Temptation Trail

temptationCan things be right on one occasion and wrong at another time? Pastor Allan Fuller, Mountain ParkCommunity Church thinks so. He says, “Temptation is the wrong path to a good want.” What does that mean?
Well, for instance, sex is a good want. God created us as sexual beings with an intense desire for sexual fulfillment. But He has made it pretty clear that there is a right way to achieve that (marriage) and a wrong way (sexual gratification outside marriage).
There are many examples of this and I’m sure many come to your mind easily; better self image (the quick fix—like liposuction vs. cutting the junk food and hitting the gym), a job promotion (what are you willing to do to get ahead?), passing that final exam (is there a shortcut or way to cheat?).
Our lives are filled with choices and we filter those through our own matrix. That may include integrity issues, amount of personal sacrifice, and the impact of the gain. Sometimes our wants are intense and drive us, sometimes they are fleeting. Sometimes they are both, sometimes they are less intense but persistent.
When Sarai longed for a child she told her husband Abram to go sleep with her servant Hagar so they could begin a family using her as a surrogate. (Genesis 16:1) Having a baby is a good want, telling your husband to sleep with the maid to get one—well, I’d say that’s a bad way to reach your goal.
On occasion, things are not so clear-cut. I’ve had opportunities presented to me that seemed wonderful and were answered prayers but the timing wasn’t right so I had to pass. Years ago I was offered a glamorous job doing what I wanted to do but I was already over-committed and knew that if I accepted it my family would suffer. I tried so hard to tell myself that God had blessed me with this chance, but deep down I knew He had something better for me if I’d wait. No Thanks. The words would hardly come out of my mouth. I’m so glad they did though.
Things can go the other way as well. When my father-in-law retired and my husband took over the family business, he asked me to help him. I had never worked in this business or even this industry. I hated the idea and was tempted to give him all the reasons why it wouldn’t work. But I knew that was the wrong path for me to get my good desire met. I wanted us to have financial security and I wanted to feel like I was respected as a professional. Going off on my own path would have accomplished those things-maybe even faster-but I would have missed the chance to work as a partner with my husband and would have no idea about the inner-workings of our company.
Temptation doesn’t always come in obvious forms. It can come in the form of friendships (if they are inappropriate), physical fitness (if true health is sacrificed) and success (if we claim the glory instead of giving it to God).

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