Friday, May 2, 2014

What is Temptation?

Have you ever stopped to think about what temptation actually is?  

We all know what sin is: the full-blown act of rebellion against God by disobeying his commandments.

But how do we get there?

It starts with an idea. A thought muddling around in our heads that is contrary to the Christian virtues of Faith, Hope, Temperance, Prudence and Charity. (more on those later.)

But what is temptation?

James writes that “…each of you is tempted when you are dragged away by your own evil desires and enticed.” (James 1: 14)

But what desires? 

Sometimes those desires are childish and simple: for luxury beyond our means, to have everything that our un-tamed heart desires, for that third helping of a chocolate dessert, the designer clothes or jewelry, bigger house,  or ____? (fill in the blank)

Sometimes the temptation is more subtle; things we allow to get in-between our worship of God, or the study of His word. Things we let take first place in our lives rather than God: our job, our hobbies, our spouse, our kids (or grand-kids), the well-wishing and praise of co-workers and friends.  
All these things, if they sneak into a role more important that God; those become temptations.

But even more insidious are the temptation where we begin to believe we know better than God how to handle a situation.


After all, haven’t we grown to the place that we know ourselves and our needs. Why do we need to seek God’s plan? We just know what is the right thing to do; what the right job is for us, the right person to be our partner (single or married!), the right course of action for a complicated decision. We will act, and God will bless our action by giving us success.

We run the scenarios in our mind; just like a play where we are the star and the director. We practice the dialog in our mind, we visualize every step: yes, we know exactly what will happen, and are sure God will make this happen just as we planed and envisioned.

What??

Remember: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In everything you do, submit to and acknowledge HIM and HE will make your path straight.” Prov. 3:5-6 (paraphrase)


Lord, will you give me your grace and strength, that I can trust that you do know what is best for me...

even when I’m tempted to believe otherwise. 
Amen.

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