During this Lenten season we are reminded that we are invited to be with Christ in the desert where he fasted, prayed and was tempted. I know that this doesn’t sound like an appealing invitation; however, if we accept it wholeheartedly, we can expect to find ourselves growing steadily in our life of faith.
This year because we are using the Gospel of St. Mark, his past weekend we were not presented with the three traditional temptations, i.e. turning stones to bread, leaping from the temple parapet and bowing before the tempter, rather, we are just told Jesus went into the desert to be tempted.
In some ways St. Mark’s more compact and less detailed description of the temptation in the desert offers us some greater flexibility in considering temptations in our lives. Very few of us have been asked to turn stones into bread or to leap off a tall building with no safety equipment, but we do face temptations to sin in other ways every day.
I encourage us all to consider that one area of our lives in which we find ourselves struggling the most, and to pray especially about this area throughout the 40 days of Lent. Reframing that encouragement, think about it this way, what is the one temptation we constantly find ourselves dealing with and failing to overcome. What is that one sin or failure that keeps hounding us and doesn’t seem to go away? Well, that is the temptation we need to pray about fervently this Lent because that is where the tempter is going to keep putting before us until, by God’s grace, we are set free, or made clean.
Perhaps this Lent we will finally be able to move beyond that one thing we most struggle with and move on to the other areas of our lives that still need a bit more Christ and a little less us.