26 Days Down! 14 Days to Go!
Today’s chapter is about “Growing through Temptation.” One key thing that is shared from the video that goes with this chapter is that:
Its not a sin to be tempted. Temptation is not just an opportunity to do bad but it is also an opportunity to do good.
Perspective Shift – Temptation is Good
One theme that I have seen throughout this book is a shift in perspective on how to view challenges or issues or problems that occur in our lives. Instead of looking at these things negatively and getting mad at the world and at God, we should look at these things as opportunities for growth and evidence that we are moving forward in our relationships with God. Rev. Warren shares the following on this idea:
In one sense you can consider temptation a compliment. Satan does not have to tempt those who are already doing his evil will; they are already his [Emphasis mine].
Also shared in this chpater on this new perspective is one of the OjO moments from this chapter:
Fruit always matures and ripens slowly. This next sentence is one of the most important spiritual truths you will ever learn: God develops the fruit of the Spirit in your life by allowing you to experience circumstances in which you’re tempted to express the exact opposite quality! Character development always involves a choice, and temptation provides that opportunity.
Thinking of temptation as good is a bit counter to human nature, but its like I shared yesterday…some of the most precious gems and metals become what they are because they go through pain and/or fire. Temptation is part of the fire and pain that will allow us to become gold, silver or diamonds. As Job says, “But He knows the way that I take; [When] He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold [Job 23:10 NKJV].”
Attraction v. Arousal v. Lust
It saddens me that the Church/Christians/Believers do not talk more about sex and sexuality from God’s perspective. So when I see Christians taking on this task, I applaud them and I try to share these moments as I feel that shedding light on things or feelings that people may have that they feel ashamed of because it doesn’t fit some image of God or image of what Christians “should act like” is important. Rev. Warren has such a moment in this chapter which is another OjO moment. I pray the following brings you clarity in this area:
For example, many people don’t know the difference between physical attraction or sexual arousal, and lust. They are not the same. God made every one of us a sexual being, and that is good. Attraction and arousal are the natural, spontaneous, God-given responses to physical beauty, while lust is a deliberate act of the will. Lust is a choice to commit in your mind what you’d like to do with your body. You can be attracted or even aroused without choosing to sin by lusting. Many people, especially Christian men, feel guilty that their God-given hormones are working. When they automatically notice an attractive woman, they assume it is lust and feel ashamed and condemned. But attraction is not lust until you begin to dwell on it.
I’m Not Alone
One other thing that I want to share because honestly I thought I was the only one that dealt with this until today:
Sometimes while you are praying, Satan will suggest a bizarre or evil thought just to distract you and shame you. Don’t be alarmed or ashamed by this, but realize that Satan fears your prayers and will try anything to stop them. Instead of condemning yourself with “How could I think such a thought?” treat it as a distraction from Satan and immediately refocus on God.”
This mini-paragraph above there made me feel sooooooooooo much better! It is nice to know that I’m not crazy or that this mental distraction in key moments is a tool that satan uses to keep us away from God and feeling too ashamed to speak and interact with God. I have my own methods to get me back focused on God. How do you focus back when this happens to you?
Well to close, today’s Question to Consider is: “What Christlike character quality can I develop by defeating the most common temptation I face?”
For me, I would say trust. I’ve worked a lot on my patience and I know how to wait….Lord knows I do, lol. But now, I think I have to take that to the next level and really trust that God will do what He said He would do. I also need to trust that God allows things to happen to me that are for my good and that I just need to trust Him and consult Him along the way and learn the lesson I need to learn from every situation I encounter 🙂
Have a blessed day!