Jesus, after his baptism, has been out alone and fasting for forty days. In Matthew's version that we have today, we can be led to believe that "the tempter" came to Jesus at the end of that long fast and time alone. Not during, but at the end, as Matthew says He fasted forty days and nights, and afterward he was famished. The tempter came and said to him...... When Jesus was tired, hungry, probably cranky as all get out, temptation and wrongful desires come upon him.
If we look at this account from our own perspectives, is it not almost always the case that we make our worse decisions when we are tired or hungry and/or cranky? It can be challenging to allow our better selves to be in the forefront of our operating in the world when we are in a state of exhaustion. Yet this account of Jesus battling temptations shows us an avenue we can follow. Jesus had spent forty days fasting, alone, praying: preparing himself for his ministry. That basis is a model for us. Having a prayer-life, knowing that God's love for us is firm and unshakeable, can, and will, help us in those times when we are leaning toward doing something that we know, deep within ourselves, is not the appropriate thing to do.
When we are tired, hungry, not at our best, prayer and thoughtful pauses prior to making decisions is a way to prevent ourselves from having regrets the next day.
Copyright 2011, The Rev. John F. Dwyer. All Rights Reserved.
Photo: Christ Church, Capitol Hill, jfd+, 2011