Between wiping my beagle’s bottom, wiping the kitchen floor and standing outside in the cold while she strains to go, I’m writing my sermon for this Sunday. I hear you Baptists gasping. Some of you.
We follow the Liturgical Calendar at the church I attend and this Sunday, the first Sunday of Lent, is all about temptation.
And since the WordPress word of the day is “doubt,” I thought I’d share a little of what I’m writing – just to put Jesus on the grid.
I’m highlighting the crafty tools the devil uses to tempt us, reruns of the ways he tempted Jesus.
One such crafty tool is doubt.
“Then the devil took him to the holy city and placed him on the pinnacle of the temple, saying to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down; for it is written,
‘He will command his angels concerning you,’
and ‘On their hands they will bear you up,
so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.’” – Matthew 4
Jesus was tired. He was weak. He was forty days fasted. But He wasn’t stupid. And He had no doubt.
“Are you kidding me?,” He replied. “‘If you are the Son of God’? Please. What did my Father say right back there at the end of chapter 3, right before you led me into this God-forsaken wilderness? I’ll give you a hint: ‘This is my Son!‘”? [paraphrase, italics, bold, underline and exclamation point mine.]
Jesus wasn’t stupid, but we are. Sometimes. He didn’t doubt, but we do. Often. He had nothing to prove, but we think we do. And that’s when the temptation to lie, cheat, claw, and shamelessly promote ourselves while holding others back does its best.
This particular trick of the devil’s trade – doubt – probably hits teenagers the hardest. They want to know: Do I have what it takes? Am I desirable?
Do I have what it takes to be popular, to be cool, to get a man, to succeed, to make you proud?
That’s all they want to know.
And in seeking the answers to those questions they are enticed to do some foolish and sadly sleazy things.
Beat the devil at his game. Instead of fasting from something this Lent, take something on. Take on the challenge of telling your teens – in big, small, creative and crafty ways – every day for the next 40 days – that they DO have what it takes, that they ARE desirable – to everyone who does and will matter.
Tell them in ways that aren’t obvious. Tell them in ways that are true.
Tell them, tell them, tell them.
And leave no doubt.
I’m not going to say all this on Sunday ‘cuz I’ve got other stuff to say, but the word of the day got me elaborating.
Who’s had a paczke?