merciful God, we come to you today, realizing that we are not how you want us to be. Help us let go of our past, that we may turn toward you and live a life of faith. Help us to recognize and call out our fear and hatred, our anger and self-pity. Give us the wisdom to be aware of the misleading lures of our popular culture. And give us the courage to turn away and set the eyes of our hearts on Jesus. Amen.