Each year, as I spend the season preparing my heart for the joy that Easter brings, I always feel more motivated and more steadfast in my resolve to try to live a life that is worthy of the gospel. This year’s season of Lent has been a great time to refocus, prioritize, and be disciplined.
What about when Lent is over? What happens after those few days of celebrating Easter with worship services, family gatherings, and indulgent meals (yay, desserts again!)?
My resolve seems to fade and I am soon back to my old ways. I stop spending time in the Word. My prayers get shorter and less purposeful. Bad habits and other struggles return. I check my pride less and am not mindful of assuming a posture of humility. I stop being conscientious of the needs of others around me and focus on myself.
But, I want this post-Lent and Easter season to be different. I want to live a gospel-centered life every day of the year. I want to continually live a life worthy of being a co-heir with Christ.
With this in view, I am drawn to Matthew 4 where we see how Jesus interacts with the devil who is tempting him at the end of his 40-day fast as he prepares to begin His ministry. Here are some of my thoughts on the three temptations in this passage:
First temptation: The devils tempts Jesus to turn the stones into bread, if he is indeed the Son of God.
Jesus’s response: “Man shall not live on bread alone”
Satan will try to appeal to our basic human needs and desires. But God is the only One who satisfies and His Word is our nourishment.
Second temptation: The devil tempts Jesus to throw himself off the temple, because God said he will send angels to attend Him.
Jesus’s response: “You shall not put the LORD your God to the test”.
Satan will try to appeal to our ability to rationalize doing what we know is not right or is not beneficial - because God is always there for us, right? We can always go back to Him, right? I know He will forgive me anyway, so this one time won’t be a big deal, right?. But, God’s provision of love, grace and mercy is not a license to do what is harmful or test Him for the sake of testing Him.
Third temptation: The devil claims he will give Jesus all the kingdoms of the earth, if Jesus will just bow down and worship him.
Jesus’s response: “Go Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.’”
Satan will try to appeal to our deep desire to be significant. But we know that we only have significance through worshiping and serving the God who created us, the true King.
In all of these temptations, the devil tries to appeal to Jesus’s human senses, desires, and longings - both basic and deep. He twists scripture, makes false promises, and taunts Jesus to prove that He is the Son of God. Jesus responds by appropriately applying scripture, remaining firm in God’s promises, and secure in His own identity.
Prayers for this post-Lenten season:
- that I will remain in awe of my Father, Creator, Savior and King.
- for my focus to be on His Kingdom and doing His will, rather than my own.
- for strength and nourishment through His Word.
- that I will assume a posture of humility and repentance and cultivate a culture of forgiveness in my life.
- that I will be able to resist the devil and resist returning to my old, sinful ways.
- to look to God as my Rescuer and Deliverer.
- that I will sing His praises and rejoice every day that His is the kingdom and the power and the glory, forever and ever!