Thursday, August 18, 2016

When Tempted

Thursday, August 18, 2016
O Lord, I have come to you for protection; don’t let me be disgraced.  Save me and rescue me, for you do what is right.  Turn your ear to listen to me, and set me free.  Be my rock of safety where I can always hide.  Give the order to save me, for you are my rock and my fortress.
My God, rescue me from the power of the wicked, from the clutches of cruel oppressors.  O Lord, you alone are my hope. I’ve trusted you, O Lord, from childhood.  Yes, you have been with me from birth; from my mother’s womb you have cared for me.  No wonder I am always praising you!   Psalm 71:1-6

Besides writing the Narnia series and a host of other works on the Christian life, C.S. Lewis carried on a vigorous correspondence with many people.  Among his letters is this bit of advice penned to a man who had asked for help resisting temptation:

Of course I have had and still have plenty of temptations.  Frequent and regular prayer, and frequent and regular Communions, are a great help, whether they feel at the time as if they were doing you good or whether they don’t. I also found great help in monthly confession to a wise old clergyman.
Perhaps, however, the most important thing is to keep on: not to be discouraged however often one yields to the temptation, but always to pick yourself up again and ask forgiveness.  In reviewing your sins don’t either exaggerate them or minimise them.  Call them by their ordinary names and try to see them as you would see the same faults in somebody else—no special blackening or whitewashing.  Remember the condition on which we are promised forgiveness:  we shall always be forgiven provided that we forgive all who sin against us.  If we do that we have nothing to fear:  if we don’t, all else will be in vain.  Of course there are other helps which are more commonsense.  We must learn by experience to avoid either trains of thought or social situations which for us (not necessarily for everyone) lead to temptations.  Like motoring—don’t wait till the last moment before you put on the brakes but put them on, gently and quietly, while the danger is still a good way off.[ii]

Most of Scripture’s advice about the temptation to do that which is wrong screams out: RUN THE OTHER WAY!!!

But, for anyone who wants to keep a pure and right relationship with God and fellow humans, we also know that, whether it is appetite for food, sex, power, recognition or any other temptation dangling before our eyes, there are times we give-in.  C.S. Lewis’ advice for confession at this point is priceless…don’t offer excuses for giving-in, or being lured into it; don’t minimize, and don’t exaggerate the sin…just call it by its’ common ordinary name before God. 

And remember, forgiveness is dependent on your attitude.  So that means decide before you begin confession that you will ask God to help you stand against that temptation the next time it shows up.

For You Today

If you struggle with addictive ways to something that you’d never want known, ask God for wisdom at the point of first recognition that temptation is coming, and strength to apply the brakes, quietly, gently, and decisively.  You can’t RUN THE OTHER WAY, until you change direction!

You chew on that as you hit the Rocky Road today…have a blessed day!


[i] Title Image:  By Ottó Baditz [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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