In anticipation of Ash Wednesday and the upcoming journey of Lent, I am sharing a copy of this week’s Authentic Freedom Empowerment Newsletter. If you find this to be a supportive and inspiring resource for your own journey of self-development, consider subscribing. For only $20.00 per month, you receive a weekly resource for supporting your journey toward wholeness. If you are interested, subscribe HERE.
Authentic Freedom Academy
Weekly Empowerment Newsletter
February 14, 2016. First Sunday in Lent
Filled with the Holy Spirit, Jesus returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the desert for forty days, to be tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and when they were over he was hungry. The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.” Jesus answered him, “It is written, One does not live on bread alone.” Then he took him up and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a single instant. The devil said to him, “I shall give to you all this power and glory; for it has been handed over to me, and I may give it to whomever I wish. All this will be yours, if you worship me.” Jesus said to him in reply, “It is written: You shall worship the Lord, your God, and him alone shall you serve.” Then he led him to Jerusalem, made him stand on the parapet of the temple, and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here, for it is written: He will command his angels concerning you, to guard you, and: With their hands they will support you, lest you dash your foot against a stone.” Jesus said to him in reply, “It also says, You shall not put the Lord, your God, to the test.” When the devil had finished every temptation, he departed from him for a time.
Luke 4: 1-13
Dt 26: 4-10
Ps 91: 1-2, 10-15
Rom 10: 8-13
First Sunday of Lent – Temptation
This Sunday’s gospel is the familiar story of Jesus’ temptation in the desert. What is often forgotten in the telling of this story is that the temptation in the desert takes place immediately following Jesus’ baptism through which Jesus was fully awakened to his Diving calling and the gifts that he had been given to live out that call:
“You are my beloved son, and with you I am well pleased.”
How did Jesus respond to these words? The translation from Luke’s gospel says that Jesus was led to the desert. In Mark’s gospel, “he fled.” I tend to believe it was more the latter than the former. How would you feel if a voice came out of the sky and announced your magnificence and the Divine calling (responsibility) that went along with that magnificence?
The truth is that like Jesus, we more frequently run from our gifts and our Divine calling than toward them. If we are wise, as Jesus was, we acknowledge the fear that arises in the face of our calling, and then we take the time to figure out what the Divine calling means for us and how we are being called to use our gifts.
And like Jesus, we will be tempted. Specifically, we will be tempted to abuse the powers that we have been given for the sake of our own pride and vanity, than how they are meant to be used which is in service to the Divine and for the benefit of others.
Our job is to hear the call as it arises within us from God, to take time out to discern how we are being invited to live that out and to then face the inner voices that will tempt us to ignore or deny our gifts, or alternatively, to use our gifts for our own vainglory instead of for the honor of the Divine and for the benefit of others.
How have you been tempted to either ignore/deny your Divine calling and the use of your gifts?
When have you been tempted to use your gifts for the sake of your own pride, fame, wealth, power, etc. instead of for the sake of others?
You are invited to spend time with this week’s scripture using the practice of Imagination/Contemplation, or as I like to call it, “Daydreaming as Prayer.”
- Read through the scripture passage slowly and prayerfully, looking for a character that stands out to you. Perhaps it is Jesus, Satan, an unnamed observer or even an inanimate object.
- After you have chosen your character (or object), re-read the story from their perspective.
- Then, using your imagination, place yourself within the narrative as the character of your choosing. Imagine the story unfolding in your mind as if you are that character. Imagine every detail – what you are wearing, what the weather is like, the scene around you, the time of day. Envision the landscape and the other characters in the story in detail. Do not censor anything that comes up for you in the imagining of the story. Allow it to go where it needs to go.
- As the story is unfolding in your imagination, pay attention to the thoughts, feelings, emotions, etc. that are arising in you as the story is unfolding.
- After the story has come to its natural conclusion in your mind, write it down. Record all that took place, being open to additional details which may emerge in your writing. Again, do not censor anything that comes up for you.
- After you have written your story, read it. As you are reading, reflect on how the story, as it unfolded in your imagination, is reflective of something going on in your own journey? As what your higher self might be communicating to you in the way this story unfolded in your imagination.
In this Sunday’s gospel, Jesus was tempted by three of the deadly compulsions of the Authentic Freedom protocol:
Lust (for power)
As the inner adversary (Satan) tempted Jesus with these worldly measurements of power and success, Jesus was able to turn away from them because he recognized the inner fears that might cause him to use his powers for his own sake instead of in honor of God and for the benefit of the world, he then found a way to move through those fears.
How and where have you been tempted by worldly measures of power and success? How might you employ Authentic Freedom to help you overcome these temptations when they arise in the future?
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