Welcome to the Lenten blog! Our hope is that in the next six weeks this will be a place where we can talk about things that really matter in our lives. Every week we will look at where God is in different aspects of our lives. This week we focus on “Where is God in temptation?”
In your life, how do you experience temptation? How do you deal with that enticing urge or impulse toward something unwise or wrong? What persistently tempts you?
In Lent Jesus is “led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted…” (Matthew 4:1). Jesus faced persistent temptations. Power. Fulfillment. The freedom to go it alone.
Franciscan friar Richard Rohr reframes the word temptation into the word ‘distraction’ – as in whatever tempts our eye or hand or heart away from God. We found that a very helpful reframing. We started to make a list of everything that tempts us away from God. We soon developed quite a list:
- The beeping noise my phone makes when I have a new text message
- A sense of my own self-importance
- The idea that I will work on my spiritual life when I have more time and energy to spend on it
- The relentless onslaught of images and sound
- Going it alone – to think that we don’t need others to get through life
- Blaming ourselves
- Chasing after success that has nothing to do with what we actually value
- Denial of realities
Where is God in all of these temptations and distractions? Loving us? The one to whom we pray? The one who draws us back and centers us?
Every Sunday, when we say the Lord’s prayer we pray, “Lead us not into temptation.. lead us not into distraction.” The temptations Jesus faced in the wilderness distracted Jesus, and we face those same temptations and more today. Our hope and prayer is that God lead us not into temptation/distraction!
Questions for discussion:
How do you experience temptation/distraction in your life?
What helps you resist or move past temptations and distractions? Is it serving others?
Is it spending time with family and friends? Is it spending time in prayer and study?
Is it spending more time in nature?
Let us pray as Jesus taught us to pray: