The Truth about (and trouble with) Temptation

A personal Lenten (life) reflection

Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil (Matthew 4.1)

At Jesus’ baptism, the heavens opened, God’s Spirit visibly descended upon him, and the voice of God spoke. All confirmations of Jesus’ calling. Then, immediately, came the initial test of his devotion to his cause.

Testing is embedded in the fabric of human existence. My existence. For I have learned that whenever I declare, “I believe…” or make a commitment to something or a promise, a pledge to someone, then (whether immediately or gradually) inevitably the chance and circumstance of life will conspire to challenge my integrity. Did I mean what I said? And my fidelity. Will I do what I said?

Desiring lessening risk or worry, I could choose a path of what I’ll term nihilistic narcissism (or is it narcissistic nihilism?), thus, believing (in) nothing and claiming no responsibility for anyone or anything.

Eschewing these options (for, yes, I am sinfully self-interested, yet not that sinfully self-interested!), temptation is omnipresent. Nevertheless, this is a truth and trouble with which I can and will live.

© 2023 PRA

Illustration: The Temptation of Christ (1872), Vasily Ivanovich Surikov (1848-1916)

2 thoughts on “The Truth about (and trouble with) Temptation

  1. Thank you Paul! Life wouldn’t be nearly as challenging or interesting or authentic without temptation.



  2. I agree with you, my dear Loretta. Although, I also confess, in the light and shadow of the sometimes-very-hard pulls of temptations, at those times, I wish that my life wasn’t so “challenging or interesting”! Still, I do desire to be and to remain authentic, so I have to bear the weight (and, sometimes, worry) of those things that beset and befall! Thus, as I wrote, “temptation (being) omnipresent…is a truth and trouble with which I can and will live.”



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