Just a few thoughts that I shared with the congregation at the Good Shepherd Murrayfield this past Sunday.
“Go on have another one. These chocolates are lovely.”
“Just one kiss won’t hurt. And who will know any way?”
“I know I can’t really afford it but ...”
Life is full of temptations. Every day we are faced with choices between doing the right thing or indulging our selfishness. Today’s readings are all about temptation and the problems it can cause. Adam and Eve’s temptation by the serpent led to the fall of humanity and it took Jesus’ crucifixion to make things right between the Creator and the creation. Temptation always has a price to pay and sometimes that price is very high.
In the reading from Matthew’s Gospel account, Jesus is offered many temptations by Satan, things that perhaps a purely human man might have succumbed to. Power and untold wealth are always tempting but Jesus sought none of these and was thus able to resist the devil’s offers. Jesus was able to see through the temptation for what they were; short lived, vain glorious trifles. How did he do it? Simply by focusing on the Kingdom of God.
I say simply and Matthew’s writings do seem to make it very easy for Jesus to say “No!” but I suspect that Jesus did struggle as we do because he was after all human as well as divine. It is, however, his ability to resist the devil and his offers that proves his divinity.
We are not divine and we all struggle with temptation. We often give in and fail to live up to the standards we set ourselves but yet we can be assured that we are forgiven when we fail, if we truly repent. We are forgiven because of what Jesus did for us but we have to meet God part of the way and acknowledge what we may or may not have done.
So what is your Lenten challenge? What are you trying to say “No!” to? What is your biggest temptation? Whatever it is pray for God’s help to resist temptation and to stick to your resolves and if you slip up do not give in but simply say “sorry” to God and start again.
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