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"Proclamation of Profitable Self-denial"

The world system relentlessly appeals to our inherent selfishness and pride. Because of this, people need continual reminders and recommitment. This season of Lent is a time of reflection and examination of areas of recurring sin in our lives that prevent us from being conformed to God's will.

There are many temptations in our daily lives and everyone is tempted to sin frequently. In the Gospel of Matthew chapter 4, Jesus is confronted by the devil with all his power, and He does not sin. After forty days without food, Jesus was hungry and weak. Ahead of Him loomed the cross. All He had to do was to give in to the devil, and all that would change. He could have avoided the torment of crucifixion--but He didn't give in. He said to the devil, "Man shall not live on bread alone but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God" (verse 4). Jesus was building His spiritual strength when He fasted for forty days and forty nights. We need much more than physical bread for our survival because our physical body is not the only thing that makes up a man. Man is made up of spirit, soul and body.

The temptations we see in Matthew 4 were God's way of showing that Jesus Christ was the perfect man Who could resist sin and defeat the devil. It was God's plan for Jesus to experience the challenges. In all the temptations, the devil did not succeed. Our Lord showed how important it is to see some situations in our lives as circumstances to be resisted rather than opportunities to be seized. Sometimes we fear losing our rights and privileges and are tempted to do wrong. The right thing to do is to seek God to keep us strong. Jesus is the Son of God with great privilege, yet He choose to obey the will of the Father. He believed the commandments in God's word applied to Him as much as to any other human being. He denied himself in order to stand as a sacrifice for the sins of humanity.

This Lenten season let us be committed to change in areas that we have not yet submitted to our Lord. May we have the willingness to deny ourselves in serving God so that we grow in holiness and commitment. Let us ask for forgiveness, surrender everything, and most of all, thank Him for all the good things He has done for us.

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