“Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil”
When we pray these words we are asking God to protect us and keep us on his safe path when the devil comes and tempts us.
Can you imagine what it must have been like to be the first and only person on earth. It’s one thing for us to be lonely it was another for Adam who had never known another human being. How much he must have missed no childhood, no parents no friends.
He was the first person made in the image of God and the first human to have a personal relationship with God. Fortunately, God didn’t let him wait too long before he presented him with an ideal companion Eve
As Adams descendants we all reflect to some degree the image of God as our life and worth comes from Gods Spirit.
In reality our worth comes not from our achievements but from the God of the universe who chooses to give us the mysterious and miraculous gift of life. Value it as he does.
In the garden there were two tree the Tree of Life which represents immortality, eternal youthfulness and the Tree of knowledge which represents mortality and the knowledge of good and evil – a tree of conscience
God gave Adam the responsibility for the garden and told him not to eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
Why would God place a tree in the garden and then forbid Adam to eat from it?
Rather than physically preventing him from eating from it he gave Adam the freedom to choose and thus the possibility of choosing wrongly.
God gives us choices and we too can choose wrongly. These wrong choices may cause pain, but they can help us learn and grow. Living with the consequences of our choices teaches us to think and chose more carefully
Obviously, Adam explained the rules of the garden to Eve when she joined him and how the Tree of Knowledge was off limits.
Disguised as a shrewd serpent Satan came to tempt Eve by making her think that sin is good, pleasant and desirable. However, she decided it looked so delicious and as the serpent persuaded her by saying that the minute, she ate it she too would be like God knowing good from evil. She looked, she took, and she ate. The battle is often lost with the first look as temptation often begins by seeing something you want. To make herself feel less guilty she involved Adam in her wrongdoing. Sadly, Adam didn’t think of the consequences and in one small act of rebellion he went ahead and ate it.
In that moment something large, beautiful and free was shattered and sin was brought into the world.
The Biblical meaning of Temptation is a ‘trial’ in which man has a free choice of being faithful or unfaithful to God.
Temptation is not a sin as we have not sinned until we give into temptation.
Temptation is Satan’s invitation to give into his kind of life and give up on gods kind of life.
In Mathew 4 verses 1-11 it tells us how he even tempted Jesus who did not sin.
The Biblical definition of sin becomes important because the scriptures define the boundaries and standards which God has set for us.
However, the definition of sin in the Bible is not a test of arbitrary do’s and don’ts. Instead they show us the way God lives. They show the spiritual principles by which he lives, the same standard of conduct he expects his human creations to live by.
SIN CAN BE WHAT WE DON’T DO
Christ’s teaching helps us to understand why it is sin not to do what we know we should do. It boils down to who’s will is more important in our lives. Is it our will to do what we want to do or is it Gods will doing what he thinks is most important which shapes our actions?
It is through action-through works, through doing good that we know we ought to be doing that God builds his nature and character within us. If we want to get rid of our sinful nature, we have to replace it with something else. We don’t magically get rid of it we have to replace it with God’s nature, his thoughts his ways.
True faith transforms our conduct as well as our thoughts as faith without godly works Is useless, worthless. Such faith is of no lasting value as it doesn’t change the person, nor does it help others to hear the words “Be warm and filled” when they’re cold and hungry.
God of mercy guide us through this season minister to us in the wilderness of our temptation that we who have been set free from sin by Christ May serve you well into life everlasting.
Today is the first Sunday in Lent.
Lent is the six week period leading up to Easter. It’s one of the most important times of year for many Christians around the world, particularly those within the Anglican, Roman Catholic and Orthodox traditions.
Lent is seen as a time of solemn observance and preparation for the remembrance of the death and celebration of the resurrection of Jesus at Easter. From its start on Ash Wednesday until its conclusion on Easter Sunday, Lent has been a traditional time for fasting or giving something up or abstinence. Fasting reminds us of the 40 day fast Jesus had before he started his ministry. Catherine mentioned this in her talk. Jesus fasted in the desert in preparation for his life’s work and the devil came and tested him.
Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, which is always held 46 days (40 fasting days and 6 Sundays) before Easter Sunday.
Ash Wednesday is the day after Shrove Tuesday, which in the UK is more commonly known as Pancake Day, that was last week. Did you have pancakes?
These days, Christians around the world observe Lent in different ways. Many from more orthodox and traditional denominations will still observe the fast strictly, beginning with the wearing of ashes on Ash Wednesday and abstinence of meat, fish, eggs and fats until Easter Sunday.
Others will choose to give up just one item for Lent, more commonly a ‘luxury’ such as chocolate, meat, alcohol or cake. It is also becoming increasingly common for people to give up other things such as watching TV or using social media. The time gained from missing out on these activities is spent in meditation, Bible study, prayer or doing something practical to help others. There are many devotional resources available such as Lent Bible studies – there is a practical booklet in this months life and work produced by Christian aid which gives topics for prayer and practical things to do to help alleviate the climate crisis in Kenya.
One thing we could focus on in our lent practices is forgiveness, asking God to forgive us the things we do wrong, the things we don’t do that we should, and also forgiving those who have hurt us. We need to forgive others in order for God to forgive us. We could spend our lent time thinking of the ways others have hurt us and letting go of the hurts and forgiving them. Spending time in god’s presence, meditating on his word will help us to do this. Meditation will also help god speak into our hearts and heal the hurts, and also show us where we have done wrong. We must ask god for his forgiveness and sometimes we have to ask others too.
Psalm 32 is all about forgiveness and the blessings of being forgiven.
When we know we’re in the wrong and try to hide it or blame another, not even admitting it to ourselves that is when we feel our bones wasting away, God’s hand heavy on us, or just our conscience pricking us. We know we need to ask God for forgiveness but we sometimes don’t want to admit we are wrong. The thing is, once we admit it and ask for forgiveness, we can feel overjoyed at his response. He always forgives us when we come to him with a sorrowful heart, and a determination to be a true follower. Not only does he forgive us but he miraculously forgets.
At the beginning of Lent as a season of preparation and self-examination, what do we need to confess individually and corporately in order to receive the blessings that our sins are forgiven, our debt is covered, and no record of wrongs is kept?