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Tempted, Tested, Strengthened

Our church is studying the book, “The Way:  Walking in the footstepsLent of Jesus”by Adam Hamilton during this Lenten season.  Pastor Jerry’s sermon this past Sunday highlighted the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry, where Jesus would not only be tempted and tested, but also strengthened for his purpose.

But first, let’s review what Lent is…. it is the 40 days prior to Easter (not including Sundays) that is a season of repentance and a time for us to drawer closer to God.  It is a time for us to prepare for the blessings of Good Friday and Easter morning.  Jesus showed us – – by His example – – that it IS possible to  overcome temptation and the messiness of our lives.

Jesus’ public ministry began when he went to his cousin John (yes, the one and only John the Baptist) and asked to be baptized.  It’s important to note that even though Jesus was sinless, he was baptized for our sake; not his.   Then Jesus went to the wilderness for the next 40 days to fast and pray.  And this is where the tempted, tested, and strengthened part comes in…

What was emphasized from this teaching, was that each of us face our own wilderness – – metaphorically – – when our lives feel empty like barren lands and we wrestle with evil, hurt, and doubt.  But even in our wilderness, we are not alone;  God is ever present with us!   He is there to guide us, if  we only listen to His still small voice.

Jesus was tempted  by Satan, first by food, then by fame, and last by power.  More importantly, not only was Jesus being tempted, he was also being tested… to see if he would remain steadfast.  Thank heaven He did! And this strengthened his resolve, and should likewise do the same for us.  We can do just anything through Christ who strengthens us!

As we walk in Jesus’ footsteps for the remainder of Lent, what wilderness are you currently wandering in?  What temptations are you wrestling with?  Remember, Jesus has shown us the way, and he was willing to die for us to prove it!

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