Lenten Devotional // Day 6

Tuesday, March 8

Matthew 4:1-11
Then the Spirit led Jesus up into the wilderness so that the devil might tempt him. After Jesus had fasted for forty days and forty nights, he was starving. The tempter came to him and said, “Since you are God’s Son, command these stones to become bread.”
Jesus replied, “It’s written, People won’t live only by bread, but by every word spoken by God.”
After that the devil brought him into the holy city and stood him at the highest point of the temple. He said to him, “Since you are God’s Son, throw yourself down; for it is written, I will command my angels concerning you, and they will take you up in their hands so that you won’t hit your foot on a stone.”
Jesus replied, “Again it’s written, Don’t test the Lord your God.”
Then the devil brought him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. He said, “I’ll give you all these if you bow down and worship me.”
The devil left him, and angels came and took care of him.

Is it weird to say “Pretend you’re Jesus?” Well, I’m gonna say it. Pretend you’re Jesus! Imagine you’re about to face the toughest trial of your entire life. You’re led into an interesting space and you’re not sure what is about to happen. The catch is you’re not alone. The Devil shows up.

The Devil. Is this Satan? Is this the representation of ‘evil?’ Is this your anxiety or depression? Is this the baggage you carry with you from your past? No matter what it might be, now you’re being tempted. Tempted to pull away from your purpose and instead to prove yourself to something to which you owe absolutely nothing.

Perhaps you’re finding that the better good of what you’re trying to accomplish is being completely derailed by these temptations. You could easily find yourself giving in to the need to accommodate these distractions.

In the text, Jesus is tempted just like we often are. Jesus understand the trials and tribulations of our lives just like anyone. After all, Jesus felt human emotions, as he was both God and man. (John 1:14) Also, we don’t know why Jesus was led to be tempted, although I surmise that it was to demonstrate his humanity. Isn’t it a relief knowing that Jesus understands and knows from experience? In fact, he was tested by a “Devil” who knew the scriptures very well. In other words, his temptations understood him and knew just how to get to him. I don’t know about you, but that sounds every bit like the temptations in my life.

Verse 11 shows us that Jesus overcame these temptations. Understanding how to cope with the challenges in our lives, much like Jesus knew the counterpoints to the scriptures the Devil tried to use against him, will allow us to overcome our personal temptations and succeed.

Questions for Contemplation
  1. Name your “Devil.” What are the temptations in your life?
  2. As Jesus rebuts the Devil’s tempting scripture quotations, how might you counter your own temptations?

Dearest Lord Jesus, You overcame temptations like I have never experienced before. Yet I do have my own challenges. Lord, help me to hone the skills it takes to unpack why these temptations are in my life and how I can overcome them. Lord, be my protector and my teacher. In your name I pray: Amen.

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