Why should I want to be rich, when You were poor? Why should I desire to be famous and powerful in the eyes of men, when the sons of those who exalted the false prophets and stoned the true rejected You and nailed You to the Cross? Why should I cherish in my heart a hope that devours me – the hope for perfect happiness in this life – when such hope, doomed to frustration, is nothing but despair? 32,33

I recognize all these longings in myself. And, even as I see them, I am aware that they all appeal to, a small self in me that is less than my true Self who desires to live the life that Jesus lived.

But, I also know that to live the life Jesus lived involves renouncing my desire to be rich, famous, powerful, exalted, even happy. And in the moment I see the path ahead, I hesitate.

Paul recognized in himself this divided nature. He saw that he had an “I” that longed to live in Christ and an “I” that wanted to live as something less than he was created to be,

I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do. (Romans 7:19)

This is the human dilemma. There is in me a true and beautiful “I” who wants what is “good.” There is an “I” in me that resists my deeper nature.

If I take seriously the temptations of Jesus at the beginning of the three synoptic Gospels, I know he also experienced this division. There was a part of Jesus that wanted power, privilege, and prestige. And there was a part of Jesus that understood that

One does not live by bread alone (Matthew 4:4).

While Jesus coveted the glitter of the world, he also realized that we human beings only fulfill our true destiny when we

Worship the Lord your God, and serve only him. (Matthew 4:10)

Lent invites me to step aside from the demands and desires of my small self, and refocus on my true desires as a child created in the image of God.

What glittering promises lure me away from my awareness of God’s presence and action in my life?

What happens in my life when I follow the allure of the world rather than feeding on God alone?

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