Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Temptation of a Lifetime

Each day I will be posting from the daily Bible Reading plan we will be doing at West Side. On weekdays we will be going through the New Testament. On the weekends we will read passages from the Old Testament books of Psalms and Proverbs. We invite you to join along.

I have tried fasting several times. I am sad to report that at this time it is a spiritual discipline I have not completely mastered. I tried it in college when we would do campus wide fast, I tried it while searching for new ministries, and I have done it at big developments in my life. For some reason, when I am supposed to be focusing on meditating, I find my self dreaming of a steak.

Because I cannot get through 12 or 24 hours, I struggle to imagine how Christ did it for 40 straight days as we find in Matthew 4. For forty days after his baptism Jesus was in the wilderness fasting. Somewhere along the way Satan arrives and begins to tempt him. Satan is a master deceiver. He tempts Jesus at his weakest moments with things that will really meet his needs. First he begins with the flesh. Jesus is hungry and Satan offers food. Then Satan tempts him with the boastful pride of life. Jewish tradition says that the people were looking for the Messiah to appear at the highest point of the temple. This would have given Jesus the credibility of the people, but would have defeated the point for which he came. The final temptation was the promise of the world, that Jesus could have authority over all. However, he already does. Jesus defeats all three temptations by quoting Scripture.

We learn that when we become a Christian, we have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in our lives. That means we have the hand of Christ helping us as we strive to live for him. If Jesus can easily combat temptations at a very week time in his life, then how much stronger can we be at times of temptation in our life when he is providing us strength. Are you tapping into the strength provided by Christ?

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