Temptations are inevitable in human life. It is a universal phenomenon. Life can be full of temptations, in our daily living, good food is a temptation, sweet drink is a temptation and so on…The glittering and glamorous life that is presented in the mass media involving fast cars, fast women and fast money are also ways and means of attracting and tempting its audience.
What is a temptation?
Anything which deviates us from God, or obstructs us from following the footsteps of Christ can be regarded as temptation. For eg: A boy who was saving money to buy a cricket bat, always in the night prayed to god saying, Dear god, please don’t allow the ice cream man to come in our street.
what are the kinds of temptations which our young people face today in urban context?
Though the evil is not personified, yet it exists in various forms.
The evangelist Mathew in chapter 4, brings out a contrast comparision between Jesus, the second Adam and the Adam in the book of genesis. In the book of Genesis, the garden of eden is lushful green and filled in abundance. Where as in Mathew it’s Jesus in wilderness. In Genesis adam gives in to the temptation of the serpent but in Mathew, Jesus fights over the temptation of the tempter.
Jesus is tempted immediately after his baptismal experience. After fasting for 40 days and 40 nights, when he is famished the tempter came to him and asked ‘if you are the son of God?’ here we see how the tempter was trying to raise a doubt in the mind of jesus. During the baptism in chapter 3: 17, the voice from heaven testified on behalf of Jesus, saying that ‘ this is my son, the beloved, with whom I am well pleased.’ The tempter is trying to nullify the affirmation of God about Jesus, as he just begins his ministry.
The passage goes on to present the three ways in which Jesus was tempted by the tempter
Temptation No.1 :
Command these stones to become loaves of bread.
Jesus’ answered: ‘one does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God. (Deuteronomy 8:3)
The competitive consumeristic culture among youth today is alarming. In earlier times, we were influenced by the ideology of “Eat to live” where as now the youth have fallen prey to the ideology of “Live to eat.” The lives of many young people are centered around perishable food and perishable materialism but not on the everlasting principles of God. This kind of culture is indirectly brooding a culture of leaning on what is temporary leading to identity crisis. The felt need to be updated in terms of gadgets to vehicles according to the changing times proves that young people today are not content with what they have but are in search of something always better wanting more and more.
Temptation No.2: ‘If you are the son of God, throw yourself down from the pinnacle’
Jesus answered: Do not put the lord your God to the test. (Deutronomy 6:16)
The jewish belief of messiah showing up from a tall structure was a strong one. Jesus could have used this opportunity when he stood on the pinnacle to instantly convince people that he is the messiah. He could have used an easy short cut and bypassed the Cross. But rather he chose the way of the cross. The instant taste of growth and success among the urban youth today is actually leading them towards compromising strong family values and corporal aspect of fellowship in the church. Young people with attractive salaries are willing to work as ‘techno coolies’ are not available to their families and the church fellowship as they used to in earlier times. Money making seems to be the only goal they have in life, hence instigating them to forego the values of corporal fellowship and family.
They don’t realize that this immediate growth is temporary. For eg: the recession which affected thousands of youngsters have left they unemployed for a long time, this had led to a lot of stress, loneliness depression hence pushing them to the extent of losing ones own life or look for other ways of being happy.
Temptation No.3: All this I Give you, if you fall down and worship me.
Jesus answered: Worship the lord your God and serve only him. (Deuteronomy 6:13)
The globalised culture is slowly deviating the youth from the principles of God. This glittering and glamourous world is drawing more and more young people towards its ideologies which are not life sustaining and life affirming. For many today, God has become an illusion, but the worldly culture has become the truth propogating reality.
Jesus overcomes all these temptations by using God’s word. He knew his bible. He just did not read it but he applied it to his situation. The right understanding and application of Bible can surely free us from all temptations this world can offer. It can surely strengthen our faith and help us to lead a life of faithfulness to God. So friends, let us use the word of God, meditate upon it day and night, so that the word of God will lead our ways.
Points to ponder about:
Are our desires and goals directed against the principles of God?
Is our lifestyle at the cost of somebody’s life?
Can we critically analyse this globalised culture and its effects?
Being a part of this globalised world can we remain faithful to the gospel? If so how?