Sooooo Tempting

A little temptation…. Go on you know you want to try this…  You don’t want to do that, this would be much better…  No one will know…

A quick internet search of temptation shows up Temptation Gifts and a Temptation Resort (plus of course if you wanted some more excellent 80s music, there’s Heaven 17’s Temptation 🙂 ) – just a little something to tempt you…

The definition of temptation?

Temptation is the desire to perform an action that one may enjoy immediately or in the short-term but will probably later regret for various reasons

Sometimes things seem like such a good idea at the time, yet turn out to be anything but.  Giving in to temptation is rarely all it’s cracked up to be when it appears.

And so we turn, at the beginning of lent, to Jesus time in the desert, and the temptations that were put before him

Luke 4:1-13

Jesus and the Devil

4 When Jesus returned from the Jordan River, the power of the Holy Spirit was with him, and the Spirit led him into the desert. For forty days Jesus was tested by the devil, and during that time he went without eating.When it was all over, he was hungry.

The devil said to Jesus, “If you are God’s Son, tell this stone to turn into bread.”

Jesus answered, “The Scriptures say, ‘No one can live only on food.’”

Then the devil led Jesus up to a high place and quickly showed him all the nations on earth. The devil said, “I will give all this power and glory to you. It has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. Just worship me, and you can have it all.”

Jesus answered, “The Scriptures say:

‘Worship the Lord your God
and serve only him!’”

Finally, the devil took Jesus to Jerusalem and had him stand on top of the temple. The devil said, “If you are God’s Son, jump off. 10-11 The Scriptures say:

‘God will tell his angels
to take care of you.
They will catch you
in their arms,
and you will not hurt
your feet on the stones.’”

12 Jesus answered, “The Scriptures also say, ‘Don’t try to test the Lord your God!’”

13 After the devil had finished testing Jesus in every way possible, he left him for a while.

Jesus was tested.  Will you try this?  Do you want to do this?  Temptations of self-reliance, wrong use of power, of spectacular acts for the wrong reasons.  Do this, you’ll feel better, you can have everything you crave, everyone will think your wonderful… So tempting, but will it really lead to that?

What are the temptations in my life?  The things that I think will make life better,  but will not be doing things God’s way?  What am I looking in the wrong place for?  Where am I looking for my fulfilment?

If only the Tempter was so easy to recognise, as in depictions like this

Temptation of Christ in the Wilderness by Juan de Flandes

with horns sticking from his head, or this one with his crows feet

Temptation of Christ by Simon Bening

how much less complicated life would be!  How much easier to tell right from wrong.  It is not always easy to tell what is good or bad.  Something may sound perfectly reasonable – after all, why shouldn’t Jesus feed himself? – but it may not be the right thing for us at that time.

Temptation will happen.  It is the measure of our lives how we deal with it.

In our weakness, in our wanderings, in the things that tempt us to take a different path to the one that God leads us on, we pray for his wisdom, his strength – that we may make good choices and not be tempted by those that are ultimately wrong and take us in the wrong direction.

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