Wednesday, November 15, 2006

temptations must come

I spent yesterday in front of a mirror. At least, I realize that today. It's a special sort of mirror that, as long as I live, I fear, because of what it inevitably shows me about myself. It is the mirror of temptation. I've walked with God for enough years to know about this state of soul examination, that to be tempted is not to sin, nor is it an invitation to guilt. We are flesh as well as spirit, plain and simple, and the nature of flesh is to harbor sin. On the face of it, minus any untoward reaction or evaluation, temptation is the means by which God gauges our faith and grows us to maturity. Were it not so utterly painful to experience, that seems like a good thing. Who wants to look in a mirror that reflects the state of the soul, when we know it's going to be the worst bad hair day, morning scuzzy picture, forgot to take off your mascara and were crying the night before sort of thing? But truthfully, it's an invitation to reality and a benchmark as to how far we've come.

But that doesn't stop the pain, the discomfort, the bright light interrogation feeling of it all. I see how well I do not love. I see my desire to own people, to control them, to take from them what I want, not give to them what they need. I see my pride, my ability to manipulate and use my faith for selfish gain. And every time something good comes into my life, I run the temptation gauntlet. I have to remember that Jesus was lead into the desert before His public ministry, TO BE TEMPTED of the devil. God does not tempt. I wish my temptations came at such a worthy state, after 40 days without bread. There's a compelling reason to create some out of rocks if you're starving! Mine seem to come when I know I have a feast in the dining room, and I can't help sampling the goodies in the kitchen.

I had a headache all day, imagined the worst possible, debauched, unrepeatable scenarios in my head, and I wanted to at first. But then there came a moment when I realized, and hopefully much sooner than in times past, this is useless. It's worse than useless, it's negative energy flowing unless I say stop. This isn't love, this isn't anything that leads to life. I want to love the right way. I want God's way and God's least after 24 hours of processing through slime I can say that. Wouldn't you know I was watching tv in that evening trying to relieve the unrelenting headache the day brought, and there, in front of my face, was a character acting out the very situation I was wrestling with. I have to commend the writers of the program, because in the most painfully graphic way the consequences of acting out the sin was demonstrated. Oh, God, how much I need You and Your mirror to help me see!