Temptation and Lent: A Few Thoughts

Temptation and Lent.

Everybody experiences temptation. No matter how spiritual you are or how long you’ve followed Christ, you have been tempted. Sometimes this experience seems like a faint whisper, and other times it’s an unbearable shout in your mind.Regardless of how it sounds, you know just what temptation feels like. 

But if someone asked, could you define the term?

Lets try it. Here’s what I’m going with today: Temptation is simply an enticement to take a God-given desire beyond/outside of God-given boundaries.

Think about it: In what ways are you most often tempted? In the area of material possessions? Intimacy? Companionship? Food? Comfort? Convenience? These are all things that God not only created but also uses to bless His people.  They are all good gifts, but the problem comes when we—who still carry around the old programming of the old stories we used to believe—take those drives beyond the healthy limits that God has set for our lives.  We choose to believe the lie that there is something better than trusting in God and continuing to abide in his love. 

Let’s make it even clearer: the enemy wants nothing less than to destroy your life, erode your trust in God, and see the good work you’ve committed to fade from a clear and compelling vision into a shadow of a dream you used to have.  We see this in our families, in our lives, and yes- even in our church plant.  A few temptations you may experience a year into the work of planting a church:

* The temptation for bigger and faster without the Spirit.
* The temptation of “comfortable Christianity” instead of sacrificial self service.
* The temptation of finding our identity in our work instead of our Savior.
* The temptation to allow small sins to creep in, after all we are doing good in our city! 
* The temptation to invest our money in our own comfort instead of God’s kingdom agenda.
* The temptation turn back from the work of shared kingdom life for more comfortable or convenient friendships. 
* The temptation to find more comfort in food, drink, sex, or Netflix than we do in Jesus. 

* The temptation to let discouragement move our eyes from the hope of the gospel. 
* The temptation to quit. 

The list goes on, but we are not immune. Keep guard over your heart for out of it life springs up.  God is working in and through Missio Dei Mesa, and I’m glad to be a part of this family.  As you continue to prayerfully evaluate your own life in light of the gospel this season of Lent, be aware of the temptations you are experiencing.  Admit your humanity. Cling to your savior.  And persevere.