Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendour; and he said to him, ‘All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.’ Matthew 4. 8-9
The devil lied to Jesus. We may call this the temptation of Jesus and marvel at the way that Jesus was able to resist using his power to satisfy his hunger or relieve his discomfort but he also overcame the insidious power of flattery: The smooth tongued words of the devil; “You are so special God will protect you whatever danger you put yourself in.” Then there was the complete mis-selling of himself that the Devil presented; “I can give you your hearts’ desire.” In reality what Jesus was being offered by the devil was simply not deliverable because the only one who could give all the kingdoms of the world to Jesus was the very Trinity that he was already an integral part of.
Temptation is not so different for us except in reality we don’t have the same high level of awareness of when we are being led astray. So often when we are tempted deep down we know, that even if we embrace the thing we are being offered, it will not bring us the long term happiness we seek. ‘A moment on the lips is a lifetime on the hips’ may be a cliche but we all know the reality behind the flawed decisions we sometimes make particularly when encouraged by others. It can be really hard to stick to our beliefs in the face of overwhelming ‘alternative facts’ – you are naive to believe that these people don’t mean you harm; you are not very intelligent if you rely on the experts; you cannot be a true follower of Jesus if you do not condemn this.
Except of course we are able to find the wisdom that Jesus used to overcome his tempter. We can open our lives and our decision making to the power of God through our prayer lives. Listening out for the voice deep within us that makes us uncomfortable with some of the distorted thinking of this world. Keeping us alert as to when we are not being told the whole truth. Giving us the confidence to ask further questions before agreeing to any particular action. So as we reflect of Jesus temptation this week, ask for the same wisdom and strength to prevail in your own life.
Heavenly Father, please give me the vision and wisdom to see the truth behind the lies I am feeling bombarded with at the moment. Help me to follow your call to love and not to judge. Amen
With all my love and prayers for a peaceful and holy Lent