“Lent has traditionally been a fast in anticipation of Good Friday and Easter Sunday. A practice that began in the second century, followers of Jesus committed themselves to a season of heightened prayer, fasting and almsgiving in honour of His forty days in the wilderness. It therefore invites us to consider more carefully Jesus’ suffering, death and resurrection, and the significance they bear on Christians.” – Bishop Terry Kee
As we approach the 2nd Sunday of Lent, it is useful for us to draw some thoughts from Satan’s temptations on Jesus at the end of the 40 days. He spent in the wilderness without food and drink. (Matt 4, Mark 1:12 & Luke 4)
Satan’s main strategy when he came to Jesus after His 40 days of fasting was to create doubt in Jesus’ mind about His relationship with the Father God with his opening words “If you are the Son of God….”. But remember that this was not long after God had declared when Jesus came out of the water after John baptised Him, “This is my Son, whom I love: with Him I am well pleased.” (Matt 3:17). But Satan tries anyway.
Satan still uses this approach today. Though we are precious in God’s sight and have become His children through Christ, Satan will not spare us. Whenever we sin, we are prone to judge ourselves unworthy of God’s love and Christ’s salvation – the devil quickly jumps in and confirms such self-condemnation. He plants questions in our minds like: Am I really a child of God as God claims? Has Jesus really cleansed me after all?
Does it really matter to seek to daily live a life free from sin – isn’t it all quite relative depending on the situation you are in? These and many other such questions then begin to plague us.
When you are faced with such attacks in your mind and heart, follow Jesus’ method of responding to Satan – immediately reject them, cast them out of your mind, and instead cling to the truths in the Bible. 1 John 1:9 assures us that when we confess our sins, the blood of Jesus immediately cleanses us and purifies us and makes us clean before the Almighty God once again. If you are struggling with a sin which you are continually falling into, claim this promise and ask the Holy Spirit to strengthen you to resist that sin so that you can walk in God’s light continually. Where help is needed, seek the counsel of an older Christian to help walk alongside you in your daily journey of sanctification.
The 3 temptations of Satan seemingly offered Jesus good things which we often want too: food or provisions in life, invincibility that comes from being free of harm and danger, and great power and control. But they all came with the same underlying twist: they subtly involved diverting Jesus away from recognising His relationship with God the Father…from walking the road to death on the cross of Calvary which Jesus had specifically come to earth for.
Are you struggling with the same temptations today but only in the varied modern forms in which they present themselves to you? I ask myself whether I am like my hand phone which I had a problem with this morning when Har Lee was trying to send something to me: it would not load and I had to be told that the reason was I had too much unwanted, irrelevant “good stuff” stored in it which made it impossible for that important message to come in.
Could it be that we are too full, and too busy with pursuing ‘good’ things in our lives and as a result missing out on hearing the ‘best’ things God wants to tell us, bit by bit, day by day?
If you have missed observing Lent so far, you can start now and benefit from it spiritually. Take this period leading up to Good Friday and Easter Sunday to consider more carefully Jesus’ suffering, death and resurrection, and how that impacts you to desire to grow more Christlike daily and act on it.
By Daniel John, Elder (YCKC Bulletin 16&17 March 2019)