Who Are You Going to Listen To?
By Steve Bolie of Clive, IA, USA
Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. He fasted forty days and forty nights, and afterwards he was famished. The tempter came and said to him, If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread. But he answered, “It is written, ‘One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” —Matthew 4:1–4 NRSV
After a deep spiritual experience at his baptism, followed by forty days of solitude, the tempter showed up to test Jesus. I think the key words in the story are, “If you are the Son of God…” I can imagine the tempter saying, “Ha! You think you’re so special with God? Prove it.”
As Jesus responded to God’s call and prepared for ministry, he must have had times of doubt and vulnerability. Perhaps the reason my imagination goes this way is that I so often experience similar temptations. The dark side of my being says, “You call yourself an elder but you can’t even…,” or “You want to be nonviolent but you actually…,” or “You think you are a good husband (or father ,or grandfather) but…” These temptations catch me when I’m already at a low point and hardly need more questioning of who and what I am.
On the other hand, God says, “You are my beloved in whom I am pleased” and “You are fearfully and wonderfully made.”
Whose view, then, am I going to listen to—God’s or the Tempter’s? Sometimes it is hard to hear God’s encouraging words over the raging self-doubt, but with God’s grace I am able to get back on track to be the person God is creating me to be. May we all hear God’s words of affirmation when we need them most.
May I see your light in all life.
Invitation to Spiritual Practice
Light of God
Close your eyes, and become centered with your breath. As you breathe gently in and out, reflect on the statement, “The light of God is in all things.” The light has a bright, soft beauty and radiates God’s healing love. The light of God reaches you and permeates you with a deep sense of peace. Rest in the light as it surrounds and fills you. Thank God that you live in God’s light, and it lives in you.
Today’s Prayer for Peace
Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.