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Daily Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Friday, March 11, 2022  

Today’s Scripture Reading  |  Luke 4:1–13

Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing at all during those days, and when they were over, he was famished. The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become a loaf of bread.” Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘One does not live by bread alone.’”

Then the devil led him up and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And the devil said to him, “To you I will give their glory and all this authority; for it has been given over to me, and I give it to anyone I please. If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours.” Jesus answered him, “It is written,

‘Worship the Lord your God,
and serve only him.’”

Then the devil took him to Jerusalem, and placed him on the pinnacle of the temple, saying to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here, for it is written,

‘He will command his angels concerning you,
to protect you,’

and

‘On their hands they will bear you up,
so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.’”

Jesus answered him, “It is said, ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’” When the devil had finished every test, he departed from him until an opportune time. (NRSV)

Reflection
The best way to deal with temptation is to avoid it, but sometimes that’s not practical or possible. Another way to deal with it is to see temptation as an opportunity to put Christian beliefs and values into practice, to make better decisions than I have before, to learn and grow, and to do better.

Even when I give in to temptation and don’t make the choice I should, there’s an opportunity to learn and grow. I can easily recall when giving in to temptation resulted in a life-changing experience. It was a bad decision. It resulted in a lot of pain, guilt, and regret, lost friendships, and the need for a lot of therapy. But it also gave me empathy I didn’t have before and helped me learn to accept a part of myself I didn’t like rather than continuing to ignore and repress it.

Don’t get me wrong. If I could go back and do it over, I would absolutely make a different choice. But since that’s not an option, I try to focus on the personal growth that experience sparked. God knows I’m human. I’m not able to resist temptation the way Jesus did for those forty days. Perfection can’t be the goal; it’s not possible. But it is possible for me to improve my ability to resist temptation by avoiding those situations when I can and praying for strength and guidance when I can’t.

Prayer
Merciful Creator, give me strength and wisdom to make good choices. Forgive me when I give in to temptation, and when I do, open my heart and mind to see the opportunity for growth. Amen.

Written by Nicole Spirgen, Member of Fourth Presbyterian Church

Reflection and prayer © Fourth Presbyterian Church

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