“We gain the strength of the temptation we resist.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
The temptations of Jesus are quite profound.
The first temptation of Jesus goes to his very divinity. Jesus was truly the Son of God. He was also truly human and, therefore, very hungry. Satan tempted Jesus to prove His divinity by providing for His physical hunger. “If you are the Son of God, turn these stones into bread.” Jesus’ response was to affirm that He desired not to fill Himself on earthly food, but on the will of His Heavenly Father.
The second temptation attempts to have Jesus manifest His own power in such a way as to fall into self glory, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down.” After all, the angels will surround Him lest He fall.
The third temptation speaks to the human “need” for power and glory, indeed, to “have it all.” There’s only one hitch, however. Jesus would have to serve the devil instead of God: “I will give you all of this if you fall down and worship me.”
Hunger drives us all. Sometimes we hunger for bread. Other times we hunger for glory. Still other times we want the whole enchilada.
It cannot be that way with us.
We must strive for God and God’s way rather than to assert our own.
Herein lies the reality. If Jesus — the Son of God, True God and True Man — was tempted by the devil, what makes us think that we’re safe?
Temptation is going to be a very real part of our lives because the devil is a very real opponent. The sooner we realize that, the better off we all shall be.
Just remember, temptation is not sin. Temptation is an invitation to sin. We commit sin when we entertain our temptations or when we actually embrace the temptation.
We are called, like Christ, to reject temptation, to trust in God, and to live our lives not for ourselves, but, for God.
FAITH ACTION: Unlike Christ, we often fall and embrace temptation. In doing so, we sin. Pray for our young parishioners who are preparing for the First Confession this coming Saturday.