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Thursday, April 1, 2010

Day 26 & 27: I can resist everything except temptation*

I'm blogging on days 26 and 27 together because they are both about temptation and I don't really have much to say about them.

Interestingly, the Day 26 chapter is the first in which Rick Warren really talks about Satan.  He sets out the steps Satan takes to tempt you:
  • Step 1: Satan identifies a desire inside of you - can be either a good or bad desire - and plants a thought in your mind to give into an evil desire or to fulfil a legitimate desire the wrong way
  • Step 2: Satan gets you to doubt that what you want is wrong.
  • Step 3: Satan lies to you about the consequences of what you are tempted to do.
  • Step 4: You take action and sucumb to the temptation.
Rick suggests the following will help you to overcome temptation:
  • know that it is OK to be tempted - it is a sign that you are following God's word if Satan is after you.
  • recognise what leads you to temptation, eg when you are alone or when you are with a certain group of friends, and prepare for it
  • ask God for help when you feel temptation
  • think about or do something else so you don't focus on the temptation
  • get help from a friend or support group
  • resist Satan by quoting bible versus (don't think you can talk your way out of it, Satan has more practice at tempting people that you have at dealing with Satan)
  • accept that we are all vulnerable to temptation and work to avoid it
I'm not entirely sure I agree that temptation comes from the devil.  It's a bit too convenient to have a scapegoat, even though you are still required to resist temptation.  Having said that, if I am going to buy into this line of thinking (which was what I said I would do when I started this blog), perhaps I have never really been tempted by Satan because I have never been a good enough Christian.  When I think about what tempts me, I immediately think of food, but I don't think it is a sin to eat and even those of you reading who might think of gluttony, I'm not overweight so I don't think it applies. 

Rick writes that the closer you grow to God, the more you will be tempted - which is all a bit scary. Even when you are praying, he will try to distract you (in this case, the advise is: don't allow him to, put the thought aside and continue praying).  My husband, Michael, said it is probably more likely that you are more aware of these things when you focus on them. I suppose I will just have to wait and see what happens.

* The title is a quote from Oscar Wilde

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