Forty days of Lent: between Good and Evil

The three promises the serpent told Eve were lies.

At that time Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert

to be tempted by the devil.
He fasted for forty days and forty nights,
and afterwards he was hungry.
The tempter approached and said to him,
“If you are the Son of God,
command that these stones become loaves of bread.”
He said in reply,
“It is written:
One does not live on bread alone,
but on every word that comes forth
from the mouth of God
.”

Then the devil took him to the holy city,
and made him stand on the parapet of the temple,
and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down.
For it is written:
He will command his angels concerning you
and with their hands they will support you,
lest you dash your foot against a stone
.”
Jesus answered him,
“Again it is written,
You shall not put the Lord, your God, to the test.”
Then the devil took him up to a very high mountain,
and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in their magnificence,
and he said to him, “All these I shall give to you,
if you will prostrate yourself and worship me.”
At this, Jesus said to him,
“Get away, Satan!
It is written:
The Lord, your God, shall you worship
and him alone shall you serve.”

Then the devil left him and, behold,
angels came and ministered to him. GospelMT 4:1-11

The three promises the serpent told Eve were lies.

(1)  You won’t die.

Lie!  There was no death before.  It came as a result of the sin of our first parents.

(2)  You will be like God.

Lie!  They were already like God.  Perfect.  Holy.

(3)  Your eyes will be opened and you will know both good and evil.

Lie! So what is wrong with it?  By that same time, so we would live in a world having good and bad things.  Satan doesn’t say, “I want you to live in a bad, stinking, evil world,” because we would never choose that.  He offers this: “live in a world with evil and good.  Don’t choose only good, don’t choose only evil.”

Satan opened our eyes to evil.  God told Adam and Eve not to eat the forbidden fruit.  But Eve listened to Satan, and began to look on the fruit in a new way.  What was made by God as bad, she started to see as pleasing to her eyes, good for food.

Why do we choose evil?

It’s awful, harmful, terrible, and disgusting.  But it appears to be something good.  It tastes good, just like the forbidden fruit.

God opened our eyes on good. He says not to look at evil.  Don’t take the bait.  Satan says to take it, take both good and evil.

None of us is totally evil or totally bad.  Every one of us has a lot of good as well as a lot of evil within us.  Satan wants us to have both, good and evil.  When Jesus was spending forty days in the desert, the devil offered Jesus all the power on earth, and that the kingdom of this world could all be his – if Jesus would only bow before him.

We can say how much good Jesus could do having everything under His control.  The world says that He missed a great opportunity to bring peace and justice to the world.  Poor Jesus.  The one bow didn’t mean a lot.  One bow.

How often do we place Him into categories like this?  I could do so much more good for others, but there’s this one small thing I want to do for myself.  It’s no big deal!  In the comparison of the good I can achieve . . . no, but that is a lie.

You will know good and evil.  This is a lie, and a challenge.  It’s in our blood.  We don’t want to lose anything from our lives.

The big question is: do I want to acknowledge anything that is evil?  Do I want to allow both good and evil to exist in my life?  Do I want to desire only good and holy things, people, deeds, and events? Or, do I want both?

There is no true happiness with both.

It comes from the serpent, the father of all lies.  Our hearts are permanently restless until we rest in God.  We will never find happiness, peace, joy, or fulfillment until we put everything on God and reject anything that is not from God.

Here, life begins.  Real living.  When you face up to the lies you’ve given into, and reject those behaviors or lifestyle choices, you aren’t losing anything.  The serpent wants you to feel as if you lost the choice between good and evil.  But by accepting God’s invitation to know only what is good, that is where our Christian life starts.

It may begin with a decision in your head.  And it may take months, years, or even decades for it to reach your heart.  But this is the only way to go.

What do you want?

I pray for myself, and I pray for you, that God will help me to reject all evil in my life.  Help me, Lord, to see where I am compromising my life with evil.  Father, give me strength, courage, and the desire to reject it always.  Cleanse my heart, mind, and soul O Lord.  Amen.

 

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