Faith & Reason ... a mystery

Monday, February 18, 2013

Temptations are Useful....the proof is in the resistance!

Now this is a quote that I can resonate with: "Our life on this earth is warfare." This was said by Thomas 'a Kempis from his writings in, "The Imitation of Christ." I agree that this life is hard and that we are at war. The temptations of this world are not to be taken lightly. These pesky temptations lead me astray and away from the God I love. I don't want anything to do with them and I certainly rebuke them out of my life. War against the temptations are the only means for survival against evil that dwells within my sinful nature. War against temptations is also the only way to fight off the evil one and his evil snares that so easily entangle my progress.

Here is quote that surprised me: "Temptations can be useful to us even though they seem to cause us nothing but pain." My first surprise was that the words came from the same man that declared war. How can you reconcile that life is a war against temptations and then state that these same temptations are good? My second surprise was in the idea that these horrible tugs in my flesh that I have tried to rid my life of are actually something that I am supposed to appreciate as useful. But, I kept reading and my thoughts were enlightened with the third quote. I see a new understanding of God's favor. Thomas wrote, "Temptation reveals our instability and our lack of trust in God; temptations reveal who we are."

This explanation helped me come to terms with never escaping temptations. Temptations are the piece to the puzzle that are not sin, but the piece to the puzzle that defines the "who" in our commitment to God. I do think God allows temptations to come our way, but I do not believe God sits on the throne planning ways to cause us to stumble. God is much like a parent watching his/her child take their first steps. God is not pushing us down, but watching to see what we will do next. So, why does he allow temptations come, because it is the means for growth. The athlete must suffer grueling struggle in order to build up muscle. The musician makes many mistakes in rehearsal for through the rehearsal the mistakes are made correct through repetition and a beautiful concert emerges. The artist struggles with colors and application in order to find a clean production of an amazing sight to behold.

Thomas has helped me come to a new appreciation for the struggle of temptation. It is for the purpose of learning to resist temptation and draw closer to God. Our resistance to the temptation is to walk with the Lord. The resistance is the proof I am serious in my faith and there in lies the value because the more I resist, the more I rely on God for my existence. The reliance on God is then complimented in (1) striving for others, (2) living as less is more, (3) living without recognition or importance, and (4) allowing God's will to completely fill me.

It is true there is value in temptation and I don't truly want to live without the existence of temptation, but I desire to live a life of resistance to temptation. You know I love ya, Don

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