The Good Word for Sunday February 14th ~ for the complete readings click here.
My sophomore year of college I was part of a group of students who helped run orientation for incoming freshmen. During the orientation we were asked to share our most important piece of advice. My friend gave this advice, “Go to the bathroom whenever you want. Stand up in the middle of class and leave. If you gotta go, go.” This guy is a college professor now.
At the time I thought it was funny and maybe a little too specific. Only later did I realized at the core of what he was saying is that we are all given free will to make our own decisions and then experience the results of those choices.
Knowing that we all have the ability to make choices for ourselves makes this gospel story of Jesus Christ resisting the temptations of the devil even more powerful. Sometimes we forget that Jesus was 100% human (and 100% God). He knows what it is like to be tempted.
After 40 days without food, Jesus must have been hungry. Knowing his mission was to save the world, ruling over the world must have been tempting. Knowing that he would have to suffer to accomplish his mission, he must have wondered if shouldn’t test God to see if God would save him from suffering.
Yet, Jesus chose to be obedient to God instead. He chose his relationship with God over all else. If we are going to learn to be like Jesus, we must seek to try and live like Christ.
This is what we do in Lent. When we give up something we desire, it isn’t because we want to lose weight or just be more disciplined. We are saying, “I choose to obey God. I chose God over all else.” Why do we do what we do in Lent? For God. When we practice sacrificing something small, we get better at choosing God over all else.
Connect prayer to your Lenten sacrifices. Did you give up something this Lent? Every time you desire it, say a quick prayer. Here are some suggested prayers: “Glory to you, God!” “All for you, Jesus” “Jesus, you above all else” or even just pray his name, “Jesus.” By connecting prayer to our practice, we make our actions about our relationship with God instead of just for ourselves.