Monday, September 12, 2011

Lead Us Not . . .

Matthew 4:1
Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.

When is it easiest for you to fall into temptation? Is it when you are fatigued at the end of an arduous day? When you haven't had enough to eat and your blood sugar is dangerously low? When you are lonely, feeling isolated from the lives of others? Jesus faces all three of these conditions during the 40 days (a Hebrew literary term meaning "a long time") in the wilderness before Satan even shows up. Famished, thirsty, and exhausted, the Lord has plummeted to the lowest point of resistance in this human body He has humbly taken on. He is ripe for the picking, or so the devil imagines; what a delicious coup it would be to have the very Son of God betray His own Father! Thankfully, for us, that was not how the story unfolded.

Jesus, though physically to the point of breaking, resists every temptation offered Him. Not only does He refuse to give in, but also rebukes the devil with the Word of God after each enticement. I believe Jesus had to endure the very sufferings and temptations we face as humans in order to understand what we, in our myriad frailties, face. Just as He was baptized to be able to identify with sinners, He was tested under grueling conditions so He could comprehend, empathize with, and stand with us when we strive to overcome our weaknesses.

Mark 4:11 - "Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended to him." The next time you feel tempted, remember Jesus' trial in the wilderness. Know you can turn to Him for the strength and resolve you need to resist. Know, too, that great will be your reward.

Readings
Psalms 56, 57, (58) or 64, 65
1 Kings 21:1-16
1 Corinthians 1:1-19
Matthew 4:1-11

6 comments:

  1. Martha, another wonderful post! I know for myself, temptation is most likely to present itself to me when I am extremely tired and have been under stressful circumstances so what real comfort to know that our Lord went through it as well to a far greater degree...there is so much strength we can draw from that. He must love us very much indeed. Thank you for this today!

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  2. Temptation and its many colors.....

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  3. Hi, Colleen and Savira! Thank you so much for stopping by today. Yes, our temptations come in many forms and colors and shapes and sizes; isn't it wonderful that Jesus chose to go through these for us! We, all of us, are so loved!

    Blessings!

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  4. Or Jesus could have endured these temptations to show US how it’s done :-)
    To show us that it CAN be done. Maybe?
    Me? I find myself most tempted when I’m tired and hungry :-(

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  5. I love your insight, Debra - to show us how it is done, to be the ultimate example.

    I'm not sure if it's a "woman-thing", but tired and/or hungry is the worst place for me to ever be in light of temptation. I know this is why these verses spoke so movingly to me. Seems like it did to you, too.

    Blessings!

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  6. Once again, Jesus sets the bar for how we're meant to act. In the ultimate test of His mortal shell, he clings to His Heavenly Father and resists those trials that Satan brings to bear... May we all find that fortitude in our daily lives.

    Have a Blessed Day!

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