With the Lenten season barely underway we have a look at Jesus’ 40 days of fasting. Actually, you may notice, it’s at the end of Jesus’ fasting that Luke picks up the story (Luke 4:1-13). The devil shows up throughout, but really goes on the offensive when Jesus is famished.
If you’re looking to bedevil someone, the devil’s is a good strategy: needle throughout, but wait until someone is physically and emotionally and spiritually weary before you provoke. Then, provoke with what they’ve been missing. After forty days without food, how good would bread sound? Provoke with promises of glory and authority. After living alone in the wilderness, how attractive might ruling the kingdoms of the world be? Provoke with a challenge to one’s spirituality. After a season of piety, how tempting would it be to prove your spiritual prowess?
If you’re looking to not be bedeviled, Jesus’ strategy is one to employ: don’t waste those forty days of intense spiritual devotion. Engage God’s word. Study it. Learn it. Memorize it. Discern its meaning. Worship. Pray. Recognize that your life is not yours alone, not for your benefit alone. When and how you eat is a statement of faith. Who and what you worship is a statement of faith. Whether you seek scripture’s meaning or to manipulate it into doing your bidding is a statement of faith.
This holy season could either be a time bedeviling or being bedeviled. Jesus resisted both and thereby bedeviled the devil. Will you?