PRAYER FOR THE WEEK
Jesus, help me keep working on my bad habits during Lent, even if I feel tempted to give up! Amen.
Jesus went into the desert for 40 days, where the devil came and tempted Him, but angels also came and helped Him. Then Jesus went to Galilee and told everyone, "The kingdom of God is near; say you're sorry for your sins, and believe in the Good News" that Jesus had come.
Lent just started. Lots of people work on their bad habits during Lent: giving up junk food, cleaning rooms without being asked and giving unused clothes or toys to people who don't have as much.
When you're trying to get rid of a bad habit, temptation is always there: You can have just a little junk food, right? Are chips really junk food, since they're made from potatoes? And do you really want to give away that sweater? You might wear it sometime.
This week's Gospel (Mark 1:12-15) is about temptation. Jesus is about to kick His work into high gear, teaching everyone about God, so He goes off to pray and get psyched up to work hard. But the devil tries to convince Jesus not to work at all!
Bad habits can be enjoyable. Junk food tastes good. Old toys you don't play with anymore still bring back happy memories. It's hard to change, hard to give those things up.
Jesus may have been tempted, too. The devil tried hard to change Jesus' mind! The devil offered power, reminding Jesus that He was God and could turn rocks into bread or could fly, if He chose.
It's tempting to hang onto a bad habit. Jesus could have listened to the devil. He could have forced everyone to believe in Him or declared Himself king. But Jesus knew that giving in to temptation wouldn't accomplish what He wanted: to get people to listen to Him out of choice, so they would have a free, joyful connection with God.
Working on bad habits during Lent will bring temptation, but you can get through it. If Jesus could get past the devil and deliver His message to the world, you can push the junk food away and clean your room!