It’s been a while since I could write a post for this blog. You think the emptiness will diminish, but it doesn’t. You think the confidence will return, but it won’t. You think the words will be there, but they aren’t.
This installment is especially hard to write. Because, to be credible at what you’re writing, you have to be perceived as being knowledgeable about it and good about doing it. I am neither.
This post is about resisting temptation. While Jesus prepared for His ministry with fasting and prayer, He was tempted.
As the last Adam, He resisted temptation in three important ways that the first Adam (and Eve) did not.
When hungry, He turned down food. He was expressing His dependence on God through His fasting, not food, not materiality, not self. Adam and Eve saw the fruit as pleasing to the eye, and consumed it.
When presented with the easy way, Jesus chose the hard way. He could have ruled the earth with Satan and a life of ease. He chose to serve the universe with a death of torture. The first man and woman chose the easy way to learn about good and evil; the quick way; the way that didn’t require walking and talking with God or learning by listening in a garden of grace.
When challenged to verify His identity for His own assurance — to choose fact over faith — Jesus chose faith. He could have thrown Himself down, confident of God’s rescue as His Father. Instead, He chose to believe when fact would have provided certainty. He chose not to tempt God’s interference to prevent a self-destructive act to satisfy a selfish curiosity. The first couple chose to test God’s resolve to introduce them to death that very day; betting that He loved them too much to make good on His word.
There are more temptations in life than these three; but they are foundational.
Will we choose our belly — our self — as our god? Or our God as our God?
Will we choose the easy way to get what we want rather than depend on God’s wisdom and providence for what we need?
Will we gamble that He loves us too much and is too merciful to actually be righteous and just — and therefore to let us see death and destruction as the consequence of what we have done?
I am no expert at resisting temptation. I’ve amassed a lifelong career of failure at the attempt.
But I have a perfect example. So do you.
We just need to understand and keep trying to live out this simple fact:
Following Him means resisting temptation.