Feb 28, 2016
Dear Sisters & Brothers in Christ,
How do you think you would fare against the three temptations that Jesus faced: hunger, power, obedience to God?
1) Hunger: It's hard for us to imagine sometimes that there is a genuine food shortage in the world. We are surrounded by food. We have grocery stores stocked floor to ceiling with food. We have people who buy their food in stores (like Sam's) that use to only sell to restaurants and other stores. We have restaurants and fast food joints literally on every corner. In fact, if we have a food problem it is that we have too much of it, we have a huge obesity problem in this country. Can you imagine yourself living on only one meal a day? Can you further imagine that meal being rice, and only rice, each and every day?
2) Power: In this country that is supposed to be a government "of the people, by the people, and for the people," we have an awful lot of people grasping for power. Not to mention a lot of laws that oppress the poor and powerless. We have constant power struggles between the national government and the state, between the state and the city, and in St. Louis we have an odd power struggle between the county and the city. We have battles within our own families: between spouses, between siblings, between parent and child. We all want to do it our way.
3) God: And how about our relationship with God. We are certainly tempted to worship other gods, and money and power are just two examples. But even when we are focused on the right God, are we truly obedient? Are we the ones trying to manipulate God? We think if we say the right prayer, or we say it the right number of times or for the right number of days, then God will have to give us what we want. If we send a picture to all our Facebook friends then God will have to give us whatever we pray for. Or if we make a big enough donation then we will be God's favorite. How often do we pray with the mindset of manipulating God in some way? Our prayer is supposed to open us up to the Will of God. It is supposed to help us understand God, not the other way around.
So how did you do? As well as you thought? Often we think temptation comes at us with big neon signs. The truth is, most temptation, the really dangerous kind of temptation, are those that are very subtle. They come with all sorts of justifications and rationalizations. When the devil tempted Jesus he baited the hook with Scripture and the power he knew that Jesus already possessed. He made it look perfectly harmless. This is the type of temptation we often fall prey to.
We must be constantly on the watch, for evil can be cunning and it can be dressed up in sheep's clothing. Just remember one thing; the devil cannot make you do anything. You are a child of God, and you are imbued with the same powerful Spirit that Jesus had. Satan is powerless over you, unless you give him power. So when tempted... When you are facing evil... Just tell the devil to tell it to the hand, because your heart already belongs to Jesus.
In the Redeemer,