Lent and temptation go hand in hand. During his 40 days in the desert, Jesus fasted and prayed so that he could achieve greater closeness to God. While testing his own self-discipline, he was visited by the devil three times and tempted with food, faith and power. Jesus overcame these temptations through faith in himself and God.

In our own daily lives, we encounter temptation in many forms. As we navigate the Lent season, let’s look at some of the temptations we face and how to focus on maintaining a warm, supportive and friendly community.

The Ripple Effects of Broken Relationships

A young man slumps against the wall while looking out the window.

The temptation to seek comfort with others is alluring.

We’ve all felt the sting of a broken relationship, be it with a spouse, a friend or within our families. Such brokenness not only affects us directly but also creates barriers around us that weren’t there before. It might force us to choose sides or distance ourselves from the situation entirely. Sadly, the ripple effect of a broken relationship can even impact generations that follow. 

This Lent, keep in mind that faithfulness and integrity in relationships are matters of the heart, not of a specific action. We can reflect on Jesus’ teachings on adultery (Matthew 5:27-28, 19:3-8) and ask God to soften our hearts, guide us towards healing and help us live intentionally in our relationships. In turn, our relationships will nurture a spirit of faithfulness and love within us. 

Breaking the Cycle of Retaliation

The temptation to retaliate when we’re hurt is powerful. 

Rather than seeking healing or offering a word of forgiveness, we often jump to getting even. Unfortunately, this response usually only leads to more pain, hurt and hatred.

As followers of Christ, we are called to break this cycle and seek peace instead of vengeance (Matthew 5:38-42). Make Lent a time in which you forgo the tendency toward an eye for an eye and confess your struggles before God. Ask for help to focus on healing and forgiveness. As a community, we can find strength in choosing peace and reconciliation while also experiencing the transformative power of God’s love in our lives.

The Power and Simplicity of Prayer

An older woman folds her hands on top of a Bible.

The temptation to overlook daily prayer is common.

Busy schedules, demanding routines and numerous distractions make it easy to forsake intentional prayer. Sadly, this dilutes our relationship with God and His guidance in our lives.

Prayer is a foundational aspect of our faith. It offers us a direct line to God’s peace, love and will (Matthew 6:5-8). Pray during Lent and reexamine your approach to prayer. Move beyond mere words to a heartfelt conversation with God. Whether you’re new to prayer or seeking to deepen your practice, embrace this opportunity to connect with God in a more meaningful way. Worry less about what words to say and more about how to communicate openly.

Rethinking Our Treasures

The temptation to want more is seductive.

Society seems to define our worth or value based on what we have. It’s easy to seek meaning and purpose in things in the hopes that they will make us happy. Sadly, this often results in a shopping bag that looks full but feels empty.

Wealth can be counted in many ways. Jesus invites us to seek treasures of lasting value, such as those stored up in heaven (Matthew 6:19-21, 24). The challenge for Lent is to reflect on where you’ve placed your trust and to consider how your pursuits impact your life and the lives around you. Seek contentment and gratitude for God’s blessings and remember that your true treasure lies in your relationship with Him.

Navigating Conflict with Love and Truth

The temptation to avoid conflict is natural.

Conflicts of varying intensity arise across all parts of our lives–a failure at work, a disagreement at home, a misunderstanding with a neighbor. Regrettably, many of us lack the skills for resolution or were never taught how to navigate conflict in a healthy way.

Dealing with conflict is an inevitable part of life, yet how we handle it can make all the difference (Matthew 18:15-22). In this Lenten season, approach conflicts with a spirit of love and understanding. Aim for healing and restoration rather than bearing a grudge or talking behind someone’s back. Most importantly, pray for the wisdom to navigate disagreements in a way that strengthens and honors your relationship with God.

Give Lent Meaning This Year

Throughout this Lenten season, as we explore the theme of temptation in its various forms, we invite you to join us. By turning to Scripture and prayer as Jesus did, we can find the strength to overcome temptation and grow closer to God and one another. You’re never alone with your temptations. God’s enduring love and faithfulness is always with you and King of Kings’ doors are open when you need support and guidance.