Fight Another Day

Submitted by FatherAthanasios on Tue, 01/11/2022 - 08:55

Have you ever wondered why it is that human beings, even those who believe in God, must suffer temptation? Have you ever asked, “Can’t God just protect me from temptation?” Wouldn’t it be nice if we go through life without worrying about temptation around every corner? The answer sadly, is “no.” Without temptation, then we would lose our ability to show God that we choose Him over temptation. Without temptation, we would not be like God, because even Christ was tempted.

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 this 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. – Luke 4.1-15

The greatest way God can help us in our temptation is to remind us that He was also tempted, and that He knows our struggle. He defeated temptation without sin, so that He would be the perfect human example for us. If we are going to live like Christ, that includes fighting off temptation. I get it, we aren’t always successful, but God already knows our success rate. It is about the struggle, the willingness to fight against temptation that makes us like God.

Brethren, remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God; consider the outcome of their lives, and imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and for ever. Do not be led away by diverse and strange teachings; for it is well that the heart be strengthened by grace, not by foods, which have not benefited their adherents. We have an altar from which those who serve the tent have no right to eat. For the bodies of those animals whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest as a sacrifice for sin are burned outside the camp. So Jesus also suffered outside the gate in order to sanctify the people through his own blood. Therefore let us go forth to him outside the camp and bear the abuse he endured. For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city which is to come. Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God. – Hebrews 13.7-16

In today’s Epistle from Saint Paul’s letter to the Hebrews, we are also reminded that we have great spiritual leaders in the Church who are raised up for imitation. In the case of the leaders of the Church, unlike Christ, they were not always successful against temptation. In their lives, we have a great deal of inspiration. “If they could fight, so can we.”

The point today, my brothers and sisters, is that the fight has a purpose. The struggle has a purpose. Christ suffered so that we could be sanctified. We are sanctified when we struggle against temptation. Even when we fall victim to sin, we confess our sins, and rise to fight another day, just as the great leaders of our Church have done for so many centuries.

Say your prayers. Confess your sins. Fast. Help the poor. Read the Scriptures. GO TO CHURCH, prepared to receive Holy Communion. This is the life of the holy leaders of the Church that Saint Paul wants us to imitate. This is the that was given to us by Christ. Fight another day, and be sanctified by God.

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