Today’s Word: ‘TEMPTATION’ as in… it’s such a normal part of life, but what’s abnormal is how we allow it to steal our lives from us.
For as advanced as the human race is, most of us are only one spoonful of Marionberry-Cobbler-à-la-Mode away from gaining back those pounds that we worked so hard to lose. But just because we can dig into the cobbler doesn’t mean we should dig into the cobbler.
Legends tell of how Inuit hunters were able to kill a wolf simply by coating several layers of frozen blood on a sharp knife sticking out of the frozen tundra. Apparently the wolf picks up the scent, and after cautiously circling the knife begins licking the frozen blood. The wolf licks faster and faster as the desire for blood grows ever greater. The craving is so great that the wolf never notices the sting of the frozen blade on the tongue as the blood being consumed gradually becomes its own. As day breaks, hunters find the wolf lying dead in the snow.
The insidious nature of temptation is that it has a way of commanding our attention and clouding our thinking simultaneously. Not every temptation in life is going to lead to such a dramatic demise.
But it can.
The season of Lent provides an opportunity to consider the power of temptation. In Matthew’s gospel, Jesus moves immediately from his baptism in the Jordan to the wilderness. Jesus literally goes from The River of Life into The Desert of Temptation where he’ll soon be hungry, alone, and tired. Rather than trust the Source of Life, he is tempted to rely on himself.
This is a universal story, a narrative archetype in which we find ourselves. Temptation is a normal part of life. What is abnormal is how we allow it to steal our lives from us. One minute we’ve got everything under control and the next minute feeling a strange kinship to the wolf.
This raises a legitimate question: When are you most likely to encounter temptation?
When you’re Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired? The acronym there just might be very, very helpful: HALT.