“When the devil had finished tempting Jesus, he left him until the next opportunity came.” – Luke 4:13
In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus begins his ministry, not with the celebration of laying on of hands from a priest but led by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness where the devil tempted him for forty days. When I consider Lent and the act of giving something up for forty days, my mind automatically thinks of all the temptations that will arise during that time. Various temptations will come at an inopportune time when we are trying to draw closer to God.
No one would intentionally choose a path filled with trials, trouble, temptations, or even tests if given a choice. But these difficulties do serve a purpose in our lives. They teach us about how God’s grace is sufficient even in your weak moments. In these moments, we depend more on God rather than on our energy, effort, or talent, developing our Christian character.
Therefore, as these temptations come our way during this season of Lent, don’t view them negatively. Instead, take these experiences as an opportunity to meet the challenges of your every day to build upon your trust in God’s Word, to find confidence in your relationship with Jesus, and to know that the presence of the Holy Spirit is fighting with you. These three ways of facing our temptations will better us as disciples of Jesus Christ.
Heavenly Father, thank you for your Word that sustains us and teaches us to serve you faithfully and trust in your goodness. Be with us as we journey through the season of Lent. Provide us an opportune time to develop our Christian character. Amen.
Trey Harris is the pastor of St. Paul’s UMC in Burlington.