Last Wednesday was Ash Wednesday.
Now that may not mean much to many people today.
But in times gone by, it would have been very significant.
It is the start of the Christian Season of Lent, 40 days of denial and preparation, ending with Easter.
For many followers of the Christian faith, this is a time when they give up certain things which afford them pleasure, such as chocolate, alcohol, cakes, or coffee.
They do this because they want to remind themselves that, at the start of his ministry, Jesus went into the desert and suffered temptation.
Now we live in a world where we are bombarded by temptation.
Every advert on our television screens; nearly every article we read in magazines; many of the items in our newspapers, wish to tempt us.
They tell us that if we do this, we will be happier, or more satisfied, or better looking, or slimmer.
Most of it, if we really assess what is being said, we know is complete rubbish.
Yet these temptations work away at our conscience and worry us.
This is what temptation is. It’s something that nags at our mind and invades our inner space.
We don’t know whether we should follow where our inclinations lead or dismiss them as facile.
We don’t know what is right and what is wrong – or even worse, what might not be right but is attractive, nonetheless.
Life is full of temptation. We have to be able to discern the best path for us through everything that would try to attract us and command our attention.
There are all sorts of traps all around us. There is much which would endeavour to call us on to another path.
Can we always know right from wrong? Well, it isn’t always easy, especially when there are so many voices competing for our attention.
But, you know, deep within ourselves, in the very heart of our conscience, there is something which still discerns the decisions we should make.
We have to listen to that voice, to hear it, and to obey it. This is the word that tells us right from wrong.
How can we hear that voice? Well, I believe what we know about Jesus tells us where we should be going and what is right.
The more we know about him, the easier it is for us to distinguish what we should resist, and what we may believe in.
Oh, it isn’t always easy. But it is a help in this far from easy world.
So this Lent, between today and Easter, take time to try to get to know Jesus.
You can do this through the Church, through reading the Gospels in the Bible, through engaging in the Christian fellowship where you live.
Don’t waste the opportunity. It allows you to see what is right and where you should be going.