Beyond Blue

Beyond Blue


Dear God: Why Temptation?

posted by Beyond Blue

bedazzled.jpg

Dear God,

I apologize if I don’t have the right image here, when reading about Jesus’s many temptations in the desert, where he fasted for 40 days. For my Christology class back in college we were assigned to read Nikos Kazantzakis’s novel “The Last Temptation of Christ,” and watched Martin Scorsese’s film (“The Last Temptation of Christ,” which, as you know, was nominated for an Oscar!).

What’s worse is that I’m confusing the scenes from Scorcese’s movie with that of the 2000 flick “Bedazzled” where Elizabeth Hurley plays the devil. All I can think about is this supermodel in a scarlet bikini with a serpent around her neck. And yes, the typical insecure woman I am, I’m wondering if there was ever a chance in hell of my looking like that, or if breastfeeding ended any chance I had.

Ahem. Back to scripture. This week, the First Sunday of Lent, we read in Matthew 4:1-11:

Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. He fasted for forty days and forty nights, and afterwards he was hungry. The tempter approached and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command that these stones become loaves of bread.” He said in reply, “It is written: One does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.”

Then the devil took Jesus to the holy city, had him stand on the wall of the temple, and told him to throw himself down because the angels would undoubtedly come to his rescue. But Jesus, recognizing the cunning operation of the devil, told him, “It is written: You shall not put the Lord, your God, to the test.”

Finally the devil took Jesus to a tall mountain and showed him all of the kingdoms of the world, as he bragged of their magnificence. “All these I shall give to you, if you will prostate yourself and worship me,” the devil promised Jesus.

“Get away, Satan!” Jesus said. “It is written: The Lord, your God, shall you worship and him alone shall you serve.”

Finally, the devil left him alone and the angels came to his side.

My question to you about his whole thing, God: Why?

What was the purpose of this Door-Number-One, Door-Number-Two, Door-Number-Three exercise? Because it didn’t look half as fun as “The Price Is Right.” The devil ain’t no Bob Barker.

I know what the holy people say about temptation: that it’s supposed to strengthen our character and refine our souls. Saint John of the Cross, who had his fair share of “The Price Is Wrong,” moments in that Spanish prison of his, wrote this:

That highest union [between a soul and God] cannot be wrought in a soul that is not fortified by trials and temptations and purified by tribulations, darknesses, and distress. … By these trials the sensory part of the soul is purified and strengthened and the spiritual part is refined, purged, and disposed. … God allows them to be tempted in order to elevate them as high as possible, that is, to union with the divine wisdom.

Yada yada yada. Tell me something new. I’m sorry, but lately that argument doesn’t fly. Remember, for Lent this year I gave up self-loathing. So I’m approaching things a little differently than I have in the past.

Yes, I used to believe that if you stuck your arm in boiling hot water, that you’d appreciate more the tepid temperature of your bath. Now I just think that person who flirts with boiling water is an idiot. Uh oh, maybe I’ve been reading too much of Larry’s blog right before I go to bed, and it’s seeping into my subconscious.

I mean, God, I understand the whole premise of fasting. I understand that by not drinking alcohol, I seem to hear You more clearly, that the reception between us went from two bars (think AT&T, not watering holes) to five bars: that I moved from somewhere in the middle of a Kansas corn field to Rockefeller Center in New York.

I comprehend what Rumi meant when he wrote that “Burdens are the foundations of ease and bitter things the forerunners of pleasure,” and what Kahlil Gibran was talking about when he said “Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding.”

In fact, my mom and I were just talking about that last night.

“I can see now why you had to go through your hell,” my mom told me, “because with all your experiences–on so many medicines, and hospitalized twice–your story is that much more interesting and appealing to those without hope.”

Yes and no.

I’m uncomfortable with the philosophy that you led me into the desert, like the Spirit led Jesus, to be confronted by Satan. Granted, I thought the shrink who tried 14 different medications in three months should be nominated for the Beelzebub Award of the Year, but was that really what was going on? Were you directing me into the furnace’s fire so that I could write about it later?

I sure as hell hope not.

So then what purpose does temptation and pain serve?

