Matthew 4: 1:1-3 says “Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” But Jesus was not moved. “Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:4). The devil didn’t stop there and continued to test Jesus’ strength in his physical weakness.

Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written ‘He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.” (Matthew 4:5-6). But Jesus was not moved. “Jesus answered him, ‘It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’” But the devil still wasn’t done. “Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.” (Matthew 4:8) But Jesus was disciplined, and unmoved. “Jesus said to him, ‘Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’ Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended Him” (Matthew 4:11).

While the devil attempted to sabotage Jesus over and over again, our Lord and Savior embraced living in a way that was consistent with His Father’s Will. He wouldn’t allow his human needs to control, or master His life. We too have to remember this on our Lenten journeys. Yes, it will be a time of struggle, self-denial and restraint, and we will confront temptation, and weakness along the way. But if we embrace a life with God through Jesus, as opposed to a life of self-indulgence through sin, we are living out God’s Will and will ultimately grow with Him.

So many Christians struggle through Lent because they focus on what they’re giving up, not on building up their relationship with God. Nothing’s wrong with giving up chocolate for Lent, but you have to ask yourself if what you’re giving up is really separating you from having your best relationship with God, and after this period, how did you grow in your relationship with Him?