They say the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. Molly was certain that no one would ever say her grass was greener. Her pastures were narrow and surrounded with an electric fence. They were sparse and dry. They were her prison.
Molly would give anything to climb out this window and slide down the trellis. To experience freedom. Her friends always used to talk about all the doors her wealthy family could open. They thought she had the world at her fingertips.
She saw one door to her future, and she was being pushed through it. Her Dad said that one day she would understand, but Molly had yet to understand why she had to live her life this way. This reserved lifestyle while everyone else did what they wanted?
Once she was on the other side of that door, there would be no turning back. Not ever. The only way out was to fail. Fall on her face. Destroy her life.
Or run now.
The window of opportunity sat in front of her. It beaconed a siren song to her soul. It gleamed like a portal to freedom. It tempted everything within her. Goodness, she could almost smell the new world waiting for her.
Molly had stared out this window ever since she was a child, noting the quick run to the wood's edge. To her new life.
Even as a child, this window of opportunity had always held more allure.
Have you ever felt like the girl in this story? She felt trapped. Suffocating. Confined to her prison. There are so many movies and books that depict a princess bound by duty, and thus unable to follow her heart's desire.
I think prime time for this is when we go through our teen years. The time of terror. :) Too old to ignore the coming future and responsibilities ahead. Too young to actually do all the stuff you are looking forward to doing. Mix that together, and you get the "trapped" feeling we all know and despise. Add in your family's plans and expectations, and you have got yourself a Disney princess movie in the making. ;)
I call it the Princess Complex.
Then that window of opportunity presents itself. A temptation that looks so fine. A time to let down your hair, stop living by the rules, and run with the wind.
Do you take it? Let it go by? What is the right answer? And how much coffee does one need to consume before figuring this out?
Well, I like to look at a certain section of Scripture when faced with that "window of opportunity." Somebody just like us who faced temptation, and triumphed over it.
Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. And 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, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written, “‘He will command his angels concerning you,’
and “‘On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.’” Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’” Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written, “‘You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.’” Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and were ministering to him.
You know, I can't get over how Jesus handled this time of testing. It's like I always forget and then remember this one key piece of information.
Jesus was just like us.
That feels wrong to say. He was the Son of God. The Son of Man. The Savior. Prince of Pease. Chosen. Bridegroom. Beloved Son. Christ. Bread of Life. Messiah. Deliver. The list goes on and on! There is over TWO HUNDRED names for Jesus!
Saying He was just like us seems like a slap in the face to all that He is, was, and did.
But it's not.
If Jesus wasn't born into a sinful world, and if He didn't face all the same kinds of temptations as us, then how could he have been the perfect Lamb of God? It would have been perfectly easy for a "God" to walk this earth and say no to the devil. Jesus, He had a choice to make. The same choices we make every day.
Follow God? Follow the world?
I always read about this time of testing for Jesus, and I forget just how difficult it was for Him. These forty days and nights in the wilderness were no vacation before for He started His traveling ministry. He wasn't relaxing with a frozen lemonade (How great are frozen lemonades, by the way?!) while working on His summer tan. This was so difficult for Him! He was like us. He could have rebelled against God's plan. He could have looked to the sky, shook his fist, and declared, "I want to be a painter! Find somebody else for your twisted plan!" He could have given in to the devils tricks of earthly power. He had the window of opportunity right there in front of Him.
But my Lord held His own. He didn't back down. He fought the devil tooth and nail with the Word of God.
In my humble opinion, this is one of the most poignant examples of Jesus that we have in the Bible. A flesh and blood man, with thoughts and dreams of His own, totally focused on God. This example was for you and me. People who screw up. Who decided they would rather sleep then read their Bible. People who decided that compromising a little doesn't mean anything. People who claim it's impossible to be like Jesus.
I'm not going to lie to you guys. We are going to screw up. A lot. Goodness, since writing this post I've probably screwed up a hundred times over. These verses in Matthew 4 remind me that it is possible to take the high road. If my Lord, who previously had an existence of privilege, could do it without failing, then I most assuredly can!
You guys have an awesome end of March! Throw a little a party and I will see you on April 1st.
April Fool's Day. I will have to come up with a prank for you guys! ;)
V. Joy Palmer