A. Kevin Valvardi
Then Jesus was led into the desert by the Spirit, to be tempted by the devil. And, after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. And the tempter came and said to him, "If thou art the Son of God, command that these stones become loaves of bread." - Matthew 4: 1-3
These verses and the verses that follow them in Matthew 4 show us that, like each of us, Jesus was human and capable of sinning; yet he was without sin.
In other words, Jesus purposely resisted temptation and chose not to sin. Had God not become fully human and capable of sin, it would have seemed hypocritical to us for God to instruct us not to sin during our fleshly lives here on Earth. It would also have been too difficult for us to believe that it is possible to resist all temptation and not sin as a human. Satan would have had no reason to try to tempt Jesus if his divinity made it impossible for him to sin—or if he did not have a choice of whether to sin or not.
Not all temptations to sin appear obviously wrong or immoral. Sin often presents itself as an innocuous opportunity to improve our lot for the better or to obtain something necessary for our well-being or the well-being of others, which makes it easy to rationalize our actions when we succumb to the temptation.
I often find myself facing such temptations in my daily life, temptations that seem minor or to have no significance in my Christian walk, such as telling a "little white lie" to avoid hurting someone's feelings, or selfishly putting my own needs before someone whose needs are greater or more deserving than mine, making excuses that seem to defend my un-Christian behavior or willful disobedience to God. My challenge is facing these opportunities of temptation and willfully choosing not to sin or succumb to the temptation.
How often does temptation to sin present itself in our lives and present the opportunity to willfully choose to commit or not commit the sin?
We ask the Spirit to come into our hearts and lives each day and to give us the strength and courage to resist temptation and willfully choose not to sin.
A. Kevin Valvardi is a prisoner at San Quentin State Prison and a part of the Christian Creative Writing Class there. The Stillspeaking Daily Devotionals are frequently shared with the group by instructor Kathleen Jackson, providing topics for discussion and inspiration for “showing ways to glorify God through writing.”