Summary: Research has shown that lots of our daily activities are done by habit, like walking, driving, going down stairs, even responding in stressful situations. Are some of our sinful behaviors more from our habits than from satan himself? We like to blame sata
1 Lent - Lutheran Lectionary Series C
On Being Tempted: Is It Satan or My Habits?
Rev. John Sattler
Holy Cross Lutheran Church
(Research has shown that lots of our daily activities are done by habit, like walking, driving, going down stairs, even responding in stressful situations. Are some of our sinful behaviors more from our habits than from satan himself? We like to blame satan for what we do, when most of our sin comes from within us. And the solution is only found in Jesus.)
The local sheriff was looking for a new deputy, and one of the applicants (who was not known to be the brightest academically) was called in for an interview. "Okay," began the sheriff, "What is 1 and 1?" "Eleven," said the applicant. The sheriff thought to himself, "That's not what I meant, but he's right."
Then the sheriff asked, "What two days of the week start with the letter 'T'?" "Today & tomorrow." he said. And the sheriff was again surprised at his answer, that actually made sense.
"Now, listen carefully, who killed Abraham Lincoln?", asked the sheriff. The job seeker seemed a little surprised, then thought really hard for a minute and finally admitted, "I don't know."
The sheriff replied, "Well, why don't you go home and work on that one for a while?"
The applicant left and wandered over to his pals who were waiting to hear the results of the interview. He greeted them with a cheery smile, "The job is mine! The interview went great! First day on the job and I'm already working on a murder case!"
In our reading today from the Gospel of Luke it's Jesus' first day on the job. He began the day with John’s baptism... where He officially begins His ministry as the Messiah (or the Christ)... which means He’s the One that God sent to be the Savior.
And then the very first thing He does after that is to spend 40 days in the Wilderness... which included this encounter with Satan.
The 40 days thing in the Wilderness is why we do Lent for 40 days... where the idea is that we spend some time, just like Jesus did, in reflecting on why we are here, and how much we need a Savior... that we’re NOT who God wants us to be, and that when we get to Easter, we appreciate what a great thing it is that Jesus actually came and lived for us and died for us so we can be sure of heaven.
And so the first thing Jesus did (after going public, so to speak) was to spend those days in prayer, and in union with His God...which is in itself and fascinating thing, that Jesus IS God and He’s spending time in prayer WITH His God...
But we’re told that while Jesus was in the Wilderness, that satan saw an opportunity to take Him on... and to see if he couldn’t poke at the human side of Jesus and maybe get Him to crack...and give in.
Cause sometimes I think we read stuff like this in the Bible and we kind of say to ourselves... why is this a deal? I mean, how hard can it be for Jesus to be tempted...how hard can it be for God to resist temptation? HE can do it, but I have a real hard time with temptation, and I don’t think God understands.
But He DOES!
I think it’s true that God DOESN’T struggle with temptation. As the creator of everything in the universe, including satan who was created originally as one of the angels... which are created beings just like you and me... God is so far beyond that, that satan doesn’t even try to challenge God. But he DOES poke at God where it hurts Him the most... as satan pokes at US... and he does everything he can to lead us away from God.
He does that because he wants to be like God. Which is the basic element of ALL sin... trying to be like God. God said don’t, but I know better.
That’s what really was going on in the Garden of Eden. When satan tempted Eve, the way he did that was by trying to convince her that God wasn’t trustworthy. He was not telling Eve everything. He finally won her over when he said to her,
4 "You will not surely die," the serpent said to the woman. 5 "For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil."
He told her that she would be “like God”.... which is ultimately what we all want. WE want to be in charge of our life. God has given us some really clear guidelines for living this side of heaven, but we choose instead to live life the way we want.