The past few days we have looked at the temptation of Jesus in the desert. All temptations have one thing in common: they entice us to resist the Lordship of God in our lives.
The first human temptation began with the Great Lie in the Garden of Eden, the lie that says we can live our best life outside the rules of God. It suggests that we need total autonomy to be happy. We know this temptation well.
Likewise, the three temptations Jesus faced in the desert are temptations we all face. They’re not exactly the same, of course, but his temptations represent three classic ways that we resist the Lordship of God in our lives.
First, we place sensual pleasure at the center of our concerns. We make eating, drinking, and sex our dominant concerns. But this is a mistake, for only God can legitimately fill that central position. This is why Jesus must confront this temptation, feeling its full weight, and then resist it for us.
Next, we are tempted by power. From political dictators to tyrants within families and friendships, power is alluring. This is the temptation Jesus faces as he is brought to the highest mountain and offered all the kingdoms of the world. Once more, on our behalf, acting for us, Jesus resists this temptation.
Finally, we tend to place honor in that central position. We want a high reputation, we want to be seen by everyone, admired and thought highly of. This is the temptation Jesus faces when he is taken to the parapet of the Temple, the highest place in the society of his time, the place of supreme visibility. And, for the third time, Jesus confronts and resists this temptation for us.
Today, I ask you to reflect on where you are right now. What are you doing in the garden of your life? Who is luring you and how? Are you buying into the Big Lie?
Where are you in desert? How do you stand up to the three great temptations: to sensual pleasure, to honor, and to power?