At once the Spirit drove him out into the desert, and he remained in the desert for forty days, tempted by Satan. He was among wild beasts, and the angels ministered to him.
Mark 1: 12-13
One of the behaviors that God has allowed us to understand through the study of psychology is that, when confronted with something new or dangerous, our animal instincts kick in and the “beast” within us will either “fight or flight.” Our students will do the same because it is imbedded in their human nature to do so. This explains why during our first moments together some of our students naturally hide their true selves behind the mask of their own defense systems. In thinking about how they will survive in their new surroundings, they go into “fight” or “flight” mode.
Jesus was tempted by Satan beyond the norms of all human temptation to choose the worldly promises that Satan offered. Jesus could have easily “fought” or “flew” away, but He stayed and overcame the temptations of the devil. Jesus prevailed because He wore no masks. He had no reason to defend Himself. He knew He was God’s Son. The victory was already His.
We too will be tempted to hide our true souls and sacrifice it for the “beastly” qualities of our human nature- anger, disorganization, inconsistency, and self-love. If we look into our souls and find the qualities that God placed in us when He gave us “dominion over the beasts,” (Genesis 2) we will find faith, intellect, hope and love. With these gifts, we wear no masks; we have no reason to because we know we are God’s sons and daughters. We share in the same victory of Jesus.
After watching us demonstrate these virtues, our students begin to do the same. They lower their natural defenses and begin to open themselves up, some sooner than others.
God has called us to be more than just mere animals, He has called us to be both teachers and students and at the same time His sons and daughters. How beastly a world it would be if we treated each other otherwise!