A Tempting Thought

A new series at church started yesterday. A “journey” more than a set of sermons the pastor hopes. It really has me thinking today… What are the temptations I struggle with? Am I willing to be transparent to other people about those things? How transparent? With whom? Do I need accountability? Do I WANT accountability? From whom? I tend to be either thoroughly transparent or shut down. You get my whole life, or nothing. Gray areas are not my strong point. Also, I’m a “work it out on paper” kind of person (or online these days), so my process is here too.
 
First we must define temptation I think. A temptation is a noun. Derived from the word tempt, a verb, an action. Temptations are both things that I actively desire and crave (things – a noun), and actions or behavior that I know I should avoid.They are also the thoughts (nouns) that accompany these things. Temptation is defined as: 
  • something that seduces or has the quality to seduce
  • the desire to have or do something that you know you should avoid; “he felt the temptation and his will power weakened”
  • A temptation is an act that looks appealing to an individual. It is usually used to describe acts with negative connotations and as such, tends to lead a person to regret such actions as a result of guilt.
  • Pastor James says that each temptation has more riding on it than I think. That my ability to resist temptation has a tremendous impact on my life and the lives around me. And that it all comes down to “Do I trust God?”. It is convicting in many ways. It’s not “just this once”, it’s never “not hurting anyone else”. Even though feeling temptation is TOTALLY normal and a part of being human, it’s not just about me when I cannot resist.

    The following is a list of some temptations I deal with:

    1. Food – Sweet and fatty foods are my downfall. I actively crave ice cream and chocolate in general, and frequently give in to that temptation, even though I know it will do bad things for me. I have a fairly long laundry list of foods that tempt me. I also hate that I gain weight and constantly bemoan my weight and lack of energy. Yet I still have a real problem resisting the temptation to purchase and eat these things.
    2. Selfishness – taking my time and energy and applying as much as possible to me and not to my family or my work. Wanting to spend my evenings and my weekends doing things I enjoy and ignoring the things I don’t want to do is a tremendous temptation. This includes playing on my computer, reading a book, going shopping. It’s not that doing those things are wrong, all of those things are fine. It’s the matter of doing something to the exclusion of spending time with my family, taking care of my responsibilities, or cultivating my relationships with God and with friends.
    3. Emotional attachments to inappropriate people. I don’t crave or desire this, but I get tempted to develop relationships with some people by the feeling of connection I get from them. If I wouldn’t want my husband to overhear or read (online) my interactions with someone, then there is something terribly wrong with that relationship.
    4. Information – this may seem like an odd thing to be tempted by, but the proximity and availability and speed of getting information online is a terrible temptation for me that distracts me from doing my job. (“What am I missing? Do I have any email? What is new in the news that I should know about? What’s happening in the world? Where can I find this or that?”)
    5. Control – The temptation to grab control, to be in control at home is sometimes overwhelming. Allowing John to make household decisions or be in charge of things is very difficult for me. I fear the consequences when I don’t make the calls. At the same time I want to be able to depend on him.
    6. Perfectionism – This is all about control, but with a different subtext. “If you want something done right you have to do it yourself, no one else can be trusted to do the job well enough.” At the same time, i’m also wanting to be selfish and lazy and do nothing.

    I hope this “journey” can assist me in overcoming some of the temptations in my life that are harming my walk through life instead of helping or easing it. Having a bowl of ice cream “because I deserve it” isn’t helping me beyond the immediate moment. It is, in fact, harming me, helping to take me to a weight that causes me personal anguish and if I don’t change it, will cause me health problems. High blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes are the things that immediately come to mind as being in my family and that come from being overweight and out of shape.

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    3 responses to “A Tempting Thought

    • RegularGoy

      Very few things are intrinsically wrong. A lot of things are wrong if you do them in the wrong context. I’m very suspicious of “temptation” sermons because usually they focus on the pastor’s particular hobby-horses–sex, profanity, drinking, in short all the things I like to do.

    • Carpus06

      I found your entry very thought provoking. I found myself wondering where the guilt we experience from acting upon temptations, comes from. If God exists and we were all created in His image, is it something that is intrinsically ‘built in’ to our psyche? Or, does the guilt stem from years of the unconscious conditioning we adopt from others, as the norm, throughout early childhood? Are we afraid to be seen as selfish if we do the things that give us pleasure? Are we perhaps afraid of being condemned by others for acting upon our own desires. Very interesting subject.

    • curtin_severn

      i wonder what ice cream has to do with trusting god. this posting and tree’s posting have certainly hit a nerve. i want to get on my high horse, but i’ll try not to. i like you and i like how your brain works. i think that having trust in yourself and awareness about why you do the things that you do and when and where are so much more important in achieving change. that being said, i am in full support of recognizing personal limitations and habits that are unhealthy. i think that we owe ourselves much grace to change them and when we take ownership of ourselves we are more likely to stick with our change and be proud of ourselves. leaving it to god detracts from our strength and our will. utilizing both those things creates a foundation of reward for change. i theorize. i am so passionate about people recognizing their own strength and loving themselves….

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