Saturday, January 14, 2017

Temptation Never Stops

Today is what the Orthodox Church refers to as the “Leavetaking” of the Feast of Theophany. This means today is the conclusion to the celebration by the Church of the baptism of our Lord God and Savior Jesus Christ. As part of this closing of the feast, the Church returns to the Scripture readings which were read during the Feastday celebrations. Here is today’s Gospel according to Luke 4:1-15 (RSV)
At that time Jesus returned from the Jordan, and was led by the Spirit for forty days in the wilderness, tempted by the devil. And he ate nothing in those days; and when they were ended, he was hungry. The devil said to him, "If you are the Son of God, command the stone to become bread." And Jesus answered him, "It is written, 'Man shall not live by bread alone.'" And the devil took him up, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time, and said to him, "To you I will give all this authority and their glory; for it has been delivered to me, and I will give it to whom I will. If you, then, will worship me, it shall all be yours." And Jesus answered him, "It is written, 'You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve.'" And he took him to Jerusalem, and set him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to him, "If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here; for it is written, 'He will give his angels charge of you, to guard you,' and 'On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.'" And Jesus answered him, "It is said, 'You shall not tempt the Lord your God.'" And when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from him until an opportune time. And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee, and a report concerning him went out through all the surrounding country. And he taught in their synagogues, being glorified by all.
We all know the world can be filled with temptation and struggle. We all know that every day is a choice to either follow the Lord or follow satan. And we “should” know that satan will never give up trying to get us to bow down to him rather than to the Lord. As today’s reading reminds us, he doesn’t even stop at Christ Who is God Himself. What makes us think we will ever escape his temptations? Remember the warning that Christ gave to His disciples. “Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him.” (John 13.16) If we are Disciples of Christ, then we are His servants. If we are His servants, we are not greater than Him who sent us.

Next time you feel the temptation to abandon Christ, not only should you fight it, but you should accept it as a badge of honor that you are on the right path toward following Christ. If you had already abandoned God, the devil would be trying so hard!

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