Recently, I have heard a few new words that I am getting my head around; our bodies can get into a parasyemparthetic state, our minds have the capability of neuroplasticity and we need to be concerned at the rise of what-about-ism!
During March and April, the church has a 40-day countdown to Easter called Lent. It is time to give up or take up things that will benefit our relationship with God. One of the words we associate with Lent is temptations, but what does it mean? Apart from being a long-running Motown ensemble group, we usually think of temptations as things we shouldn’t do but like anyway; eating cake and drinking wine!
Jesus was tempted in the desert for 40 days. He was tempted with turning stones into bread (he was hungry), changing his allegiance and gaining authority over the nations and demonstrating his power and identity as God’s son to others. Now, these seem to be okay things to do. We can think about temptations in terms of having too much of a good thing or as bad things that we shouldn’t do. The news reminds us that people are tempted with many different moral choices and our actions can have a damaging effect on ourselves and others.
Sometimes, the choices that we have can seem like Jesus’ temptations; not really bad things in themselves. The reason why Jesus said no to his temptations was because of his friendship with God; he had committed to fasting for God, was only going to serve God and was not going to show-off just to win followers for God. Jesus said no to things that would harm his relationship with God.
When we face decisions in life, they may not be clearly right or wrong; we could do this, or we could do that? Which should we choose? I am challenged by Jesus to consider the impact of my decisions on the most important relationship in my life; how does doing this affect my friendship with God, my family or my relationships with others?
Sometimes we need to say no to something, when we are tempted to say yes, not because it is a bad thing to do. But, by saying no, we are actually saying yes to an important relationship in our lives; to prioritising those most important to us, by not spreading our time commitments to thinly and by keeping our promises to our loved ones.