Lent Devotion for March 9, 2019

Luke 4:1–13(NRSV)

The Temptation of Jesus
Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing at all during those days, and when they were over, he was famished. The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become a loaf of bread.” Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘One does not live by bread alone.’ ”

Then the devil led him up and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And the devil said to him, “To you I will give their glory and all this authority; for it has been given over to me, and I give it to anyone I please. If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours.” Jesus answered him, “It is written, 

‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve only him.’ ” 

Then the devil took him to Jerusalem, and placed him on the pinnacle of the temple, saying to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here, 10 for it is written, 

‘He will command his angels concerning you, to protect you,’11  and ‘On their hands they will bear you up, so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.’ ”

12 Jesus answered him, “It is said, ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’ ”13 When the devil had finished every test, he departed from him until an opportune time.

Times of preparation are found throughout Scripture. Moses spent 40 years in Midian, David was raised in Jesse’s house and then went on the run from King Saul, the Apostle’s journeyed three years with Jesus, Paul’s was trained over three years in Antioch after his conversion, and even Jesus had a period of testing and preparation before his public ministry. It is God’s way to prepare and even test as a means of strengthening believers. So it shouldn’t come as a shock to any of us when we experience seasons like this in our lives. The key, in my mind, is to recognize it and get the most out of it instead of taking a defeatist attitude at a test or bored at the preparation. Easier said than done I know!

We are in three places, or seasons, in life: preparation, active, resting. How we manage the preparation and resting phases directly impacts our active seasons. If we don’t take time for rest or if we hurry through the preparation we find ourselves in the place where ineffectiveness and burnout are a reality.

I love that Lent is a tangible reminder that life has seasons of preparation. In fact, the Lectionary begins in the Gospel with Jesus being tested in the desert by Satan to show us the reason for this season to exist.

Lord, you too had times of preparation and testing. If it was good for you how much more so for me? Give me patience and strength for the difficulties and patience and focus for the seasons of preparation. I give to you these few weeks of Lent and ask that you use them to your glory and my growth.