Temptation in Life is Real
At the beginning of Lent, the Church challenges us to reflect on how, as God’s people, we still live our lives in a wilderness of covenant making and covenant breaking, one of freedom and also disconted grumblings. Truly, Lent is to be enjoyed rather than to be endured. Lent once again offers an opportunity to leave our past behind and start again. We all may have broken our last years’ Lenten resolution but it is like lovers’ quarrel which becomes the renewal of love. And so, Lent invites us to begin again and renew. This is the wonderful thing about Christian life. Like the gardeners who plant new seeds every year to see blooms in the summer, we are invited to sow deep within our hearts the seeds of God’s words during Lent, to reap Easter fruits in abundance.
Temptation in life is real and no one is exempted from this. In other words, our earthly journey is filled with lots of temptations. Basically, temptations are not sin, but they can cause us to sin. It is the result of our fallen human nature. This temptation can be a heavy burden and can cause us not only emotional pain, psychological pain but also spiritual pain when we give in to it. Jesus never gave in to temptations in the desert nor did he give in to temptations any other time in his life. But he endured them and suffered them and thus overcame upon them.
His victorious life over temptation tells us that Jesus can be our strength and inspiration in the midst of whatever we are tempted with each and every day. Some days we may feel loneliness and isolation, and at other times, we may feel as though the wild beasts of our disordered passions are getting best of us. Sometimes we may feel as though the evil one is having his way with us. Well, Jesus felt this way too. That is why precisely Jesus wants to meet us and bring us out of it. Jesus conquered the desert once for all and Jesus is able to conquer any desert in our lives too.
Let’s consider for a few moments the nature of temptations Jesus himself faced and see how they can apply to our lives as well. First of all, there was the temptation to turn stones to bread. Of course, Jesus had been fasting for forty days and no doubt he was hungry, so the devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” By responding to the devil, Jesus is saying there is more to life than having a full stomach with loaves of bread. In fact, in our consumer culture one of the greatest and most dangerous temptations is to want more of everything. Happiness is just around you if you have lots of things. Mahatma Gandhi once said, “The world has enough for the needy but not for the greedy.” Jesus overcame this first temptation by putting his complete trust in God. We are most of the time so concerned about having everything, but the wise person trusts that God will provide all that he or she needs.
Temptations are necessary for our own spiritual growth and in fact, it is only after we are able to overcome temptations that we can claim to be spiritually strong. Each of us has a calling from God, a vocation, which we are to discern and follow if we are to find that peace, joy and fullness of purpose God wants us to experience. The temptation to over-attach ourselves to possessions, prestige, power and pleasure will always try to crowd out that gentle whisper of the Spirit in our hearts. Lent is a good time to resist these temptations, and let the discipline of Lent – prayer, fasting and almsgiving, make us more attentive to that quiet inner voice of God speaking to our hearts.
By Susai Jesu, OMI
Vocation Team – West