Summary: A sermon for Lent 1 that explores what it means to be at the crossroad between God’s way of life and Satan’s promises
We are constantly confronted with crossroads in our life.
What happens at these crossroads can have a dramatic effect on our lives.
Not just now, but also for many years down the track
Each Sunday in Lent we will explore some of these crossroads.
Today’s Gospel reading sees Jesus at a crossroad.
A crossroad that is significant for Him and for each of one us.
The crossroad, where salvation and temptation meet. Where God’s way of life meets Satan’s short term promises that Satan can not fulfill.
In today’s reading we see that Jesus has been lead into the wilderness.
Surprisingly not by Satan, but by the Holy Spirit.
This is an indication that the wilderness is not bad in itself.
There have been a number of times when I have thought why on earth has God placed me in a particular situation.
A situation that is difficult.
Where I have felt all-alone.
With no one to talk to, even though I may be around a lot of people.
Ever been there??
Felt like you were in a desert?
Then later on I have discovered that this period of wilderness prepared me for something else.
God used that difficult time to prepare me for the future.
In those difficult times, I learnt a lot more about myself, my relationships with God and others.
And one of the most important things I learnt is that I need God.
As Deuteronomy 8:16 tells us,
the difficult times humble us, to do us good in the end.
The difficult situations often place us right at a crossroad.
Where we are faced with at least two roads.
Both roads are likely to be tough.
One of these roads lead to salvation.
To eternity with God.
This road is sometimes a hilly road, not attractive but it always leads to God.
It is the road we take when we listen to God, rely on God, trust God, and do what pleases God.
Everyday you probably experience this road,
because God has created you and God has claimed you through baptism.
You are on God’s road to eternity when you ask yourself first of all:
“What does God want me to do in this situation?”
You are unlikely to be on this road when you ask:
How can I make or save the most money?
How can I make my life easier?
How can I make everyone love me?
and you are absolutely not on this road when you ask how can I gain or keep power?
But when you ask what does God want me to do in this situation?
When you put God at the centre of your life, you are on the salvation road.
In doing so we are allowing our lives to be guided by God.
And as you are probably aware this does not always mean that life will always be easy.
Because we live amongst people and in a society that has a different set of priorities as ourselves.
So at times, when we listen to God, life can be difficult.
But this does not mean God has left us to our own devices.
We should never forget this, even though we may feel alone, scared or worried,
We should remember the words of David in Psalm 23
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil, for you are with me;
your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
The unfortunate thing is that sometimes the other road appears more attractive.
The road that Satan offers, often looks very enticing
but it will eventually stop at a dead end.
This road is the one where we ignore God,
we throw away God’s advice.
And we do things like listen to the snake of the Old Testament, which says, “Does God really say that?”
Or we assume we know what God wants from us without reading the bible,
without consulting what he says.
So when confronted with what to do, our questions are not what does God want for us, or intend for us.
On this other road, we rarely ask what does God want us to do?
Perhaps you have been on the receiving end of someone acting like this, who will do almost anything to ensure they look after themselves.
Now I am not saying we don’t think of ourselves, our families or our situation.
What I am saying is that we look at ourselves in the light of God.
In what God wants.
In what God intended for each of us.
In general terms this is to love and serve Him and the people around us.
And we display this by asking, “how can I help the person next to me at home, here at church, at work, at school, the people living around me.”