Temptation Come in Pleasing Disguises

Last week, I spoke in a couple of different venues about the temptation of Christ in the desert, an event recorded by each of the three synoptic Gospels.

One of the points I made is that, at least for those of us attempting to lead spiritual lives, temptation often comes in pleasing disguises. How much easier it would be to avoid temptation if the tempter appeared as a devil with pitchfork trying to persuade us to do some obviously evil act!

Subsequent to those talks, I came across an image of Titian’s painting of “The Temptation of Christ.” If you looked at the picture without knowing what it was, you might think it was a picture of Jesus blessing a child who offers him a gift. Instead, it is the sweet-looking child who is the tempter.

Here is the picture, a great visual reminder of our need to be vigilant in recognizing temptation when it comes: