Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Temptation

I can't sleep. And, when I can't sleep, I get to thinking. And when I get to thinking, I get to talking (or writing), and have a hard time shutting up until I've said what's on my mind. That's sometimes a little awkward, given that I know that several people I see on a routine basis (or at least will, once the Fall semester begins) read what I write. The desire, therefore, to hide a lot of things is pretty strong, as I obviously don't want to reveal my weaknesses. After all, no one wants the notion in their head that whenever certain friends see them, they think "Man, HokiePundit thinks whatever about something! He's a sicko, compared to my other friends, whom I presume do not think the way he does!" But, on the other hand, if you don't share what's on your mind, you can hardly expect other people to do the same. Sometimes it does take one person to clear the air to talk about subjects. I don't mean that I think whenever I write about myself that I'm being bold and opening doors, but I do think that it's still a worthwhile thing to do.

Anyway, I was thinking about temptation. I tend to be fairly cautious, and so with me temptation often takes the form of "everyone else has done it, why shouldn't you?" My cautiousness usually wins out, and while I've done some things that I've regretted, I've been lucky and blessed enough not do have done anything "permanent." I've never done drugs. I've gotten drunk, but never passed out or forgotten what I've done. I've never had sex; heck, I've never even kissed a girl! I don't have a criminal record, nor have I done anything where I ought to have one. So that's good.

However, some of those things only happened because of things outside of my control. The clearest example was in my Freshman year of college, when I was feeling really down at one point. I'd gone over to a party, and had made up my mind that, contrary to my decision not to drink until I was legal, I was going to have something that night. One friend opened up the fridge and asked me if I wanted some alcohol. Just as I was about to say "yes," another friend staggered over drunkenly and said "you know he doesn't drink!" That gave me just enough pause to decide against it.

Part of being tempted is when I realize all the things that I could've done. I could easily have gotten drunk as soon as I came to college. In England, it would've been incredibly easy to get marijuana; I seemed to be the only one in my house who wasn't smoking up daily. I've actually been propositioned before. There are plenty of times where I could've gotten away with minor or even not-so-minor crimes because there were no authorities present. I'm not bragging and saying how great I am not to have done these things. My point is that when I'm tempted, it's these things which come to mind. "Do you remember so-and-so? Man, you could've scored with her if you'd tried! I sure hope this Christianity thing is worth it, because you'll seriously have gotten screwed over if you're wrong about it..."

Personally, I think God has protected me from these things because He has a purpose for me. Not necessarily some purpose like becoming the catalyst for a mass revival or finding a cure for cancer, but perhaps just something like being a good husband, father, and man. To take the example of kissing, I think it's a pretty nifty gift that I'll be able to give my future wife (as always, assuming that's the road God wants me to travel) that she'll be the first and only girl I've ever kissed.

Part of it is realizing that I can't work on my own schedule or rely on my own skills and talents. God has to be there. Just because I may have found the perfect girl doesn't mean that now is the proper time. Likewise, I'm pretty sure that I should be a teacher, at least for a few years, but I need to make sure that the place I go and the way I teach are in accordance with God's will. It's very tempting for me, as one who often struggles with patience, to rush in, grab the full value of everything that I can based on whatever my looks, education, or anything else of mine can get me. Could I get a relatively decent job, a wife, and a nice enough house right now and without God? Probably. But with God, we get what He gives and not what we've earned, and that's the thing. What He gives is worth far more and lasts so much longer. He's the one who knows what's really best for me, and by trusting in Him to provide for me, my needs are met far better than if I just look at myself and get what I think I need.

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