Sunday, September 29, 2002
Well, I know that I haven't posted much lately, and for that you have my apologies. What follows may partially explain it, though (and do remind me to talk about Hobbes, Rousseau, Locke, heaven, and earth in the near future).
Lately, I've been greatly tempted. I'd prefer to not to say anything specific, including the type of temptation, since it might identify it to some of my readers. It's not the sort of thing where outside help would be very useful, though you can add me to your prayers if you're so inclined.
Anyway, back to my temptation. From what I can see, it has advantageous and disadvantageous aspects, and giving in to this temptation wouldn't be a sin. However, I would be seriously risking losing a current great hope of mine, and I can envision several scenarios where dishonesty and disloyalty could easily become evident if I wasn't firmly committed to taking this potential course of action. Since I don't think I can fully commit, it seems best to at least wait. I can't directly deal with the source of my trouble right now anyway, so that's another argument for waiting.
However, what gets to me is this: whenever I'm tempted or tested, my defiant nature* shows through, and I resent the heck out of the trial. I don't resent God, since I know He's helping me. If I resent anyone, it's either myself or Satan, though it's generally the situation itself that I dislike. My question is: should we welcome tests and rejoice in them, so long as we pass, or should we try to avoid them?
I don't believe that we're ever given a task that we cannot manage. It may be extremely hard and require incredible sacrifices, but we are always capable of fulfilling our mission. As such, with a true reliance on God and using all of our knowledge and wisdom, we should be able pass every test that comes our way. Thus, we should have no fear and welcome tempting. However, it's not always that simple. If I had a dozen beautiful girls sans clothing constantly throwing themselves at me, several things would happen. I'd first try and avert my eyes. I'd then politely decline. I'd then forcefully decline, while also praying for strength. Next, I would do my best to remove myself from the situation. However, these girls are rabid stalkers, and this isn't possible. As a last resort, I'd probably curl up into a fetal ball, start screaming at them, and praying the Lord's Prayer obsessively. However, I suspect that I'd eventually give in, if only to end the torment of being tempted. We all have our breaking points, and while we can withstand temptation, most of us don't do so all the time.
It would seem like the best course is to do your best to avoid temptation, except that this avoids the problem. Temptation usually comes when we're least looking for it, and so avoidance is nearly impossible. Withstanding temptation makes us stronger, though, and thus we are more worthy to be in God's presence the more we keep the faith.
I'm not sure where I stand on this right now. If you have thoughts, I'd love to hear them.
*I actually have an extremely defiant nature, and don't take orders very well from those who I believe to be unqualified to issue them (that said, I also work very hard when I believe that it's my actual duty to do so). I know that we're not supposed to be defiant; I'll say that I'm improving, though I've got a long way to go.