"When we are tempted, the best course of action is often to stand up to it, recognize it for what it is, and stare it down."
From the Denver Post: "Like many sheep ranchers in the West, Lexy Fowler has tried just about everything to stop crafty coyotes from killing her sheep. She has used odor sprays, electric fences, and 'scare-coyotes.' She has slept with her lambs during the summer and has placed battery-operated radios near them. She has corralled them at night, herded them at day. But the southern Montana rancher has lost scores of lambs--fifty last year alone. Then she discovered the llama--the aggressive, funny-looking, afraid-of-nothing llama...'Llamas don't appear to be afraid of anything,' she said. 'When they see something, they put their head up and walk straight toward it. That is aggressive behavior as far as the coyote is concerned, and they won't have anything to do with that... Coyotes are opportunists, and llamas take that opportunity away.'"
The author of temptation is much like the coyote. This ancient enemy of man is an opportunist, always seeking the easiest way to draw us away from God. But if we are firm in our faith, firm in our trust in God to give us the strength we need to resist temptation, then he is easily beaten. The apostle James told us this: “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and he will draw near to you.” James 4:7-8
When we are tempted, the best course of action is often to stand up to it, recognize it for what it is, and stare it down.
During Lent we prepare to celebrate the resurrection of the Lord. Traditionally we do this by prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. But Jesus offers us a different way to start our Lenten observance, with a declaration of faith.
A profession of faith accompanies Israel’s offering of sacrifice. By reciting, in a very abbreviated form, the saving work of God they not only recall their gifts of freedom and land, but their offering of the first fruits of the harvest becomes a symbol of their faith.
Like the ancient Hebrews Jesus begins His ministry with a homeless wandering in the desert. In both instances it was a time of temptation and testing. Jesus is fully human and we should not underestimate the temptations He experienced after a month of fasting. Yet with each temptation He is offered, He responds with words that are a declaration of faith.
By declaring our faith, that Jesus is Lord, and that God raised Him from the dead, we are saying that the Resurrected One is Lord over all the earth, over our hearts and our life, and we recall the gifts and blessings He has given to us.
Throughout this season of Lent let us remember all that God has done for us and bless Him for it in our prayer. Let us remember all those that are undergoing hardship when we fast. And let us do whatever we can to alleviate that hardship in our almsgiving. In this way we declare our faith and strengthen ourselves against temptation.
1st Sunday of Lent
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© Lawrence Klimecki
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Deacon Lawrence draws on ancient Christian tradition to create new contemporary art that seeks to connect the physical and the spiritual.. For more information on original art, prints and commissions, Please visit www.DeaconLawrence.org
Lawrence Klimecki, MSA, is a deacon in the Diocese of Sacramento. He is a public speaker, writer, and artist, reflecting on the intersection of art and faith