Prepare for Temptation

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One day little Richard was told by his mother to come straight home after school and not stop at the baseball field. Richard decided to carry his ball glove with him just in case he was tempted. (Kent Crockett, The 911 Handbook)

Although humorous, this short story makes a solid point. If we don’t want to give into temptation, we must be prepared with the right habits and spiritual ‘tools’ when temptations arise….and arise they will…because that is part of being human. In a recent survey of Discipleship Journal, readers ranked areas of greatest spiritual challenge to them in the following order: Materialism, Pride, Self-centeredness, Laziness, (Tie) Anger/Bitterness, (Tie) Sexual lust, Envy, Gluttony and Lying. Each of these challenges can be subdivided into specific ways of speaking and acting. A good practice for us might be to daily examine our actions and notice if we fall into any of these patterns of behavior. Being aware of our problem areas is half the battle in overcoming them! Survey respondents noted temptations were strongest when they had neglected their time with God (81 percent) and when they were physically tired (57 percent.) Resisting temptation was accomplished by prayer (84 percent,) avoiding compromising situations (76 percent,) Bible study (66 percent,) and being accountable to someone (52 percent.)

Lent is the time of year when we try to deepen our relationship with God so as to live in a God-like loving way. Perhaps the results of the above mentioned survey could help us change our ways and transform our lives: Spending more time in reflective prayer with scripture and spiritual readings, simplifying our lives by eliminating some of the unnecessary activities so we get more rest, avoiding people, places, movies, computer sites that have a bad influence on us, and seeking out someone we trust and respect to discuss our spiritual journey.

Yes, we need to be proactive and ‘equip’ ourselves, not with baseball gloves, but with God’s grace so that we can choose to act and speak in a kind and loving way. May your Lenten days provide special encounters with God. Be open! Be aware! Be welcoming!

Peg Orzel