We need to fast forward to the part we need: virgin birth, weird guy at temple, did teen Jesus just sass his parents, dunked by cousin, bird, voice of God, hungry for 40 days. Then, the devil shows up and tempts Jesus.
Hang on did it just say…that’s right… Jesus was TEMPTED. Let that sink in. If Jesus was tempted, then that means that temptation itself is not bad.
In fact, I think it could be quite the opposite, but not if we insist on feeling guilty for being tempted. Why do we feel guilty? I feel guilty about temptation because I think it means I am weaker than I should be spiritually, but (unlike the dowager countess) I am wrong.
You see, Jesus 40 days of fasting was an indication to the people in Jesus’ time that he was at the height of spiritual strength. If Jesus, at his strongest point is tempted, then that means that temptation has nothing to do with whether or not we are spiritually strong or weak.
It means that being tempted does not mean you’re bad. Being tempted does not mean you’re spiritually weak. In short, being tempted is nothing the feel guilty about.
Why not? Jesus didn’t wallow in guilt because he was being tempted after 40 days of fasting. Rather, when he was tempted, his response was to quote scripture. For him, it was an opportunity to lean into his relationship with God. Jesus used the lure of temptation to motivate him to get closer to God.
If we will let go of our self-imposed guilt and respond by drawing close to God or opening the scriptures to hear God’s voice, temptation can be a gift. Temptation can cause us to grow closer to God.
I don't know if your temptation is chocolate, gossip or something else, but this week let go of the guilt and draw closer to God.