In Jesus’ last temptation in the desert, the devil led him to the parapet of the Temple and invited him to throw himself down, confident that the angels would support him. What was at stake here was the aggrandizement of the ego. What was the Temple but the place where God himself is worshiped? It was the high-point, the summit of Israelite life. To put oneself there was to place one’s ego at the center of everything.
In many ways, this is the very essence of sin; this is what, in a certain sense, all of us do. We make ourselves into God, which is to say, the center of the universe. We really believe that everything revolves around us and our needs, fears, and expectations. Everything ought to serve us.
But one message at the heart of the Christian faith is this: your life is not about you. It is about God and God’s purposes for your life. And so Jesus affirmed: “You shall not put the Lord, your God, to the test.” God tests people all the time in the Bible, but he himself should never be tested.
A good Lenten question to ask is this: Are you the center of attention? Do you allow God to test you?
“One message at the heart of the Christian faith is this: your life is not about you.”
– Father Robert Barron