Mark 1:12-13 – The Temptation of Jesus
And the Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. He was in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels waited on him.
I have a sweet tooth. A really bad sweet tooth. I love just about anything sweet – especially frosted sugar cookies. I know there’s nothing healthy or healthful about them, but I love them. Sugary treats are one of my temptations and one of my vices. In the grand scheme, however, these are minor compared to some of the temptations that people face. For some the temptation to go back to drink or to inject or any of a host of other things can be far more damaging and painful than resisting the urge to eat a sugar cookie. In the wilderness, Jesus faced temptations – Mark doesn’t go into detail, but the other Gospels talk of Jesus being tempted to turn stones into loaves of bread (satisfy his hunger), to test the providence of God by jumping off the pinnacle of the temple, and by power (receiving all the kingdoms of the world in exchange for worshiping Satan). Yet, Jesus resists all these temptations as he moves into his public ministry. He resists by going back to Scripture and the promises that are much more reliable than those of the devil.
One of the things about temptation is that we often don’t see clearly when tempted – we don’t make decisions as we normally might, our brains and emotions get fuzzy, and we fall. For me, the key is resisting before I get to the place where things seem a bit out of focus – eating a protein bar when hungry instead of zipping down to the bakery for example…
What are the temptations you face? How do you handle them? Do you give in? Do you resist? What makes a difference in how you respond?