Jesus has been baptized, heard God's voice of praise and has run into the desert, driven by the Holy Spirit, where today he is tested three times. Whether we believe in the existence of "the devil" or not, this scripture reading is an important one for us to take to heart.
We can be tempted every day: tempted to make decisions that run counter to what we know are our better interests. They can be as simple (and as complicated) as giving into the temptations: to purchase things we can't afford (aka "retail therapy); to have that extra drink that we rationalize "won't hurt us" but will; to eat that second helping we do not need; to cheat on our spouse. Our better angels know how to respond to those temptations from our lesser selves, but those lesser selves can very easily take over what we know we should be doing.
We are gifted with some wonderful readings right now that help illuminate this point. Whether we are reading Judith or Esther, both of these books tell us the tale of strong women, who worked within the structures with which they were confined, and yet found a way to listen to those better angels and do what was absolutely necessary. They had opportunities to go in another direction, but chose not to listen to their lesser selves, but do what they knew God was calling them toward.
We are all human, created that way by God. Which part of ourselves will we listen to today when we are given those inevitable choices that will come our way?
Copyright 2010, The Rev. John F. Dwyer. All Rights Reserved.