As we head into the second half of Lent, I always find the temptation to give up giving-up gets stronger. My mind tells me: you’ve done enough, no one will know if you just….
The challenge of temptation is a very real, but personal thing. It’s different for each of us, and we can often blame the devil for a lot of it. The problem is that sometimes temptation is just a self-developed habit – something we have done for years and never really addressed. As C.S. Lewis said: “No man knows how bad he is till he has tried very hard to be good….only those who try to resist temptation know how strong it is….you find out the strength of a wind by trying to walk against it, not by lying down.” (Mere Christianity)
Jesus is the only one who knows what resisting temptation fully means. When the Spirit led him into the wilderness, the devil tried to entice Him into worldly rewards. On all three occasions (and many more after) Jesus chose to follow God’s will as found in scripture (‘It has been written…’). In the face of temptation Jesus didn’t say ‘I can’t help it’; he said ‘I won’t!’ and looked to God for His security.
Whenever we swap our dependence from the transforming power of God to the ways of the world we lose the very purpose for our mission. The devil offered Jesus the world without the cross, a temptation that is very real to each of us today. Yet in the face of this ultimate challenge Jesus chose the cross so that we might live. How AMAZING is that?!
So next time we are tempted, let us turn our eyes to Jesus for help and know that He is rooting for us to choose life in Him. And when we do fail Him, let us hold onto His amazing grace, mercy and forgiveness which is freely available to all who believe, as we get up and in His strength try again.
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God – what is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:2)