Tested by Temptation

Don’t Sit Near The Fire If Your Head Is Made Of Butter

“Sorry, we are off to church for service, I’ll call you tomorrow,” I promised Ed, my old neighbor from Saskatchewan. He was less than understanding about our need to attend church on a Wednesday evening. I tried to explain that many folks attend church for Ash Wednesday.

In our conversation, the next day Ed asked, “So did you have ashes pasted on your forehead as a cross, last night at church?” I said that it was to remind me that I am sinful and mortal. Ash Wednesday begins the season of Lent and leads Christians to Good Friday and, then the celebration of Easter Sunday. It is a time of repentance, voluntary fasting and self-denial for those who understand the power of temptation, sin and death for themselves and others. 

Sin begins when we are tempted and give in to the temptation, rather than, ignoring it or getting away from it. The devil tempted Eve to disobey God and eat of the tree in the middle of the Garden of Eden. The devil knew that if Eve gave into temptation, she would suffer for disobeying God. Satan did not care that Eve would suffer as he wanted to both hurt Eve and God.

Temptations are meant to deceive us. They are aimed at our weak spots. Eve wanted to be like or equal to God rather than less than God, as one called to obey and trust God. Temptations come to us because we are open to them. Perhaps we don’t want to be delivered from temptation at least certain ones. Sometimes we are like little Richard who was told by his mother to come straight home from school and not to stop at the baseball field. After school. Richard decided to carry his ball and glove with him just in case he was tempted.

Martin Luther said, “Don’t sit near the fire if your head is made of butter.” Temptation always gets hotter the closer we get to it. It would have been hard for Eve to pick the forbidden fruit if she stayed clear of it, say a hundred yards away.

When Adam and Eve sinned, they brought the brokenness of sin to us all. We know of good and evil but fail always to do good. We all sin and fall short of the glory of God. If we claim we have not sinned, we make God out a liar, and his word has no place in our lives. By the disobedience of Adam and Eve many were made sinners, so by the obedience of Jesus, many are made righteous.

Jesus, God’s Son, while here on earth, faced temptations and did not give into them. Although tempted he remained sinless. Jesus came to be the Lamb of God willing to give his innocent life in exchange for our sinful ones. The blood of Jesus, God’s Son, purifies us from all sin. If we confess our sins, God is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

The season of Lent reminds us that the devil is our tempter, feeding us what we crave. He is like a farmer fattening up his pigs for slaughter.

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Raymond Maher
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