Posts Tagged ‘Temptation’
[26FEB2012] Lent 2012: Day 5—Reflection and Meditation
♦ Psalm 129:1-9
♦ Gospel - Mark 1:9-15
“The Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs to deep for words.”
Almighty God, whose blessed Son was led by the Spirit to be tempted by Satan: Make speed to help thy servants who are assaulted by manifold temptations; and, as thou knowest their several infirmities, let each one find thee mighty to save; through Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Here we read that Jesus is baptized by John the Baptist followed by the visible outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon him (Jesus). After the Holy Spirit descends upon Jesus, we are told there is an audible affirmation as the voice of God from heaven spoke; “You are my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy.” Next, we read the Spirit then compelled Jesus to go into the wilderness, where he was tempted by Satan for forty days. He was out among the wild animals, and angels took care of him.
I see the wilderness as a place of danger and loneliness, a place bereft of comfort. Although Mark doesn’t make mention of it, the other Gospel accounts inform us that Jesus was without food and water for those forty days of solitude in the wilderness. Here he was tempted to be drawn off his path, but it was also here that he meets with and is unified in purpose and mission with the Godhead—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. It is here in the wilderness, face-to-face with Satan, full of the Holy Spirit, amongst wild animals, and cared for by angels that Jesus solidifies God’s path for his life.
Prayer and discernment for God’s path for our lives can be as treacherous as the wilderness experience as told of Jesus. I believe we are brought face-to-face with evil temptations that would destroy God’s best plans and purpose for our lives. In our wilderness excursions there will be no less stressful circumstances than what Jesus faced and there will always be at minimum two voices—the voice or voices of evil and the Voice of good which only comes from God. The wilderness can be a place of destruction or it can be a place of recentering and focus. I think it is important to be aware of these things because the wilderness experience in the journey of the Christian is not a single event, at least it has not been for me. I continue to have wilderness experiences. The lessons and wisdom gleaned from them differ from encounter to encounter… sometimes I am ministered to by angels and sometimes I am beaten up pretty good. I am thankful that I have learned enough from these experiences that my beatings have been less severe and the times I have been ministered to by angels more frequent. I think this has come from familiarity, surrender, humility, and obedience…and God-inspired self-awareness, that is understanding who I am “in Christ.”
I suppose the point of this thinking out loud is this; I believe wilderness experiences are most often orchestrated by God. While they may look “scary as the devil” the opportunity to grow closer with God and experience the ministry of angels is the divine payoff. Each of us who follows the person of Jesus Christ are invited to partake of the infilling-indwelling Holy Spirit who leads us and guides us in our God ordained destiny. Wilderness experiences are serious encounters—not to be feared, but certainly respected—shaping us and drawing us nearer to the persons God created us to be re-imaged and transformed into the image of the Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ.
O Lord, I give my life to you. I trust in you, my God. Do not let me be disgraced, or let my enemies rejoice in my defeat. No one who trusts in you will ever be disgraced, but disgrace comes to those who try to deceive others. Show me the right path, O LORD; point out the road for me to follow. Lead me by your truth and teach me, for you are the God who saves me. All day long I put my hope in you. Remember, O LORD, your compassion and unfailing love, which you have shown from long ages past. Do not remember the rebellious sins of my youth. Remember me in the light of your unfailing love, for you are merciful, O LORD. The LORD is good and does what is right; he shows the proper path to those who go astray. He leads the humble in doing right, teaching them his way.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be—world without end. Amen.