Lent: A Season To Renew the Fight Against Temptation
Today is the “still” the fourth day of Lent. Actually, yesterday was the fourth day of Lent beginning with Ash Wednesday. But Sundays aren’t counted in the 40 days of Lent. Lent is a season the church has long since taken as a time to encourage people to reflect, repent, and rededicate one’s life to live the highest calling of Jesus Christ. The Lenten Season typically begins liturgically with the temptation of Jesus in the wilderness. We revisit Jesus’ temptation by the devil in the Judean wilderness and we marvel at how Jesus was able to throw each temptation back into the devil’s face, successfully thwarting the devil’s devices and overcoming his temptations.
With respect to temptation, we’re no better or different than Jesus! We face temptation in and out of Lent and, like Jesus, before we can step into life as God’s anointed person, we first have to face and conquer temptation. Here’s what some people have said about temptation:
• I never resist temptation, because I have found that things that are bad for me do not tempt me. -George Bernard Shaw
• Temptation is the fire that brings up the scum of the heart. -William Shakespeare
• I generally avoid temptation unless I can’t resist it. -Mae West
• Yield to temptation. It may not pass your way again. -Robert A. Heinlein
• The biggest human temptation is to settle for too little. -Thomas Merton
• Lead me not into temptation; I can find the way myself. -Rita Mae Brown
• No temptation can ever be measured by the value of its object. -Colette
• What makes resisting temptation difficult for many people is they don’t want to discourage it completely. -Franklin P. Jones
• Lead us not into temptation. Just tell us where it is; we’ll find it. -Sam Levenson
• Those who flee temptation generally leave a forwarding address. -Lane Olinghouse
This morning, we’re going to learn what tools Jesus used to defeat the devil and his temptations. In the process, I hope we’ll all gain new resolve and spiritual resources to defeat the devil when he comes knocking at the door of our minds. The scripture is a great testimony for us: temptation is a fight we CAN win!
Your Pastor and Friend, Mark