How to Overcome.
At that time Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil.
Thank you for joining as we together journey through Lent, walking humbly before God and working out our salvation.
As I mentioned Ash Wednesday, we spent the weeks of Pre-Lent identifying the hot stoves of sin in our lives, those dangers we love to run toward, and planned our strategies for getting rid of them.
Those old, hot, rusty, greasy, ugly things in our lives must go, but unfortunately, for many Christians, we spend Lent praying more, sacrificing small things, perhaps giving more, fasting, abstaining, engaging in increased prayer and scripture reading as mere curtains. We close the inner curtain on that hot stove, never really getting rid of it, never allowing Jesus and His team to take it away, so that on Easter Monday we can tear open the curtain and get right back to that hot stove of sin.
Fine Pastor, youâ€™re right. I gave up M&Ms and one hour of TV, but that hot stove of sin remains, and even though I would prefer not to, Iâ€™ll probably go right back at it after Lent. You see Pastor, I do not know how to really get rid of that sin. Can the Church help me, give me some strategies to get rid of that sin?
Yes, and as with all the answers it begins with Jesus, looking to Him and what He faced.
We might see the temptations as something that happened at the end of Jesusâ€™ fasting and prayer in the desert, but it was far more than that.
Jesus, as is often said, was tempted in every way we are. As soon as He began to get hungry, thirsty, tired, motivated to give it all up and go home, the Tempter came. The Tempter accused Him of being weak, unable to finish His mission, a disappointment to His Heavenly Father. We can hear that canâ€™t we â€“ because we face that Tempter all the time. He accuses and blames us â€“ all directed at our giving up hope, giving up God.
The Tempter wanted Jesus to denounce His own Father. At the end of the forty days the Tempter hit Jesus with all he had.
It was not just bread for hunger, but the temptation to satisfy every craving of the body â€“ food, drink, pleasure, quitting and being slothful. It was not just to throw oneself down from the parapet of the Temple, but to destroy oneself â€“ quit and kill Your own body Jesus. It was not just rule over all the kingdoms of the world, but to surrender oneself and oneâ€™s true power to the ruler of the world â€“ the Tempter.
Jesus, having faced all we face, and far more, would be tempted throughout His ministry and on the cross, yet He was loyal to His Fatherâ€™s will and did not sin.
These are the tools He used: prayer, studying scripture, speaking about the kingdom, fasting, communing in relationship centered on the Father. Guess what â€“ we can do all those things and have the same success.Â
Our success in getting rid of sin is that we will actually feel good, wonderful, fulfilled â€“ and if we find we hate that feeling, know the stove is being removed.