Thursday, October 7, 2010

Earthly Living

Temptations are constantly occurring in every one's life, every day. They are something we cannot get away from, ever. This world is full of temptations and society encourages us to indulge in them. The hard thing is, is that we are humans and we do give into temptations, but they are not all satisfying. In the moment it may seem that everything is great and we may feel satisfied, but afterward there is a lot of guilt, sadness, and deprivation that is brought about with it. It's easy to think that temptations are all bad and don't have any good outcome. Thomas à Kempis says that there can be good from the temptations themselves. "...temptations can be useful to us even though they seem to cause us nothing but pain. They are useful because they can make us humble, they can cleanse us and they can teach us."

Although I can never escape from temptations, Kempis offers great advice when they do arise. "Temptations are more easily overcome if they are never allowed to enter our minds. Meet them at the door as soon as they knock, and do not let them in." If I am able to stop the thought before it even enters my mind, that can save me from a lot of damage and it will be much easier to turn to God with prayer and overcome them. One temptation that is talked about in this devotional is gossip. As a female, it is something I have partaken in and it does a lot of damage. I have lost friendships over gossip. Gossip has even hurt me. It doesn't make anyone feel good. "If it is proper to speak, speak of what will benefit others spiritually." - Kempis. Wow... that really stuck out to me. It reminds me of Ephesians 4:29 "Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear." That is a great reminder for me. If it's not going to build someone up and encourage them spiritually, then it doesn't need to be said!

The other big temptation that shouts at me is the need for earthly things. "No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money." Matthew 6:24. I remind myself of this all the time, but the temptation comes back. I have hope from Paul's words in 1 Corinthians 10, "Therefore let anyone who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it." Earthly living does tempt me at times, but God is faithful to carry me through and show me himself and how much greater he is! There is a love that is so great, so overwhelming, so fulfilling! That is the love of God. I read another devotional from Richard Rolle and he says, "Before we can experience even a little of God's love, we must be really turned to him, and, in mind at least, be wholly turned from every earthly thing." The more my focus is on God, the less room there is for me to think about earthly living or anything else that takes him off the throne in my life.

Be encouraged my friends! Temptations may arise, but be eager to love God instead. One last thing Rolle said, "The devil may have the busy worker, or even the compelling preacher, but not surely the person whose heart is aglow with charity, ever eager to love God and indifferent to vanity."

I pray that we may all seek to love and be loved by God and experience true satisfaction.

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