Because ever since I can remember, I’ve been surrounded by it and running from it, rejecting it not as successfully as Jesus, I might add. The manifestations are plentiful: disordered eating, alcohol abuse, toxic relationships, suicidal idealizations. They are all part of the Dark Side, as we would say in “Star Wars” language. All my Elizabeth Hurleys involve slippery and sly, manipulative voices telling me that in them is an end to my pain: that with a shot of vodka my thoughts will quiet; that through an unhealthy relationship I will find the unconditional love and acceptance I am looking for; that if I lose enough weight I will be beautiful, and (the scariest of all) that in taking my own life I will find repose and peace.

When I’m strong–in a good and stable place–I can easily recognize the many beasts of temptation in my life. Like Jesus (okay maybe not just like Jesus), I say, “Elizabeth Hurley, Get behind me!”

However, it’s during my more vulnerable moments, I fall prey to the seduction of the Dark Side. The more desperate I am to find quiet or acceptance or love or peace, the stronger my urge to join forces with Darth Vader.

According to John of the Cross, I should be thanking you for such moments. He wrote:

The combat of trials, distress, and temptations deadens the evil and imperfect habits of the soul and purifies and strengthens it. A man should hold in esteem the interior and exterior trials God sends him, realizing that there are a few who merit to be brought to perfection through suffering and to undergo trials for the sake of so high a state. . .. For God repays the interior and exterior trials very well with divine goods for the soul and body, so that there is not a trial which does not have a corresponding and considerable reward.

Is that so? If you are nodding your head yes, well, I just don’t really get that. If you are shaking your head no, well I don’t really get that either. So here’s my plan: I’m not going to precipitate any more suffering in my life than is absolutely necessary. (No PTO meetings, thank you very much!). I might even extend my Lenten exercise of loving myself past Easter.

What do you say? Will you help me?

To read more Beyond Blue, go to www.beliefnet.com/beyondblue, and to get to Group Beyond Blue, a support group at Beliefnet Community, click here.



  • Larry Parker

    Therese:
    You give me much too much credit.
    In fact, I have been undergoing my own very sad “temptation” experience lately — the details of which I don’t feel comfortable sharing here, because they are too raw and frankly still ongoing.
    Suffice to say, I think temptation is a bit different from the existential dilemmas I sometimes write about in my blog, because temptation (except for extreme examples, like Jesus and the Devil in the desert) involves humans — though even then, Satan and Christ were in corporeal form — while existential dilemmas involve the Divine.
    There’s a reason for the saying “The road to H*ll is paved with good intentions” — not because you shouldn’t help other people, and not because you shouldn’t help people even at some risk (physical, financial, emotional) to yourself. But rather because we are human, and it is often a fine line between where your interests are altruistic and filled with generosity of spirit, and where they are selfish and even base.
    And so the good and bad motivations often get hopelessly mixed up. It’s too fine a line, too often, in my opinion. And I don’t think it’s possible to completely separate it — just, perhaps, to listen more to your positive angels, and ask forgiveness when your little devils get the best of you.

  • fb

    I have to agree with you! And I’m right there with you with deciding I need to love myself! Your blog today really spoke to me. I’m one of those who somehow grew up with the idea (probably from my abusive biological family who gave me some very strange ideas!) that treating myself abominably was “good for me”. I have always felt more comfortable being mean to myself than being nice to myself. The meaner the better! And I could always rationalize that by saying suffering was good for my soul. Well, no more. If I can look at how I treated myself and realize that I could be arrested for treating my dog or my child that way, then I’m doing something wrong. I’m a child of God too, who am I to treat a child of God this way? Keep up the good work, I think you’ve got something good going here.

  • neo

    I don’t have a good answer for this. Its something I’ve struggled with for a while. Its part of a bigger question: why is there evil in the world. I think Adam and Eve must have only had a little of the fruit of the tree of knowledge because I don’t think we truely understand good and evil. In other words: we don’t know the whole story.
    I personally think temptation is the devil picking on our lack of wisdom, rather than an important character builder. Part of being human is not knowing everything. There is probably much more to good and evil then we realize.

