So far I've done all right.
I haven't gossipped,
haven't lost my temper,
haven't been greedy, grumpy, nasty, selfish, or overindulgent.
I'm really glad about that.
But in a few minutes, God,
I'm going to get out of bed.
And from then on,
I'm going to need a lot more help.
It's a funny prayer, but all too true. We face temptation everyday. In the prayer that Jesus taught us to pray He guided us to ask God, "...lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil." We need God's grace and His presence in our lives to resist the things that tempt us.
Did you know that Jesus was tempted? Unlike us, however, He never gave in to temptation. Scripture tells us that He was tempted in every way just as we are tempted. This Sunday we will look at Matthew 4. In the opening verses we read that Satan himself came to tempt Jesus. He did His best to lure Jesus away from dependence on the Father and away from the path of suffering. We will never know what inner struggles Jesus went through to resist. But we do know that He consistently pointed to His heavenly Father and consistently quoted Scripture. This might be helpful for us as we enter the daily struggle to resist temptation.
We need to acknowledge that there are evil forces at work in our world and a divided heart in each one of us that can be pulled from the path of dependence on God and pulled from the path of suffering for God's sake. As you begin this Lenten Season (it is Ash Wednesday today!) maybe you want to grab hold of some relevant Scripture passages and start using them as a weapon against things that tempt you. Here are a few to get you started: Psalm 119:34, I Corinthians 6:18, Philippians 4:6-9, Proverbs 26:20, Ephesians 4:26, Matthew 6:25-27, Philippians 2:5.
Prepare your heart for the message this weekend by reading Matthew 4. See you Sunday! -Kris
Happy Valentine's Day!
A 3rd Century Christian Priest in Rome, Valentine was known for assisting Christians persecuted under Claudius II. After being caught marrying Christian couples and helping Christians escape the persecution, Valentine was arrested and imprisoned. Although Emporer Claudius originally liked Valentine, he was condemned to death when he tried to convert the emporer. Valentine was beaten with stones, clubbed and eventually beheaded on February 14, 269. He has since become the patron saint of engaged couples and happy marriages. As you smell your flowers, eat your chocolates and enjoy your sweetheart's company today, remember that St. Valentine was willing to sacrifice his life to serve Jesus Christ.