[#pictureLent] February 14: TEST

By Carolyn Hall Williamson
Grace UMC
St. Augustine, FL

First, read Luke 4:1-13

In this scripture we find Jesus full of the Holy Spirit — which sounds like a good thing, right? However, it also says that the Sprit led him into the wilderness where he was tempted for forty days by the devil.

We are all tempted and tested in life. John Wesley wrote on this subject and said that the temptation to sin does not go away, not even for those who have matured to Christian perfection.

Even as Jesus is led by the Spirit, he is still tempted. Though Jesus resisted the temptation of the devil, the devil simply said, “I’ll come back a better time.” This cautions us to remember that though we may resist a temptation once, it does not mean it is permanently conquered.

The worst thing we can say to ourselves is, “I’m fine. I don’t need any help.” 

My brother, a firefighter/EMT, told me the story of a man staying at a hotel in town on business. He told his wife over the phone he wasn’t feeling well and explained his symptoms. She wanted him to go to the hospital and he refused. She called 911 to the hotel and as the man answered the door to the EMT’s he said, “I’m fine. I don’t need any help.” He then had a massive heart attack. After the EMT’s shocked his heart he sat up again and said, “I’m fine. I don’t need any help.”

Brothers and sisters in Christ, we are going to be continuously tempted and tested throughout our lives. We aren’t fine. We need help. The Holy Spirit is available to us all providing grace, strength and courage to resist those things that seek to separate us from God.

Prayer: Gracious God, give me the strength to resist temptation in action, word and thought to those things that harm myself and those I love. Help me be aware of the ways temptation sneaks into my life. Help me to do your will and not my own. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Discussion/Reflection Questions:

1.    In what ways is temptation a part of our everyday lives? What steps do you take to resist these temptations?

2.    Have you ever said, “I’m fine. I don’t need any help” when you really did? What happened? How do you think it would have been different if you had sought the help of the Holy Spirit?

3.    What does it mean that Jesus was full of the Holy Spirit and yet the Spirit led him into the wilderness where he experienced forty days of temptation?