“Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.
If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone.”
Craig encourages us to try something different – to reflect on a piece of art as a means of understanding more about today’s theme:
Below is a painting by the French artist William-Adolphe Bouguereau (1825-1905) entitled ‘Temptation’. It is striking for its simplicity. It’s not explicitly religious, though there are clear biblical references.
But there is value in spending time reflecting on this work. You might think, ‘I’m not artistic’. Neither am I, and that doesn’t matter. But by being open, reflecting on the painting, asking ourselves some questions, we may find a new realisation of what it means to be tempted, or to be saved from temptation, as Jesus encourages his followers to pray.
Who might the two characters in the painting be? Who might they represent?
What are the clues that this painting has anything to do with temptation?
Where, if anywhere, would you place yourself in this painting?
If the painting were a movie, what happens next?
Where is God in this work?
How do any of these answers lead you to pray? Do that now.
Prayer for five friends
The Lord’s Prayer
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Lead us not into temptation
but deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power,
and the glory are yours
now and for ever.