  • Nancy

    Therese – on loving yourself
    I’m sure my husband would tell me to take up the same “project” for Lent.
    He’s told me many times that I would not allow others to treat me the way I treat myself.
    That may be true these days, but there was a time where I did allow others to treat me poorly (to put it mildly). I’ve “worked” a lot on that and have taken the risk of being thought of as “not nice” or “losing” someone from speaking up. It’s still not easy, but it’s much easier than it use to be. Actually, years ago, it was down right impossible.
    Steve and I were watching the new HBO Series “In Treatment”, and I told him it reminded me of my early days of the “new me” – sober. I was so raw that I would curl up with my arms wrapped around my legs, head down and unable to speak. Very early days, very painful days. If I began to talk about something, I would “lose my train of thought” very quickly. It was explained to me that it was a defense mechanism, as I could only process just so much at one time.
    Those days were brutal; some now are also brutal, but each time that I set the boundaries or I don’t let myself get bullied (by certain key players in my life), I feel a little bit better.
    It’s an ongoing process, but some days truly are lighter than others.
    As far as why the trials and temptations, I have not a clue. The more I learn, the more I realize I don’t know. However, I do know that even if it’s not the purpose, taking my own experiences after walking through to the other side and sharing them with someone else who is hurting to give them the hope, strength, courage and fellowship is a blessing as a by-product.
    Nancy L.

  • Larry Parker

    Nancy L.:
    I’m just glad to see you posting here more often.
    That’s a tempting prospect for your friends :-) :-)

  • razd

    First of all, I was overjoyed to find your blog. It looks like I’ve struggled with many of the same things you have. In fact, so many, it’s kind of scary! I’m a seeking/questioning kind of person, so I’m more likely to listen to wisdom from a person who’s been through the same stuff, than from, say, my weekly church bulletin. :-)
    I once had a shrink who prescribed almost as many meds in almost as short a time. To give him credit, though, he also said “well, on days like that, get out your Zen books again.” And he had a good sense of humor. I was eventually able to simplify the med situation, but I wish I’d known, back then, that I wasn’t alone.
    I doubt if I can help with the temptation question… it’s really hard to imagine that God would deliberately lead a person into a bad place. (Hmmm, that must be what the prayer means by “lead us not into temptation”). But it’s good to read a discussion of this because I need to think about it nowadays, since I’m church-shopping.
    So, in short, thanks! :-)

  • Defib aka Don

    Enjoyed your blog on temptation and your take on “Been their done that.” which makes you a more informed writer. Maybe “momma” was right.
    I don’t really think God places those temptation in front of us to test us or to make us strong. Temptation is part of being human and comes from the “world”. I think this is one reason Jesus took on the human form and nature, and being human he faced temptation. Instead of calling on his divine nature to overcome satan, he relied only on his humaness and showed us that calling on the Father is the only defense we have.
    I know, easy to say when you are not facing the Dark Side and you’re down in the pit trying to keep the crap out of your mouth. Since you read John of the Cross, and Mother Teresa amongst many others even they could not escape the terror. It seems the closer you get to God the more obstacles are thrown at you.
    Persevere and be at peace.

  • Steve C.

    Temptation exists because “choice” exists. How narrow, dull, and one-dimensional would life be without choices? Evil occurs when we make the wrong choices. There is nothing on this earth that is inherently evil. Is a snarling wolverine evil, or is it just choosing to protect itself and its’ kind? Are antibiotics evil because they kill living organisms? Is rat poison evil if it’s used to prevent the spread of disease carried by infected rodents? Blanche Moore chose to use it to poison 3 husbands. Now that’s an evil choice. It’s the way nature operates on this planet. We make choices. There are good outcomes and bad outcomes, regardless of our intentions. Why do people choose to do things that cause harm and pain to others?? Because humans can be greedy, selfish, jealous, blindly self-absorbed beings. It’s another form of mental illness and/or ignorance. Why do we keep expecting God to intervene and fix our lives? Pick up a copy of “The Greatest Miracle In The World” by Og Mandino and maybe you’ll understand why God thinks that he/she has done enough already.
    P.S. If Elizabeth Hurley was my wife (wild imagination here) it would be perfectly alright for her to be dressed that way in the privacy of our home. However I wouldn’t want her to go to the supermarket dressed like that. LOL ;=)

  • marilyn

    i tend to agree god was put here on earth as a man so he knows the temptations we walk through. and as don said the closer we get to god the more temptations we face.its all about choices.

  • Margaret Balyeat

    Okay, Theres, fess up! Did Larry write this post? If not, then you are indeed,IMHO, reading too many of his blog entries before going to sleep! :-) Talk about wrestling with G-d!
    And while I agree that evil comes from bad choices, I don’t think we can(orSHOULD) forget who the “Prince” of THIS world is nor that he is roaming about seeking to devour as many of us as he can! That’s his job, after all! And somehow, i doubt very much that he looks like Elizabeth (Unless, of course, he is tring to tempt some unwitting male into sexual sin!
    BTW, everyone, I emailed Wisdom through Bnet and received a reply today, so he’s still around :-) he said he’d just been quite involved with the Passion Play he’s a part of this time year so has had little online time of late. He promises that he’ll be back before TOO much longer! :-) I mentioned in my email that he had been missed, and he replied that he missed “us guys” as well. so for those of you who’ve been (as I have) concerned about his well-being, he’s fine.

