This week on one of my favorite teaching Pastor's T.V. broadcast, Joyce Meyer has been talking about temptation and how to resist it. I have relished every word and it has made me to pray and think more clearly about "knowing my self" I am very good at picking out the faults and weaknesses of others and then exploiting them to keep my self exalted. (a weakness? Indeed!)
So, let me pick on my self for now. As I began to pray about discovering, uncovering-I should say- my incidences of temptations that lead to sin. Sin being the end result of all behavior that leads ultimately to premature death. No, I don't struggle anymore with the oh so obvious stuff that ruled over my rebellious youth; drunkeness, carousing, debauchery, witchcraft, drug induced stupors, stealing merchandise, foul mouthed cursing and less than modest attire meant to draw attention to what I considered my greatest "assets" As a matter of fact, these days don't even seem like rebelliousness because I don't remember ever knowing that these things were not okay, not to the people I wanted to impress anyway. I knew that I was going against the grain of what is considered normal and average, I still do that. A non conforming attitude I guess.
Well, now that I have given up drugs, alcohol, stealing and sex outside of marriage, I suppose that all is well on my moral front. But wait! What is inside these walls proves to be more disturbing than the enemies that roam about the outside. My inward desires left unchecked remain the same; to escape from reality, be irresponsible, draw attention to myself, conform the world to me and my way of thinking, exalt my opinions above yours, demand service with a smile, be left alone when I want to be and have close friends who love me and want to be with me more than anyone else, to be approved of by everyone while not myself giving approval at all, I may not steal merchandise but I am tempted to steal the show. Laziness, procrastination, anger, jealousy, gossip, slander and good intentions that never amount to anything good.
It has been an interesting week as I have been called to attention in these moments of temptation, these pre-fall moments. Seriously, it is like I hear this little voice saying"Here it is! You are about to go in the wrong direction, are you sure this is the right way to go?"
Here is a sample of a situation I was drawn into with more speculation than usual this week... As the woman at the Deli used her gloved hands to grab my meat, slap it on the scale, after sighing loudly about my order and complaining to her co workers about her readiness to leave, as she used her gloved hand to rub her face(ewww!) and then when she went to hand me my order while trying to avoid my smile, she threw the meat onto the counter and missed, thus throwing it onto the floor. As she apologized lamely and said how tired she was while still avoiding my gaze and thrusting the package over the top more gently and as I considered every wrong, mean thing I thought of her that I wanted to say and wondered if I could disguise my anger with a "concern" while letting the manager know of her disgusting and inconsiderate behavior, while I considered her delicate fate and the power of life and death that lay in my hands at that moment...Oh, how hard it was to listen to that still small voice that cries"Grace and Mercy and Forgiveness" but I did! And I haven't even told a soul about that event until now-I can be such an elephant, refusing to forget even the smallest injustice and the enemy outside the gate need never to come in as long as I am in here with my selfish desires and self righteousness to keep me company. I just walked on, I finished my shopping and went about my day. I did not cry out or tattle on her. If you only could understand how hard it is for me to be quiet about things that bother me! If you only knew how easily I am bothered by everyone and everything! How I can ignore the big stuff and trip all over the small stuff all day long. Lord help me for I am weak!
Now that I know what tempts me I am called to pray-to avoid it at all costs and to pray to God to strengthen me, by no means is this something that I can fix on my own. My eyes have been opened, I am a bit less deceived about my own righteousness and ever so grateful for God who loves me just as I am.