To Be Tempted is To Be Human

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God was proud of his servant Job for he was a just and upright man, praising and thanking God every moment of his life. The devil said that was because God showered Job with all good things and countless blessings. He dared God that if the blessings were taken away, Job would no sooner start cursing God. So God allowed the devil to tempt Job and the devil inflicted all kinds of misery on Job but was not able to break him. Job remained steadfast in his love and devotion to his Lord.

Temptation is not yet a sin but giving in to it is. Temptations are part of our being human because we always have the capacity to choose good over evil, to go towards the light or seek the darkness, to be an instrument of life and liberty or an agent of death and destruction. The devil is a master of lies and his wiles are full of deceit. He will make us see the red delicious apple and forget our promise to be faithful to God.

When I was young, being good meant following a series of “Don’t do this” and “Don’t do that”. The devil in his wiles also has his own “Don’ts” ~ Like, “Don’t try to be good. It is so hard. It is a lot easier to just be flaky and take it easy.” Or, “Don’t care for other people. They will take you for a patsy and just take advantage of you.” Or, “Don’t tell the truth. Deal in lies. Truth carries with it so much responsibility. You can save yourself a lot of aggravations.” And there are moments I have succumbed to the wiles of the devil.  And some of them are not even very subtle.

Christ upheld the Law (the passive Don’ts of the Ten Commandments) but summarized them in one active Do – Love! Love God above all else and your neighbor as yourself. The three Lenten Practices of prayer, alms-giving and  fasting,remind me and help me deepen my practice of love. Prayer helps me strengthen my love for and relationship with God. Alms-giving reminds me to be mindful of others. Fasting is disciplining my flesh to give room for my spirit to grow.

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. Luke 4:1-13

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