  • Donny (Psalm 51, me too.)

    God created beauty and pleasure. The beauty of earth and the beauty of people. It took the questioning of God’s word and the idea that “we” can do things as He does that has mankind where it is.
    There are many people (if you just look) that deny temptations of the base and carnal and the violent and the criminal, and embrace in reality the beauty and the promise of it. Almost all respect God and/or know of a world better than the evil and corruption in this one exists somehwere else.
    Where you find the most acceptance and promotion of temptations is from those that deny God and eternity and reject His Truth. (There is nothing really new in rejecting goodness from a seat in the human world.)
    Human nature seems to prove that we inherently are capable of desiring and seizing indulgence and overindulgence. Don’t look for those that justify doing it. Look for a better world being offered now and in eternity from those that apologize for having taking in the bad choices . . . and now desire to live, encouraging others not to have to have reasons to apologize in the first place.

  • Larry Parker

    **Human nature seems to prove that we inherently are capable of desiring and seizing indulgence and overindulgence. Don’t look for those that justify doing it. Look for a better world being offered now and in eternity from those that apologize for having taking in the bad choices . . . and now desire to live, encouraging others not to have to have reasons to apologize in the first place.**
    But your last sentence is never going to happen, Donny — precisely because of your first sentence.
    For those who are Christian, Jesus Christ came for human redemption and the forgiveness/expiation of sin — did He not?

  • Nancy

    Therese,
    You hit everything on the head that I have been going through lately. I haven’t had any peace of mind for a week and half and it isn’t looking any better tomorrow either!!!
    Thanks for letting me know I am not the only one having a problem understanding why God keeps putting me through temptations and I just have to sit back and wait for God to show me the good stuff again.
    God Bless,
    Nancy aka sixlittlekitties

  • weatherplay1

    We as human beings complicate simple matters not realizing that when we were created we possessed our creator,s love.Look at the world today and witness the turmoil and destruction,this proves that we have turned our back on GOD.Love is the key to show that we are worthy of all things given to us and is the only way to change our hearts.
    My
    brother listen to your heart more.
    Darnell known as Weatherplay1

  • Cully

    “I might even extend my Lenten exercise of loving myself past Easter.”
    Well, T, this is the BEST idea I’ve heard… I like it, I love it, and if you need any help just let me know and I will tell you reasons for you NEVER going back to that stupid “self-loathing” crap.
    Blessings and love,
    Cully

  • Grace

    Finding these sites – both Beliefnet and Beyond Blue – have been such a balm to me of late. After doing the outside harm (a neurologist who prescribed every narcotic on the market), and having the inside harm (days in a psych ward, wrapped in a blanket and incoherent with grief), it’s such a gentle gift to know that everyone else has trials, as well. Thank you to ALL of you who post, and a special, heartfelt thank you to you, Therese, for being the “voice” of so many. You are an angel!
    Grace

  • Marquos

    Wow, talk about a fundamental question! Corollary to the “Why is there evil?” question we seem to so often to wrestle with here {Larry…). My take on the Biblical why is that Jesus came to experience and conquer all the temptations we humans tackle. All three Doors correspond to lots of different temptations we face. The selfish use of power, risky behavior, making something besides the One God your god… But the basic thing here is the Adam and Eve thing, which I think was not just Eve listening to and believing a voice from the Dark Side, but also Adam, who was appointed steward of everything, including Eve, not stepping up and supporting the Good. He didn’t support or protect Eve. Basic Message: the Dark Side is out there (We don’t know for sure why, something to do with free will), We need to really stick together and help each other out and love each other so when the Dark Side comes near we have help and a really strong Good Side. The Good News: Jesus can help us! He says to never be afraid (fear makes absolutely everything seem worse), He is there with you, love and serve only Him and His Dad. Bad News: It can be really, really,… hard. The thing is, when it comes to temptation, we know what the Right thing to do is. We simply can’t do it sometimes and other times it seems the hardest thing to do. Why temptation? I can give ideas, but in the end, I just don’t know, accept what is, Love God,Love yourself, and at least one other person.

