Resisting Temptation

On October 15, 2018, in Sunshine Cathedral, by Rev.Dr. Robert

Resisting Temptation Rev. Dr. Durrell Watkins Let us dwell together in peace, and may we not be instruments of our own or others’ oppression; and now, may God’s word be spoken, may only God’s word be heard. Amen. Jesus in wilderness for 40 days/40 nights… Idiom = long time…period of challenge that leads to breakthrough […]

Resisting Temptation
Rev. Dr. Durrell Watkins

Let us dwell together in peace, and may we not be instruments of our own or others’ oppression; and now, may God’s word be spoken, may only God’s word be heard. Amen.

Jesus in wilderness for 40 days/40 nights…
Idiom = long time…period of challenge that leads to breakthrough or achievement or relief. It’s not a literal 40 days necessarily. It could be a shorter or even longer period of time. It just means a long time.
40 days rain (Gen 7)
Moses sent spies to explore Canaan for 40 days
Kings reigned for 40 years
Goliath challenged Israelites for 40 days
Moses spent 40 days on Mount Sinai
Elijah spent 40 days walking
Jonah gave Nineveh 40 days warning

Used over and over to signify a time of working through something, sorting things out, or waiting for things to improve The wait may be long, but and the temptation may be to give up, but don’t give up. It’s worth the wait.

Temptation to doubt his sacred value: If you are God’s child…
Most of our fears come from a mistaken belief that we could ever be separated from God. But that isn’t possible. Remember, there’s not a spot where God is not.

Jesus is then tempted to break his fast (spiritual practice)…
Temptation says:
Give up your spiritual discipline.
Give up making time every day for prayer and meditation.
Give up studying the scriptures.
Give up making weekly worship a priority.
Give up worshiping with your tithes.
Give up practicing affirmations.
Give up your spiritual practices.

But Don’t give them up! They will sustain you. They will carry you when you’re too tired or hurt to carry yourself.

Temptation quoted scripture at Jesus to manipulate, shame, and hurt him. The texts weren’t misquoted, they were just misused.
Don’t fall for it!

“What if they’re right”(the people using scripture to shame or intimidate us)?
They’re not. When people use scripture as a weapon to tear you down they are using it demonically. Don’t buy it!

Jesus was then tempted to ignore his values:
To Give up on justice for all.
To Give up on caring for the least of these.
To Give up on equality and fairness.
To Give up on compassion and generosity.
To Ditch it all for personal gain, privilege, and power.

Don’t do it! Don’t give away your soul, your light, your beauty. don’t believe the lie that there isn’t enough for all of us. Yes, we deserve the best; we ALL deserve the best. We don’t have to cheat anyone to have enough. We don’t have turn away from the struggling to have enough. There is enough to satisfy every person’s need, though, perhaps, not enough to satisfy every person’s greed.

Jesus resisted temptation.
He denied that the temptations, the fears, the sense of notenoughness had any power over him. And he affirmed his truth in the wake of the denials. And angels came and ministered to him.

40…the trials may seem long…don’t give up. The rains may come, but the waters will eventually subside.
The journey may be winding, and you may feel lost along the way, but you will eventually get to a land full of promise.
You may be stuck on a mountain, but mountaintops provide a great view.
The giants may torment you for a long time, but their day will come…the bigger they are, the harder they fall.
Resist the temptation to give up too soon!

Resist the temptation to doubt your sacred value.
You are part and parcel of God. You are God’s miracle and not God’s mistake. You are part of the creation that God calls very good.
Resist the temptation to doubt your innate goodness.
God is omnipresent, so I am in and part of God’s presence, so I share in the goodness of God. I am a child of God and divine joy is my inheritance.

And don’t phone in your faith.
Church isn’t just for holidays or when you don’t find anything better to do.
Spiritual texts aren’t just background noise in a worship service. Prayer isn’t just grace at holiday dinners. Tithing isn’t spare change.

Commit to your spiritual practices and never let anyone or anything take them from you. They will lead you to deeper trust in God and that trust will lift you up when circumstances have brought you low.

Resist the temptation to ignore your faith practices. They really can lead to miracles.

Resist the temptation to let religion be used against you.
If someone’s religion is about condemning, shaming, controlling, or excluding others, it is misunderstood, misapplied, and misanthropic. No matter who’s selling it, don’t buy it.

Choose instead spiritual views that are uplifting, compassionate, generous, loving, and healing. When people sling religious crap at you,
affirm: I am covered in spiritual teflon; BS just slides right off!

And finally, resist the temptation to give up your hopes.
In our idealistic, optimistic days, we believed that peace was possible, that equal opportunity was our birthright, that equal protection was possible, that we could save the world. We could care for the environment and speak up for the voiceless. We believed the pen was mightier than the sword and that love would win. We believed that the moral arc of the universe was long but it bends toward justice. We knew in our hearts that God is love and divine love leaves no one out.

Sometimes, we are tempted to think that is all terribly naive. Hate seems to be racking up more points these days. Violence is ignored or even rewarded. Rights aren’t always guaranteed and sometimes are even under attack. When the vision is fading, recommit to it. Don’t let the dream disappear. The will to power, oppression, injustice, marginalization of entire communities…those goblins may have their day, but they cannot take our vision of God’s kin-dom away from us.

When things are better, Alleluia! And when they are going in the wrong direction, God give us courage to lift up the dream and breathe new life into it.

Have you been tempted to become pessimistic?
Have you been tempted to disengage?
Have you been tempted to accept something less than God’s best?
Have you been tempted to accept injustice and cruelty in the world?
Have you been tempted to give up hope for your own personal need.

In Jesus’ name, I ask you to resist those temptations, and if you will continue to resist them, I promise there are angels on the way to minister to you. And this is the good news. Amen.

Fear has no power over me.
I am God’s child!
I am forever blessed.
The angels of God’s presence come to my aid.
And I reject any thought to the contrary.
Alleluia!
Amen.

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