In Luke’s Gospel, the story of Jesus’ temptation in the desert appears just after Jesus’ baptism and before Jesus begins his public ministry. We can imagine this as a time of transition, a turning point in Jesus’ life. Perhaps we can liken it to one of the important turning points in our own lives: the decision to marry, the birth of a child, the acceptance of a new job, or the decision to move to a new home. After the moment of decision, having reached the point of no return, we sometimes begin to wonder if we are prepared and ready for the task before us.
Turning points can be times of doubt and insecurity. When young children experience moments of insecurity, they latch onto a security blanket. As we grow older, our “security blankets” become more sophisticated. When we face doubt or insecurities, temptations often enter in, enticing us to place our trust and confidence in something or someone other than God. Jesus’ response to the temptations of the devil offers an example for responding in faith when our doubts and insecurities tempt us to distrust God’s sufficiency. Jesus rebukes the devil by quoting Scripture. Each citation is an affirmation of trust in God. We learn to trust in big things by practicing trust in little things. Our Lenten practices of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving invite us to trust God in these small ways. They prepare us to trust in God in all things, especially in moments of doubt and uncertainty. They remind us that God will suffice for us and that the power of Christ alone compels us.
- What are some of the more sophisticated “security blankets” that adults turn to when experiencing doubts and insecurities?
- What was a “turning point” in your life when you experienced some degree of insecurity?
- Jesus responded to the devil with Scripture. What Scripture verse(s) can be helpful in battling temptations?
- What specific practices do you plan to begin this week to resist temptation and to reinforce that it is the power of Christ alone that compels you?
For complete materials on reflecting on the Lenten Scriptures, download free discussion materials for Lent.