  • JEFF0264

    The book of Jude. A book rarely ever read ,but it talks about respecting authority.
    vs 9 But even Micheal the arch angel,when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses,did not dare bring a slanderous acusation against him, but said “the lord rebuke you”.
    We all deal with temptation, I did while watching Elizabeth Hurley , but we as humans are weak and cannot fight the dark wars , its then we call on God’s name to fight.
    But I believe at times we are well intentioned , but really dont want to overcome a temptation. Its hard , its against the flesh and we like our pleasures.
    If being honest how many times have we gone into a situation knowing we would cave in, but kindly asked God for a litttle blindness ?
    I have. hey I’ll make it up with 25.00 in this weeks offering.

  • Larry Parker

    JEFF0264:
    Realizing, of course, that indulgences were a temptation the Catholic Church itself succumbed to that helped launch the Reformation.
    (Just the amateur historian in me coming out … trust me, we have lots in common, if you’ve read my other posts.)

  • Marquos

    “…kindly asked God for a little blindness?”
    Great! How true! “Just this once God… I promise…”

  • Lynne

    I really believe the devil has quite a foothold here. Did’nt he get kicked out of heaven? (or fell, either way his spirit is most certainly here) Otherwise how could he offer the kingdoms of this earth to Jesus unless he owned some of this real estate? We are here as well and unfortunately have to deal with him on a daily basis. The good news is Jesus’ promise that we can conquer all our enemies through the power of his name. That takes care of the spiritual side of the battle. The rest of it, the struggle and torment of living in the flesh, is ours. Some of our difficulty is of our own making. The bad choices, giving in to the temptations that the flesh does surely hold. That comes from within. The other problems come from without.( I’m talking genetics, environment, circumstances beyond our control, and our interaction with a world that’s clearly headed in the wrong direction!) It is said that in order to purify the gold ,you must first burn off the dross. Sometimes though I must admit to feeling a little overcooked.

  • CherylR

    The “whys” are all excellent questions…..the answers, it is possible we may never know them….the understanding, well, we may never grasp it. That is the hard part. I don’t know why we suffer the things we do when we do for as long as we do. I know that it is the choices we make during our journey throug suffering in life that make a profound difference in not just our own life, but so many lives. I know that God is the one we are to turn to and have faith in and trust….always….when we think we understand and when we don’t have a clue. I know we all suffer…..disease, dysfunction, misfortune, destitution, abuse, the list can go on and on. I know that people such as yourself, Therese, affect and change so many lives during this journey when your paths cross….and certainly you have saved a good many lives (whether you know it or not). Any life saved….is a blessing….has a purpose. Therese, you are blessed to be surrounded by love of several people close to you and even strangers. Many of us are not so fortunate. Why? Maybe because we need to truly understand what it is to love without feeling loved and to look to our Lord for inspiration and guidance. It can be a lonely world, but you, Therese, and so many people, give people a community of acceptance and love through this blog where there was none for many, many suffering people. Is that a good reason for suffering? Hell no! But it is what we do with our suffering that can make it a more positive, loving, accepting world….or a more angry, violent, aggressive one. When you change lives in such a positive way…..like you do, Therese, it is truly divine…… and when we help others, we help ourselves, and we serve the Lord. What else is there?

  • Kim

    See 2 Corinthians 12:9 But he said to me , ” My grace is sufficient for you . For My power is made perfect through weakness . ” For when I am weak , then I am strong .

  • Adrienne

    This line made me laugh so much!
    “I mean, God, I understand the whole premise of fasting. I understand that by not drinking alcohol, I seem to hear You more clearly, that the reception between us went from two bars (think AT&T, not watering holes) to five bars: that I moved from somewhere in the middle of a Kansas corn field to Rockefeller Center in New York.” Wow, what intelligence!

