Listen to this devotional:
Luke 4:1-2a – Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the desert, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. (NIV)
We have had a blue balloon swinging on our balcony, celebrating the Olympics here in British Columbia, Canada. The only problem is that the winds and the rains have shrunk and deflated my blue balloon. It is a sad sight; but no, I am not thinking of the letdown, now that the Olympics are over, deflating my spirit. I am remembering those times when I felt blue and defeated with reason: I had failed my Lord. What I had planned and worked hard to accomplish didn't work out. Was this my lack of experience, or the work of the devil behind the scenes?
Was I tempted beforehand by the devil, thinking my plans were wonderful? Was the devil working behind the scenes to deflate their promise? It makes me wonder how we know whether the devil is behind us deflating our plans. The devil is a deceiver who blinds us to the real truth, especially when we think that we know what to do and we forget to pray. The evil one, which is a term I prefer, works in camouflage, so we just don't see who is behind the deceit. I even wonder how we know whether it's our own fault, or whether the devil is deceiving us into thinking differently than what the situation really is. Something will look great, but when turned inside out, it is hopeless. I may say a positive word, but in my head, I am feeling very negative. Indeed, I say one thing and mean another.
Jesus called such behaviour hypocrisy, and He warns us to beware of hypocrisy, as the Gospel of Luke records:
Luke 12:1c-2 – Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. (NIV)
I am not a bread maker, but I do know that yeast swells up the dough. Is this then the original meaning behind having a swelled head? We must be aware of how we come across. Are we humble, working hard in our Creator's sight, or are we proud in our own sight of our undertakings?
Lent is a time to ponder on what we have hidden and on what is behind it. These are days for reflection and for seeking forgiveness. It is the work of the Holy Spirit to show us the truth and to reveal where and how we must change. What I have known over the years in service to Christ is that the Lord will reveal to me where change is needed. Our main focus is to be like Him in all we do. Then we will not go wrong, and the evil one will not deflate our good intentions. We learn to trust our Saviour, and when people call us ignorant, we forgive them as our Lord forgives us. We can rejoice and not be blue, for Christ has told us what to say, when to say it, and how to say it. Wow! What a Saviour!
Prayer: Lord, open our eyes that we may see You, and open our ears that we may tune in to the true thoughts we have from You. We know all too well how often we fail You and think only of ourselves. Forgive us, Lord, and help us to be more open to Your Spirit, that we may not be easily tempted by the evil one to go astray. May we, today, follow the path You have set out before us, and share Your words of truth and comfort with all we meet. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.