The Good Thing About Temptation

Can temptation become a force for good in our lives?

Have you reached the age where temptation is avoiding you? Me neither. On the golf course I’m tempted to kick my golf ball from behind a tree while pointing at wildlife. And to cheat at Dutch Blitz. My kids know this. They watch me like hawks, counting my cards after each round.

Four priests went on a weekend and agreed to confess their biggest temptations. The first said his was plagiarism. “I just pull everything off the internet and put my name on it.” The second priest said, “I gamble. Instead of preparing my homily I sometimes bet on the ponies.” “Mine is worse,” said priest number three. “I sometimes can’t control the urge to drink. I once broke into the sacramental wine.” The fourth priest was quiet. “Brothers,” he said, “I love to gossip. If you’ll excuse me, I’d like to make a few phone calls.”

Temptation. We’ve all fallen into its trap. I’ve looked, snapped, gossiped, lied, and lusted. A friend and I were talking about this and he said,

“Is there anything good about temptation?”It got me thinking.

Can temptation become a force for good in our lives? I think so. But only when we take four steps.

1. Give thanks that we recognize it. God has given us a moral compass to discern right from wrong, new desires, and the power to avoid landmines in our path. 1 Corinthians 10:13 says that when we are tempted God will provide a way out.

2. Give thanks that we have an example. When we set our eyes, not on the temptation, but on Christ, we find he was tempted too.

“Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted” (Hebrews 2:18).

“His power is at work in us” (Ephesians 3:20).

3. Give thanks for grace. The children’s song is right, “We all fall down.” But that’s not the end of the story. We get up. Dust ourselves off. And press on.

4. Give thanks for the opportunity to grow a backbone. Christians believe that Satan is a liar, and he wants us for lunch. God desires what’s best for his kids. True joy comes when we turn from temporary pleasures and say yes to that which truly satisfies.  I must remember these things. Tonight the kids are showing up to play Dutch Blitz.

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Phil Callaway

Phil Callaway, the host of Laugh Again, is an award-winning author and speaker, known worldwide for his humorous yet perceptive look at life.

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