Saturday, April 13, 2013

Temptation

Pillsbury Cinnamon Rolls. Mmm. I made up a tube of those sinfully, delicious treats this weekend for me and my wife. We try to limit ourselves to just two apiece, but two is just not enough. Invariably, we always return to the kitchen for "just one more." Truth be told, I could eat an entire tube all by myself. All eight of them! They're THAT GOOD!!

We don't eat them that often. That's probably a good thing. If we did, we'd never be able to get out of the house! Our three-foot wide door simply would not be wide enough to allow egress for our "wide load" cinnamon butts. Those cinnamon rolls are just sooooo good.

Peanut M&M's Oh, yeah. There's another thing I could eat an entire bag of. Although that probably would NOT be a good thing for me to do. I tend to gain a little weight whenever those things are around. They tempt me you know - just lying there in a little bowl on the kitchen counter. It's their fault! They actually call out to me. "Bob, come over and spend some time with us."

Candy, cinnamon rolls or any really good tasting food item can all be a form of temptation. There are many other types of temptation as well, many other ways we can become tempted, and they all share one thing in common. Ourselves, and our continual desire to feed our id, our "self." When we place OUR wants above our needs.

Television is absolutely FILLED with temptation. The latest luxury car, a sizzling steak on a grille, a beautiful super-model, with wind blowing through her hair, advertising the underwear that she is ALMOST wearing. Ads like these are ALWAYS playing. It's not like we choose to watch them either. They just come on and they're in our heads. So, do you know what I do? I turn off the TV or I get up and go into another room. I don't need that stuff in my head, bouncing around where it shouldn't be.

I heard someone say once that, "You can't keep a bird from flying over your head, but you CAN keep a bird from building a nest in your hair." That's a little weird but it's a good thing to remember. We can see a good looking guy or gal walking down the street but it's what we do with that image in our minds that defines us and who we really are . . . in God's eyes.

I believe in the old adage, "Out of site, out of mind." For example, my wife likes to bake. She makes wonderfully delicious breads and cookies. When they're sitting on the counter, I eat them. I can say to myself, "I probably should eat these four cookies, but I'll watch what I eat . . . later . . .after they're all gone." But if my wife would bake her banana bread and then hide it, I'd never know any better. I wouldn't eat the bread because it wasn't in my line of sight. Unless, of course, I could smell it.

We humans have been tempted from Day 1. I wrote a little bit about that in a blog I posted a few weeks ago (Sin). We will always be tempted. So what do we do about it? How do we keep that "bird" from building a nest in our head?

Turn off the television. That's the biggest step right there. When you see a beautiful woman, or a good looking guy, walking down the hallway at work, turn your head. Take a different hallway. When the opportunity for temptation presents itself, kick it in the groin. I think that's the key. Don't let temptation have a chance.

Here's something that will mess with your head a bit. Do you know the Lord's Prayer? It can be found in the book of Matthew (6:9-13) and in the Book of Luke (11:1-4). Look at Matthew, verse 13 - "And lead us not into temptation . . ." implying that God might lead us into temptation. Think about that for a moment. Jesus is praying to God, asking, not to be led into temptation. Why would God do that? If we read James 1:13 we are told, "Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one."

Isn't this a conflict in the Bible? These two verses seem contradictory. Context, my friends context. God will never TEMPT us to sin, but he WILL TEST us. Although God himself doesn't tempt us to sin, God allows us to be tempted as a test. Read James 1:12

"Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him."

The Hebrew word for tempted is "nacah" which means, "to test, try, prove, tempt, assay, put to the proof or test.” The Greek word for temptation, "peiraz√≥," means ,"try, tempt, test." It is a test!

When we ARE tempted to sin, it is not from God. But God will use those temptations as a test of our faith and our character. Ahh! So, what do I need to do to pass the test??

Well, the next time I make cinnamon rolls for my wife, I need to look at my temptation to eat more rolls than I should . . . as a test. Gluttony (eating too much) is a sin (Deuteronomy 21:20) so maybe next time, although I am tempted, I will choose not to eat the entire package of cinnamon rolls.

"They tested God in their heart by demanding the food they craved." - Psalm 78:18

I'm not one for changing or modifying God's Word but perhaps this "translation" would have made more sense to those who tend to say "God tempted me.". . .

"Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into trials, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen." - Matthew 6:9-13 (KJV)

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