Sunday, March 1, 2020

Lenten Reflections, Day Five, The first Sunday of Lent, Will you follow the example of Jesus?


Day Five, First Sunday of Lent
Following the example of Jesus or accepting the counterfeit offerings of the ego?

Jesus Is Tested in the Wilderness, Matthew 4: 1-11
4 Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted[a] by the devil. 2 After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 3 The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”
4 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’[b]”
5 Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. 6 “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written:
“‘He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands,  so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’[c]”
7 Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’[d]”
8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. 9 “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”
10 Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’[e]”
11 Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.

The three temptations of Jesus were material things (bread), arrogance and pride, and political power over others. Jesus is a smart guy and He sees through the illusory and empty promises of the ego. Jesus knows crap when it is offered to Him. Jesus is choosing the path of the spirit instead of the path of the ego.

The ego offers Jesus the things of the ego world and Jesus has the presence of mind to side step and rise above these offerings because He chooses something more important. Jesus chooses the Love of God over the things of the ego world. Jesus gives up the illusory pleasures of the ego in favor of something much more authentic, genuine, and fulfilling.

Jesus tells the ego that the ego’s offerings are not enough for there is something far more important to HIm which He has put His faith in. The purpose of Lent is not to inflict deprivation, but to remind us that we have the power of choice to choose a way of life which is much more fulfilling and honest than the ways of the world. Lent is about reminding us of our power to choose between the illusory things society has conditioned us to choose for what it considers worldly comfort and success or things of the Spirit which are genuine and eternal.

What are you choosing this Lent? Will you follow the example of Jesus and choose the things of the Spirit or will you choose to follow the suggestions of the ego?

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