Skip to main content

Aha! Now I see it!

Catherine the Great - ever heard of this leader of Russia? She was renown in her time, bringing great increase to the Russian economy throughout her reign. She did much to increase the vast territory of Russia, even extending Russian development into the Alaskan territory. In her brief 67 years on this earth, she took over as Queen after the death of her husband and with increasing help from great generals, admirals, and armies she was able to make Russia the fastest growing country of the time. She is quoted as saying, "I am one of the people who love the why of things." In this respect, we are a lot alike, because I live to understand the why behind things. There are times it gets a little exasperating to not get at the "why" behind a matter - but I keep driving toward it until I can somehow get it fully revealed. She made another very keen observation I wanted to share with you this morning: "For to tempt and to be tempted are things very nearly allied - whenever feeling has anything to do in the matter, no sooner is it excited than we have already gone vastly farther than we are aware of."

But those who chase riches are constantly falling into temptation and snares. They are regularly caught by their own stupid and harmful desires, dragged down and pulled under into ruin and destruction. (I Timothy 6:9 VOICE)

One of the things I have often pursued the "why" behind is this pull of what serves as temptation to me (and others, for that matter). It is kind of an elusive thing at times - evading discovery because it is masked by all manner of pride, fear, and mistrust.  I think Catherine may have hit the nail on the head with her observation, though. You see, she indicates what most of us already somehow know, but fail to fully recognize in our "fight to resist" the ugly temptation in front of us.  It is simply the mistrust we have in our feelings - we rely upon them way too much!  When feeling has entered the picture, we find we go way further than we ever intended to go. Intention is the thing behind our will-power, but feeling is the enemy of our intention!

It is important to recognize temptation is not a "thing" that just happens somewhere along the way.  It exists all around us, but isn't really all that recognizable because it is there as a "trap" and as my pastor so eloquently put it last weekend, traps aren't meant to be seen!  They are called traps because you don't easily recognize them!  You wouldn't step into one if you knew it was going to fling you twenty feet into the air and leave you suspended like a ham in the smokehouse!  What causes us to not see the trap?  It isn't that we are incapable of recognizing the trap, it is that we aren't really looking for one!

The "why" behind temptation may very well be the mistrust we place in our emotions (feelings).  We allow them to carry us along, almost without any constraint or restraint.  Then in a moment in time, we are caught up in the trap, dangling there wondering how on earth we ended up where we are at the moment.  As Catherine so aptly pointed out, as soon as our feelings are "excited", we have been carried way further into the temptation than we might really be willing to acknowledge.  As so many have told me, they didn't see it coming!  Truth be told, we did "sense" it though - we "felt it" and we didn't know how to resist or constrain those feelings.

The why behind temptation may not always be a specific action, but rather a trust in a particular "feeling" or "emotion" more than we recognize.  We pay attention to the feeling more than we pay attention to our well-orchestrated plan to resist!  The sooner we understand the pitiful state of trusting in what we feel over trusting what we know to be true, the sooner we will begin to see the clever trap laid at our feet!  Just sayin!


Popular posts from this blog

What did obedience cost Mary and Joseph?

As we have looked at the birth of Christ, we have considered the fact he was born of a virgin, with an earthly father so willing to honor God with his life that he married a woman who was already pregnant.  In that day and time, a very taboo thing.  We also saw how the mother of Christ was chosen by God and given the dramatic news that she would carry the Son of God.  Imagine her awe, but also see her tremendous amount of fear as she would have received this announcement, knowing all she knew about the time in which she lived about how a woman out of wedlock showing up pregnant would be treated.  We also explored the lowly birth of Jesus in a stable of sorts, surrounded by animals, visited by shepherds, and then honored by magi from afar.  The announcement of his birth was by angels - start to finish.  Mary heard from an angel (a messenger from God), while Joseph was set at ease by a messenger from God on another occasion - assuring him the thing he was about to do in marrying Mary wa

A brilliant display indeed

Love from the center of who you are ; don’t fake it. Run for dear life from evil; hold on for dear life to good. Be good friends who love deeply ; practice playing second fiddle. Don’t burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant. Don’t quit in hard times; pray all the harder. (Romans 12:9-12) Integrity and Intensity don't seem to fit together all that well, but they are uniquely interwoven traits which actually complement each other. "Love from the center of who you are; don't fake it." God asks for us to have some intensity (fervor) in how we love (from the center of who we are), but he also expects us to have integrity in our love as he asks us to be real in our love (don't fake it). They are indeed integral to each other. At first, we may only think of integrity as honesty - some adherence to a moral code within. I believe there is a little more to integrity than meets the eye. In the most literal sense,

Do me a favor

If you’ve gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care—then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand. (Philippians 2:1-4) Has God's love made ANY difference in your life? What is that difference? Most of us will likely say that our lives were changed for the good, while others will say there was a dramatic change. Some left behind lifestyles marked by all manner of outward sin - like drug addiction, alcoholism, prostitution, or even thievery. There are many that will admit the things they left behind were just a bit subtler - what we can call inward sin - things like jealousy,