As we contemplate a new year of self-improvement resolutions, we’ve renewed our energies to stand firm as we know this year will be different. Perhaps you have vowed to eat healthier, exercise more, or be kinder to others. Some surveys show that as many as 25% of New Year’s resolutions are broken within the first seven days.
We are bombarded with temptations that derail us, just as Jesus was tested. John provides a blueprint: “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them.” John goes on, “For everything in the world---the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life---comes not from the Father but from the world.” (1 John 2:15-17).
Matthew and Luke provide more details about Jesus’s temptations in the desert shortly after He had been baptized by John the Baptist. Jesus fasted for 40 days and was hungry. Satan encouraged Jesus to turn stones into bread, to show his powers by jumping from the top of the Temple without being harmed and to claim his birthright as King over all. Jesus responded with Scripture to rebuke Satan and drive him away.
It’s important that we worship the Lord our God more than we love the world, but what if the world isn’t our greatest temptation?
The greatest temptation is whatever distracts us from fulfilling what God has asked us to do. Jesus was called to fulfill ancient Scripture appearing on earth, teaching and preaching, dying for our sins and calling a small group of apostles to witness His Resurrection. Although He could have performed miracles, turning stones into bread and showing his power to Satan, that wasn’t part of God’s plan at that time.
Is your calling to be a mother, an executive, a member of a small group at your church, a priest, a local coordinator to rescue animals, a writer, a photographer, or a teacher? Whatever your calling, what are the things that are distracting you from fulfilling God’s plan for you? Is it needing to be busy, being a perfectionist, or competing with others in their ministries?
Maybe you should eat better, exercise more, or be kinder to others. But, the greatest temptations are those that prevent us from fulfilling God’s purpose for our life.
Blessings, my friend,