“No testing has overtaken you that is not common to everyone. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your strength, but with the testing he will also provide the way out so that you may be able to endure it.” (I Cor. 10:13)
The theme of this past week in the Corpath devotional green guide is the ‘Temptation of Jesus’. Our verse this Monday is one of the first verses I memorized after becoming a Christian in my late teens. I was sure if I just recited that verse regularly that eventually temptation would no longer have much sway over me. I can hear all of you chuckling at my naiveté – how wrong I was! Part of life is a continual battle with temptations of all sorts. That is the reason why I wanted to share with you this morning Reuben Job’s reflection to keep you from discouragement.
“Even in my seventh decade powerful temptation causes me to turn aside and think, speak and act contrary to what I believe and seek to practice. Why is temptation still with me after all these years of prayer and effort to live a life worthy of my baptism? The simple answer must be that I am tempted because I am alive. Temptation seems to be a part of life, and none of us escapes. Why should I be surprised by the subtle nibbling at my commitment or the outright onslaught on my integrity? Do I think myself better than Jesus?
Jesus rises from the water of baptism with God’s affirming voice ringing in his ears. He witnesses assurance that he is God’s beloved son. It can’t get much better than that. But then immediately he is led into the wilderness (Matt. 4:1). There, temptation in its most raw and appealing form, confronts Jesus. We identify with each invitation the devil offers. We know our own hungers and we would like to feed the world. Who of us has escaped the desire just once to be noticed as a hero… And many of us have thought if we just had a chance to manage the world, the church, or the community, all problems would be solved. The temptation to have just a little more of the world’s goods, if not all we can see, always lurks close by, ready to pounce on our first interest in what others have accumulated.
The wilderness was a place to which Jesus was led, and few of us are led to escape it. Jesus left hungry, but strengthened rather than diminished, because he remembered his baptism. He remembered who he was. Matthew says that the moment Jesus rejected the devil’s invitation, the angels came to wait upon him. Because I want temptation powerless to turn me away from God, I remember my baptism and reject the subtle and not-so-subtle invitations to turn from God.”
- Are you sometimes discouraged by the grip that temptations still hold on you?
- Pray out loud to God what it means for you to remember your baptism. What it means to you to remember who you are in Christ.
John Wiseman – www.corpath.ca