None of us is a stranger to temptation. Each of us has experienced at least one, if not several, of these:
Temptation of wealth;
Temptation of dishonesty;
Temptation of lust;
Temptation of greed;
Temptation of hatred;
Temptation of envy;
Temptation of power;
Temptation of high self-esteem;
Temptation of being honored by others;
Temptation of satisfying my wants and desires;
Temptation of Pride.
This list is not complete but there are two others, in particular, worth mentioning in light of our readings and as we enter into the special season of Lent. They are:
Temptation of disobedience, and
Temptation of singularity (to be explained).
The first of these, temptation of disobedience, should be obvious in light of Paul’s explanation to the Romans, and us. Through disobedience, sin and death entered the world. Through obedience, redemption and justification by Grace are made available to everyone.
A point of clarification is needed here in Paul’s use of the phrase, through one man, as it applies to the story of Adam and Eve. The commandment to not eat of the fruit of the one tree was given to Adam (Gen. 2:15-17) who, in turn, passed it on to Eve. Even though the temptation is directed at Eve, notice that she also gave some (fruit) to her husband, who was with her. Adam failed in his silence.
Consider the contrasts between the two temptations. The first takes place in the Garden where there is plenty to eat; the second occurs in the desert. Jesus is obedient and Adam disobedient. Finally—this has to do with the temptation of singularity—Adam goes it alone but Jesus has the Spirit with Him in His obedience to the Father.
As I begin my Lenten desert experience, remind me, Lord, that, like Jesus, I am not alone.