As we near the end of Lent I thought I would write about temptation. At the beginning of Lent we hear about how Jesus fasted in the wilderness for forty days and then was tempted by the Evil One (Matthew 4:1). And of course we all know the story of Eve and how the serpent tempted her (Genesis 3). All sin begins with temptation. I suppose the reason we can be tempted goes back to that whole free will thing.
It isn’t easy to avoid temptation it really is everywhere, especially in today’s world. In a world where (here I go again) we have removed God from our lives, replacing morality with materialism, narcissism, individualism, hedonism and minimalism we have allowed temptation to become very pervasive in our lives. Look around at pop culture, the music, movies, television shows, video games for just one example. There are plenty more. Now I know what you are thinking “Here we go, another one of these guys who is going to tell us to spend all day praying and reading the Bible.” Nope, I’m not (although it couldn’t hurt). I think you should know by now I am not one of those guys. I am more of the “Yes, I believe in God and do my best to be a good Catholic and Christian but I am more interested in getting our moral compass straightened out through any means possible” kind of guy.
I really think it is hard to argue the point that our moral compass has been turned upside down, whether you believe in God or not. Again this goes to the world we live in where anything goes. I am not sure how long society can survive like this, there will come a point when it will collapse upon itself and we will spiral out of control. For those of us who do believe in God, this is when He will decide “Enough is enough” and it will truly be the end times. Have we reached this point already? Who really knows.
Anyway, once again I have managed to go off track.
I came across this passage from a post entitled “Overcoming Temptations of Daily Life“, and I thought how true it is for me:
Letting Fear Guide Your Life.
You may be surprised by how much of what you do is guided by fear. Fear of failure, fear of losing your possessions, fear of not being respected–any fear that may sway your life. Fear can certainly serve a valid purpose, but it ought to be tempered by an underlying faith. Trusting in God is the greatest antidote to fear because it allows us make good use of our fear. Once you’ve decided on a course of action that you nonetheless fear, acknowledge your fear and move forward. Such an act is an act of faith.
I have let fear guide me an awful lot throughout my life, although, honestly not so much now. I have feared failing at jobs, at raising my kids, at marriage (which I did, but alas that is a story for another day, or not) and even writing. Because of these fears I have not taken chances I probably should have, I have made bad decisions based on these fears, and then gave in to the various temptations which led me to sin, and a rather long list of them at that.
It’s kind of funny, the thing I should have feared the most I didn’t. No, I won’t say the wrath of God, but if you go back a few posts where I talked about what comes next, and rolling the dice, I should have feared what may happen after I leave this life. But again, whether you believe or not, making decisions based on fear will have a negative impact on them. There are times when you have to take chances, not dangerous ones (in the sense of you could lose your life or cause someone else to lose theirs) but chances which could help you improve your situation.
Failing isn’t the worst thing that could ever happen to you. Sometimes you need to go back in order to go forward. I know I have failed many times, but I have gotten up, although it hasn’t always been easy, and gone on. am I necessarily a success now? I guess depending on your definition of success, I think I am, I have come a long way but I still have a long way to go.
I do know in my case however, there are two big differences in my life now, the first definitely led to the second. I met a wonderful woman, a woman who I believe was sent by God to me, and because of her and some of the trials and tribulations which have come our way, I now also trust in God.
Here are some books on morality you can order from Amazon: