I remember in my youth, I was a pretty good softball player. I could hit the ball far and had even developed to the point where I could direct that ball based on my stance and swing. I had it all figured out. The only trouble was, if I didn’t hit that sweet spot, the ball traveled wherever it wanted.
It was the sweet spot on that bat that made all the difference. And you know when you hit that spot. It feels right and that ball flies exactly where you intended it to go. I played for a team that every game, I would hit a home run but our team never won more than 2 games. I couldn’t field a ball worth anything and we couldn’t put it all together.
I love to golf. It is the same thing about the sweet spot. You have to hit that ball in just the right spot on the golf club in order for it to have the distance you want it to have. Again you can have the stance and the swing just right, but if the ball doesn’t hit that sweet spot, you spend the rest of your time trying to make up for that mistake.
It takes a lot of time and practice to learn sweet spots in sports, in careers, in life, in marriages, in anything that you do. There becomes a point that all things just seem to click.
We are approaching the highest of all Holy Days for the Christian church, Easter. Leading up to Easter is a time of preparation and repentance called Lent. This is a time where we as Christians realize the sin within us and we express our sorrow and grief during these 40 days. We express our sincere repentance and remorse. Jesus went through a time (40 days) of temptation in the wilderness right after John baptized Him in the Jordan River.
We can learn several lessons from just a few of the temptations that Jesus had to endure and how we can have victory over our temptations today. Satan tempted Jesus three times that we read about but I’m sure there were many more.
First temptation is found in Matthew 4:1 Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. 2 After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 3 The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” 4 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”
The second temptation is found in, Matthew 4:5 then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. 6 “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.’” 7 Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’”
The third temptation is found in Matthew 4:8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. 9 “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.” 10 Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’” 11 Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him. NIV
Jesus tells us how to hit the sweet spot in the words that He rebukes Satan with:
First: “Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” Words of God are our nourishment and our strength. We have a meal three times a day in order to keep up our physical strength, should we not have a spiritual meal at least three times a day in order to keep up our spiritual strength. Words of God are found in the Bible, in the church, within our Christian friends and within Christian books, magazines, movies and newspapers.
Second: “Do not put the Lord your God to the test.” You want to hit the sweet spot in your Christian walk, fully trust the Lord. If you have to have Christ prove Himself to you, then you are just like Satan asking for a test. Have faith that Jesus will lead and guide you in your Christian walk. Have faith that He will do what is best for you at the right time. The right time is God’s time.
Third: “Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.” Anything that you worship outside of Jesus Christ is a worldly addiction and it will ultimately destroy you. Jesus says; ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’ That is the sweet spot of overcoming temptations in your life.
Read the Bible, Trust in the Lord and Worship Only Him! This would be an excellent Lenten commitment this year; Read, Trust and Worship.
When you hit the sweet spot in your Christian walk, Christian home runs are hit, “Holes in One” happen, you will feel the real joy and peace of living in the Kingdom of Heaven on this earth.
— Tom Beckette is pastor at Nighbert Memorial United Methodist Church and a member of the Logan Ministerial Association.