Lent is a season that Christians spend remembering the 40 days that Jesus spent being tempted by Satan. Even as he was encouraged to do the wrong thing and compromise everything that he was on earth to do, he did not fail. He did not cave. He did not doubt God. He did not succumb to temptation. But he could've!! And therein lies the point: even in the face of temptation, he did not compromise.
I gave up dessert for Lent. For the most part, I've been sticking to it… sort of. I've cheated probably 3 times - giving in to my desire to taste the delicious treats that I've been trying so hard to stay away from. But here's the thing. Even when I'm not cheating and sneaking little bites of something I shouldn't be, I fulfill my sweet tooth with other things that are pretty close: soda, waffles, sugary cereal, etc. Okay - not technically dessert but you get the idea. In the grand scheme of things, eating the dessert is not that big of a deal, but when I think about what it symbolizes, I'm a little disappointed with myself, to be honest. If Jesus could withstand 40 days of temptation and not succumb to his desires, why can't I? But then I remember that I'm not Jesus. Even with something as simple as dessert, I'm not strong enough.
When I was first thinking about this, it made me feel ashamed. He died for me and I can't even stop eating dessert for a while. But that's exactly the message of the gospel: we're not strong enough. We're not strong enough to resist the temptations of this world and the evil that lies within it. Okay, obviously dessert isn't evil, I'm talking about bigger things now. Lying cheating, doubting, fearing, worrying, being mean; we are not strong enough to resist these things every time we're tempted. Let that sink in. We ARE strong, but we're not strong ENOUGH. And that's why we need Jesus. He knows we'll mess up, but he loves us anyway. He loves me anyway. So, on Easter, I'm going to celebrate the end of Lent and the defeat of evil with a big slice of cake. He didn't succumb to evil, so I don't have to be defeated by my own.