All of us have, and will, come face to face with temptation. If all of your cylinders are firing, you’re facing temptation daily. My post is not a sermon on good and evil, though the two have a part to play. I really want the focus to be on what temptation looks like and how it plays out to our harm.
The idea of temptation is found in moving in a direction that will ultimately cause harm-great or small. Temptation is also subtle and unique in the beginning. Which is why so many fail the test come exam time.
The following are some areas that temptation shows up in:
- Physical Health
Think for a moment. Do any of the areas connect for you? Are you in the midst of giving in now?
I’m not going to give a topic-by-topic breakdown, just a general process to understand and resist what may be tempting you.
Subtlety and Innocence
Every temptation begins with subtlety and seeming innocence. The subtlety usually appears in a quiet and calm persona. It could be a person or situation. In my case, there was a time where I encountered both. I was rising at a heady (at least it felt that way) clip in my career. On one occasion I had a conversation over lunch with someone I admired and trusted. He told me I was a part of the group of young executives that would be asked to take the helm at the next level, when the current leadership retired. I remember stopping (in my head) and reviewing his opinion. It sounded great and he was in a position to know, so why not take what he said as fact? At the same moment the reason side of me kicked in. Questions like; “do I even want to be the next thing” and “are you giving in to flattery?” ran through my mind. In the end, I allowed my reason to win the day and deflected the conversation into the wind.
I’ve also had situations where I gave into temptation. This is a tough one to write. I had been given advice over the years to listen to my wife. Not as an obedience thing, but as a good source of wisdom and intuition. I remember vividly a time where my wife warned me about a venture I was pursuing. The venture seemed sound, and ripe for success. She didn’t feel good about it and wanted me to pass on the opportunity. I faced a crossroads. Would I listen to her sound advice or push forward with my plans (one thing you should be aware of is the power ego plays in these scenarios)? In this case, I gave into the temptation my ego laid out. It cost me dearly.
Notice the subtlety and innocence in my two situations? I look back and can understand the subtlety of my thoughts and the innocence of seemingly good things/opportunities.
The end goal of temptation is to lull you and give you a false sense of reality. Voices like the following come next:
- “Try it once and see”
- “Everyone tells you how talented you are”
- “You may never get this chance again”
- “You can’t say no, they need you”
- “I should be as successful as he/she is”
Again, maybe you’re in the midst of deciding whether you will pay heed to temptation or resist. I wrote this post for you and for me because there’s so much evidence of how better life is when you don’t give in.
If you would like more help with this topic, reach out to me directly.