Reading: Matthew 4: 1-11
Jesus prepares for His ministry with a period of testing. He fasts for forty days and is physically weak. Satan comes then and tempts Jesus with food, trust, and power. Food represents both our basic needs and our desires. Is our life about pursuing these things and then giving what’s left to God? Or do we first give to God, knowing that He loves us and will provide for all we need? The second temptation partly involves trust. We we step out or step forward, trusting that God will have our back? And perhaps before this first step, did we seek God’s discernment and direction or did we just make our own plan? When seek God’s will and when we obey His lead, there is no fear or lack of trust. Power is the third temptation. Worship Satan and all the world is yours. We like to be in charge. What a temptation!
In our own journey of faith, we are often tempted and often out to the test. In our giving, do we obediently give our tithe or volunteer for that cause that pulls at our heart strings? Or do we focus on what “has” to be done first or pay all the bills and then see if we have time or money left for God? In those moments when the Holy Spirit nudges us to get involved or to offer our talents or to engage the stranger, do we trust that God will give us the words to say or will show us what to do? Or do we apply excuses or rationalize away the opportunity? And when we look at our priorities, do they reveal that God is #1 in our lives? Or does ‘God’ fall somewhere down the list? If one looked at our lives, they should see how we are investing our lives in God’s work in the world and in growing our own personal faith. Is that what they would see?
Just as Satan tempted Jesus to rely on something other than God, he will also tempt us. How we respond to or react to the above questions and scenarios indicated how successful Satan may be at drawing us away from God. In this season of Lent, where we too are preparing ourselves for ministry, may the Lord our God strengthen and encourage us each day as we strive to walk as disciples of Jesus each and every day.