Welcome to the first reflection of our online Lenten iStudy. As we get started here, I’d encourage you to leave a comment below with your name and what you’re hoping to get out of this Bible study during this period of Lent. Perhaps it would be helpful to share if you’ve decided to give something up, or taking something on, for Lent this year. That way we can join together and support one another through this journey of Lent.
I hope you’ve all had a chance to go through and read the materials from Session 1. If not, why don’t you go here (the password for the page is lentenstudy), download it, and read the materials. Then come back and join us for the discussion.
Great. Welcome back. Below is a clip of Jesus being tempted in the wilderness. It’s not from The Last Temptation of Christ, but from the 2010 version of “Jesus” (with Jeremy Sisto). It’s another depiction of what the temptation of Christ might have been like in the wilderness:
The author of the study suggests that when it comes to the temptations that faced Jesus, and the temptations that face us, they can be summed up in our desire to be successful, in a sense to put ourselves and our potential and success above anyone or anything else. What do you think about that statement? Do you see that as true in your own life?
When we talk about how to deal with temptation, the study suggests that we look to Christ and see how he dealt with his own temptations in the desert? Christ turned to scripture – to tradition – to the core of who he was. For those of us who claim to be followers of the way of Jesus (for many, that would mean they would call themselves “Christian”), that should drive everything about who we are and everything about our lives. The author writes:
“To confess Christian faith means that you have been given your central identity. Who you are is defined by the ethics of Jesus. Who you are is defined by the compassion of Jesus. Who you are is defined by the death and life again of Jesus. Of course, the world generally insists that you are defined by what you do for a living, or where you went to school, or your address” (page 4).
What are your thoughts about this statement: “To confess Christian faith means that you have been given your central identity.” Do you believe that being a Christian is the core of who you are?
As you go throughout this next week, be thinking about whether you are living in such a way that you’re striving after your own successes, or if there are other priorities in your life that are more driven because of your core identity as a follower in the way of Jesus.
And, as the author shared at the end of the study, what difference would it make in our lives if we constantly “Remembered who we were” as we went about our weeks and interactions with family, friends and others here in our community?
What stood out for you in the study? Did it cause you to think differently about anything?
In closing, please pray this prayer:
Holy God, we thank you for your word to us. Remind us daily of who we are and whose we are. God, in this silence we pray that you would strengthen the other people who are participating in this Lenten iStudy. Help us trust that you go with us wherever we go, whether wandering in the wilderness or safely at home. These things we pray through Christ, who knows all our temptations and has shown us a better way to live. Amen.