Monday, September 19, 2016

lead us not

Lewis tells us about temptation today in A Year with C.S. Lewis.

He says, quite rightfully, that we learn more about something by fighting it than by giving in, in general. I do submit that we learn more about God by cooperating with Him than we do by resisting Him. But that's a different story for another day.

When it comes to temptation, I can tell you from a lifetime of experience that keeping my focus on something good and worthwhile is usually the best way to avoid it. Once the idea of temptation takes root in my mind, it becomes extremely difficult to push it away. I had a Freudian slip typing that last sentence... my fingers, instead of typing "becomes extremely", typed instead "become sextremely"... thus betraying the temptation that so easily entangles me.

But thanks be to God, He helps us to focus. He gives us so many good things in our lives that we can center our minds on. He hears our prayers when we say "Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil". And He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness, when we do fall.

The most important thing is to keep coming back to Him. He knows we're going to fall. We're human. It's not an excuse, and doesn't give us license to stop trying. The harder we try, the more we grow in our relationship to Him, the better our lives become. The more we fall, the more we give in, the more limited our lives are. But He never gives up on us. And as long as we keep trying, we can't lose.

God, thank You for helping us avoid temptation... and forgiving us when we fail.