"Jesus returned from the Jordan full of the Holy Spirit and was led by the Spirit into the desert, where he was tempted by the Devil for forty days. In all that time he ate nothing, so that he was hungry when it was over.
The Devil said to him, "If you are God's Son, order this stone to turn into bread."
But Jesus answered, "The scripture says, 'Human beings cannot live on bread alone.' "
Then the Devil took him up and showed him in a second all the kingdoms of the world. "I will give you all this power and all this wealth" the Devil told him. "It has all been handed over to me, and I can give it to anyone I choose. All this will be yours, then, if you worship me."
Jesus answered, "The scriptures says, 'Worship the Lord your God and serve only him.' "
Then the Devil took him to Jerusalem and set him on the highest point of the temple, and said to him, "If you are God's Son, throw yourself down from here. For the scripture says, 'God will order his angels to take good care of you.' It also says, 'They will hold you up with their hands so that not even your feet will be hurt on the stones.' "
But Jesus answered, "The scripture says, 'Do not put the Lord your God to the test.' "
When the Devil finished tempting Jesus in every way, he left him for a while."
Jesus made it out of the desert. Like us, he was tempted, but he never fell into sin. He was strengthened by this temptation and when he returned, he told his followers about his experience in order to teach them that the temptations of material things, power, and glory, are common but should be resisted so that God can be our full focus, that he can show his power through our humility, and that all the glory the world sees can be given to him.
But what Jesus didn't do is finish. Father Paul dreamed that at the end of these forty days, Jesus would've gotten a diploma. "Congratulations, you made it through temptation school, you're done."
We wish for that sometimes. As if temptations were on a checklist; as soon as we conquer one we check it off and never have to deal with it again. But anyone who's addicted to anything, be it harmless or fatal, will tell you that temptation never ends.
The Devil may have left Jesus, but not for ever, for a time. The Devil will always tempt us, and it will always be difficult to resist. The Good News is, every resisted temptation makes us stronger and God's strength and love for us will carry us through every temptation. And Jesus died so when we slip up, we can be forgiven. We're only 9 days into our own 40 days in the desert. Have you been tempted yet? It will happen. Again and again and again. Sometimes you'll give in, sometimes you won't. But don't give up just yet. Turn to Jesus for he's been through temptation, and he'll make you stronger for it.
Have a Jesus-filled day