First Sunday of Lent: Into The Desert

I’ve heard it said that it takes 28 days to change a habit. Lent goes for 40 days so this season isn’t about self-improvement. Besides, the devil didn’t drive Jesus into the desert for self-improvement. Rather he was driven there to feel weakness, vulnerability and then extreme temptation.

Jesus was firstly tempted to allow basic needs to dominate his life. He was asked to allow his desire for food to determine his actions rather than God’s word for him.

Jesus was then tempted to enter into power games in his exercise of authority. If he went under the power of the devil, all people would go under him. But Jesus was to offer his salvation in complete respect for human freedom.

Jesus was then tempted to put on a dramatic show that would capture people’s attention. He was to offer ‘show rather than substance.’

That Jesus underwent such a long period of time experiencing weakness, vulnerability and testing should make us reassess their role in our lives. And considering the temptations he faced should lead us to ask questions about our own lives:

  • How do I allow my perceived needs, or even my wants, to determine my actions and lifestyle rather than being the person God is calling me to be?
  • Do I play power games and, by allowing myself to be dominated or by dominating, rather than simply serving or allowing myself to be served?
  • Do I allow myself to be captivated by ‘show’ or ‘appearances’ rather than do the labor of uncovering true substance in my life and in the lives of others?

The answers to these questions can haunt us for some time…but then we are given the next forty days just to do so.

Adapted from Renew International