February 25

Matthew 4:1-4

“He fasted for forty days and forty nights, and afterwards he was famished. The tempter came and said to him, ‘If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.’ “ vss. 2-3

It had been an exhilarating and exhausting time for Jesus. First, he had gone for baptism at the Jordan, and in the immediate aftermath he had heard a voice saying, “You are my Son, my Beloved. With you I am well-pleased.” But then he had been led by the Spirit into the wilderness for a long period of fasting, a debilitating process that left him hungry and vulnerable. And it was then the tempter came. “You should,” the devil suggested, “test God! Was that experience at the Jordan real or imagined?” That’s how the tempter still operates. When we’re at a low point, depressed about life and discouraged, perhaps questioning whether we really have value, the voice comes. “Is God real or a figment of my imagination? Am I loved by God? Does anyone really care about me in a special way? Perhaps if we tested those who claim to love us we could find out for sure!” And that’s what some do! We withdraw from community and from our lovers. We test the limits of our relationships just to see how folks will respond when we’re out of line. How good it is when we recognize the voice of the tempter, call off the testing, and remain committed to our call to serve and love.

Thought for the Day: When am I most vulnerable to temptation?

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