Led by the Spirit

Sunday, March 9

3-9By Scott Murphy, First Presidency

Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. He fasted forty days and forty nights, and afterwards he was famished. The tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” But he answered, “It is written, ‘One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

—Matthew 4:1–4

I find it interesting how in our human nature we try to define specific periods of time to which we commit ourselves. This is part of our spiritual and religious preparation. The season of Lent is one of those times.

Lent is a time when we heighten our awareness of God’s actions in the world through God’s Son, Jesus. During the 40 days of Lent we decide to fast or alter our lives in such a way that we remember the journey Jesus took. But before we make this sacrificial effort, we have developed another day of indulgence known as “Fat Tuesday.” We take all we like to eat or do and indulge ourselves one last time before Ash Wednesday. Then for the next 40 days, we try to control those urges we have.

Lent is important to our Christian lives. In addition, we must struggle on our journey with two questions: First, who will we be at the end of the 40 days? Second, how will we respond to God’s call to our lives?

In many ways, Jesus faced these same questions as the Holy Spirit led him into the wilderness following his baptism encounter with God. There in the wilderness, Jesus faced the temptations of doubt and misdirection of his purpose and life. He considered how he would choose to use his power—for himself or for the salvation of all of God’s creation.

In this season of Lent, we purposefully hear this story of Jesus’ experience. It reminds us of the Jesus who discovered who he was in God as he lived true to his calling for the world’s sake. The Jesus who struggled in the wilderness is also present in our wilderness experiences.

Prayer for Peace
God of wisdom, we thank you for our daily bread—your words of guidance and assurance. Forgive us if we get stuck on “Fat Tuesdays.” May our journey through Lent inform our discipleship for sharing the peace of Christ.

Spiritual Practice: The Ashes of God’s World
Hold an imaginary or real bowl of ashes in your hands; let it represent the losses, sufferings, and injustices in the global community. Name those that particularly grieve you. Pray a blessing on Community of Christ as it responds to the ashes of God’s world with healing words and restoring actions.

Peace Covenant
Today, God, I will not be tempted by what I can do without. I will consider what I might sacrifice for your mission.

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  1. Diane Cochran

     /  9 March 2014

    Thank you for giving me something to really chew on. I first read this early this morning, then at 11:00 am (I didn’t go to church today), then again when my husband brought home the bulletin (although the words were slightly different). But no matter… The words have all been on my heart today, so I read it one more time, and … My Lent Journey has begun. Thank you.

  2. Diane Akers

     /  9 March 2014

    Such words of truth, not what we give up but what we commit to!


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