Message Notes 03 01 20 Temptation LENT 1 Based on Matthew 4

What kind of temptations do we face? 

 

Probably the most obvious spoken of is sexual? 

Driving down the freeway  

See billboards advertising  

So, in your face about it!  

 

What others?  

Money, 

Power,  

Food 

Drugs 

Any kind of overindulgence in material things 

 

Sometimes we are tempted to “put God to the test” 

Do this for me God  

Prove yourself to me  

The original quid pro quo  

 

Temptation to look down on others 

To label others 

To somehow make ourselves feel or appear better  

 

Many times, the temptation can get into our subconscious  

Or even unconsciously affect us  

Even if we are trying not to focus on it  

 

It seems that one of the biggest areas of our temptation is control  

We want to control others  

Control what happens to the world and us in it  

 

 

In some ways, Jesus is at his weakest point in the narrative 

Fasting for forty days 

Should easily succumb to the temptation 

 

But he had also just been baptized with the Holy Spirit 

He was prepared for this temptation 

Because of his knowledge 

Perhaps being out in the desert actually helped him 

To see things a little more clearly 

 

Where sometimes 

when you are in the middle of the city or a social area 

It can be distracting 

 

Willpower doesn’t work  

Man, willpower just does not work! 

 

We learn that real quick in the story of Eden 

How quickly the dust creatures fall to temptation  

To be like God  

And just for the pure pleasure of eating the fruit  

 

So, we definitely have Adam and Eve to blame 

For our predicament

Right!?

 

Sometimes I feel like we are so often pointing the finger at everyone else 

Telling everyone else they are wrong  

Telling everyone else what they need to do 

But how often do we simply look at ourselves?  

 

Who has ever been tempted before in your life? 

Who has ever succumbed to temptation? 

 

When we are at our strong points 

We feel like we can conquer the world 

No temptation could ever derail us 

 

But then we find ourselves 

in a weak moment or time period 

 

I like to think of it this way in terms of food 

Sometimes I am really trying not to eat a particular food 

 

I tried to go vegan for a while and lasted 7 months 

It was very difficult to join in at church functions 

let me tell you! 

 

Most of the time I just try to make sure 

I am eating enough vegetables 

Because that seems to be difficult 

 

And trying to avoid things 

I think might not be healthy for me 

 

I learned very quickly however 

that it makes all the difference 

Whether or not I have easy access to the food I don’t want 

 

I could go the whole day doing great 

High-fiving myself 

Patting myself on the back 

 

And then all of a sudden 

in the middle of the night get a hungering 

And start munching on snacks that I don’t want 

 

But it is hard to just say no when faced with such hunger 

 

Willpower doesn’t work 

I think about time that I spend on social media a lot as well 

Sometimes it is useful 

Sometimes I find myself wanting to go on and check things 

For no real reason 

When I would be much happier if I had just read a book 

 

Willpower does not work 

 

But we can do things to prepare ourselves 

To make it easier on us when times are difficult 

And we might easily fall to temptation 

 

If there is nothing available when that hunger hits 

that I don’t want 

Then I won’t eat it 

 

Or maybe there is something available 

that is a healthier option 

And if it is right there 

I can choose that option 

 

Maybe it means having an accountability partner 

 

Maybe it means putting the phone away 

when getting home and on silent 

Maybe it means joining a group of likeminded people 

Trying to stop together, supporting one another 

 

It should mean reading our Bibles 

and praying to God constantly 

To be prepared for anything that might come up 

 

And also, for many like me, 

it means getting rid of all the unhealthy stuff completely 

if possible 

Redoing the kitchen 

 

But,

How to stop controlling? 

Desiring power? 

 

By putting other things around me 

that teach me the importance of life 

Reminds me of the specialness of all life 

So that I stop trying to dominate 

Or take too much of something for myself 

 

Maybe it means getting outside of myself 

Seeing how others live 

 

Maybe it means all of the above 

 

 

Inherent goodness of creation 

Very goodness of humanity 

Before the “fall” 

But it’s completely messed up 

Because we are just a speck of dust in the universe 

And when we try to assert our dominance over others  

Things can go terribly wrong  

 

We must come to everything with humility  

 

Because we know 

just how terrible the human species can be  

Even though we can also do some beautiful amazing things! 

 

We can’t do it  

We just need to let God have Gods way  

Our willpower is not going to get it done!  

 

We need to be here in church 

We need to see the cross 

 

Confess our sins 

Over and over again 

Because we need to be reminded over and over again! 

 

We need this time of Lent 

Each year 

 

We need to hear the good news preached again and again 

Receive God’s mercy once again 

Because we can’t do it on our own

 

We know that our willpower doesn't work,

So let's let God's will be done!

 

Amen!

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