The following was written for my F3 brothers on f3nation.com. I thought you may find something useful too.
We’re currently in the Lenten Season, 40 days leading up to Easter Sunday, commemorating the 40 days Jesus spent fasting in the desert while being tempted by Satan. Here’s the full story as told in the Book of Luke:
Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, 2 where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry.
3 The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.” 4 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone.’”
5 The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. 6 And he said to him, “I will give you all their authority and splendor; it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. 7 If you worship me, it will all be yours.”8 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.’”
9 The devil led him to Jerusalem and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down from here. 10 For it is written:
“‘He will command his angels concerning you
to guard you carefully;
11 they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’[d]”
12 Jesus answered, “It is said: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’” 13 When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left him until an opportune time.
“What are you giving up for Lent?” is a question you hear from Christians and non-Christians alike, many not knowing the story as to why they are giving something up at all. During the devotional period of my last three F3 Qs, I encouraged my brothers to not only give something up, but to actually take something.
Read this story every day, find a trait in Jesus that you can take, and use it in your daily life. Many say that we should be like Jesus. Well, that’s a pretty tall order. We can’t possibly be like the man who knew no sin. We can’t die for the sins of all men. We can’t be born of a virgin. We can’t perform miracles, heal diseases, resurrect the dead. But we can find some traits in Jesus that we can replicate. This story gives us a few, but here are three I find useful for our F3 brothers:
1. Fight temptation.
Jesus had the devil in his ear while he was starving in a hot desert. He offered Jesus a way out. He even offered Jesus the world, literally. But Jesus had his eye on the bigger prize and did not waver.
Temptation is the downfall of too many men. It can be the temptation of money, one more drink, chasing skirt or even the temptation to stay in bed. If Jesus can fight temptation as big as control of the entire world while undergoing intense physical struggle, you can fight the temptation of just about anything. You can’t die for man’s sins, but you can fight the temptation to stay in bed and not work out.
2. Don’t Friggin Quit.
This is the ultimate DFQ story in the Bible. Sure, he embraced the suck as much as a human can embrace the suck during his torture and crucifixion, but at that point, he was in it. There was no getting out. Here he had an out. He didn’t have to keep enduring physical hardship. He could have bowed out after a few hours and even taken control of the world while doing it. But he sucked it up with a hardcore DFQ attitude.
Many of us workout every day, run marathons or take on many other crazy events like GORUCK. We have brothers beside us who tell us we can do one more rep, run one more mile and get that log over our head. Not only did Jesus not have that but he had the devil in his ear telling him to quit. Could you imagine doing all the crazy stuff we do with someone telling us to just quit? We’d probably drop it all and immediately walk away.
Not Jesus. He kept going. 40 days and 40 nights. No food. The heat. And the Devil telling him to stop. Jesus is telling you DFQ!
3. Strengthen the soul by strengthening the body.
I’ll keep repeating this — 40 days and 40 nights. No food. The heat. And the Devil telling him to stop.
Many of us think we’re so hardcore because we run marathons or ultra-marathons. Some of us do 24 hour or 50 hour GORUCK events. Y’all… consider yourself hardcore when you can take on 40 days and 40 nights in a desert with the Devil.
We do all this to strengthen our bodies, but how many of us do it for something deeper? Do you workout and take on events to strengthen your mind, spirit and soul? If not, you should.
Here Jesus teaches us that in order to strengthen our souls and to truly get closer to God, we need to endure physical hardship. We must go beyond getting comfortable to being uncomfortable and feeling actual pain. We have to push ourselves to the extreme limits and beat away all the BS until we reach our cores, until we are stripped naked of the weaknesses the modern world has created. Only then can we rebuild ourselves the way we are called to, in the image of Jesus.
The weather is warming, the flowers are blooming and we’re marching quick toward Easter. Don’t let this season pass as a simple prelude to a big holiday. Use the next 30 something days to build a better you by replicating a trait or three from Jesus himself.