  • Anonymous

    Jesus always commented It is written

  • Adrienne

    I’m uncomfortable with the philosophy that you led me into the desert, like the Spirit led Jesus, to be confronted by Satan. Granted, I thought the shrink who tried 14 different medications in three months should be nominated for the Beelzebub Award of the Year, but was that really what was going on? Were you directing me into the furnace’s fire so that I could write about it later?
    Yes, that was probably exactly it: Not to mention the fact of when YOU said, “NO! I know what is right for me!”
    I met a doctor in LA who was very much a Mephistopheles too. He chortled as he collected my $300 an hour (I used to earn $50 a day!) and asked if I wanted any validation – meaning parking validation, that is. I realized the guy, although very funny, was a trickster. And I do believe God has a hand even in tricksters, but the lesson is : to say, I KNOW MYSELF, I LOVE MYSELF and I DO KNOW WHAT IS RIGHT FOR MYSELF.
    So I totally love this last too: “So here’s my plan: I’m not going to precipitate any more suffering in my life than is absolutely necessary. (No PTO meetings, thank you very much!). I might even extend my Lenten exercise of loving myself past Easter.”
    LOVING ourselves, that is a path of great wonder and joy!
    I’d be happy to join you on it. and I’m so excited to hear your voice come out. Great blogging, my dear!

  • Sandra

    I just wanted to say that I look at suffering as one more opportunity to prove God’s truth in my life. Everytime I look back in my life (childsexual abuse, poverty, toxic relationships) I see how my sight was so firmly placed on God, and because of my faith in him was I able to overcome, get past and move forward, releasing negative thoughts about self, others, etc. I have chosen to let God work within me, so as to serve him in the outer world.
    My past is only proof of how God can transform if we surrender ourselves 100% denying ego, allowing God. Now I can say that I am a wonderful mother that protects all children, I have an education that has allowed me to live more than comfortably, and even though I am not in a relationship at the moment I know that God will put that life partner in my path, when the time is right.. the key is to learn not to hurry things or sequence of events, but to allow it all to unfold in its due time…God’s time is perfect.
    And so, I just wanted to encourage you Therese, in the concept of endurance, you may not know right now, but in time God will disclose everything to you, as to why you had to go through what you have gone through, but there is one thing for sure that I know, that even through all your struggles, it was the fact that you sought the Lord in your truest heart that has you here sharing with all of us. It is your love for God, that has you alive, and well, and looking back, and it is your desire to be in God’s presence that has you well today! Keep fighting the good fight! You are, as many of us are… TRIUMPHANT in Christ who streangthens us… to prove to others that no matter what dark principalities are at hand… all is possible with God at the helm!
    God bless you and strengthen you more, and more every day (by the way strength does not only come through tragedy, but by listening to the guiding voice of God at all times.)

  • Michelle Whitacre

    “He who speaks on his own does so to gain honor for himself, but he who works for the honor of the one who sent him is a man of truth; there is nothing false about him.” -John 7:18
    I believe the purpose of temptation is truly so that we have the opportunity to choose Christ again and again. So many people maintain that they are saved. Well, yes, maybe today’s decision is that they are saved in the redeeming blood of Christ but tomorrow is a different story because we always have the creative energy to choose again. And in choosing again we can always choose differently. So regardless of whether you or I understand the reason for temptation and its role in our lives we must remember that our conscious and unconscious choices are why we are where we are right now. We are human and mortal. We do not have Christ’s perfection and will not obtain it. Has it not been said, Therese, that only in death will we have life?
    I feel like life is the dress rehearsal – or maybe its the audition – yeah, that’s a more correct idea. The audience does not get to see all the preparation you do, only God does. The final performance is what counts for humankind – but God sees and ackowledges the whole process. Did you choose for Christ to live in you today? So long as we put forth our story to be acknowledged by other people in an effort to gain their acceptance or their understanding we are not allowing Christ to live in us. We are accountable to no one but God alone. And that, I believe, is why temptation is necessary. I don’t just automatically trust someone until I’ve built a relationship with them and KNOW them… know how well I can trust them. Could it be that this is exactly what God is doing when he allows us to be tempted… and he gave us the free will to choose. So let’s accept temptation and prove our ability to choose Love above what anyone else thinks or judges. We can do it. He wants us in our entirety because we are, in fact, part of Him. He is the truth. He is love. He is everything.

  • DRBurroughs

    Hello,
    On one hand, Temptation is the out-picturing of desire. On the other hand, Desire is God, Divine Spirit, seeking expression through us. This paradox is not as impossible as it might seem on the face of it.
    Our expression resulting from desire can be only self indulging or it can be a creative expression of the Divine in us, as us and through us.
    It has been said that God does for us what God does through us and in this context we can then understand that temptation is just an opportunity to express our decision for God and our greatest good or against God and therefore against our greatest good.
    In every situation ask yourself, “What quality of God am I expressing.” Then the solutions to life’s problems become more apparent, not simpler just more apparent.
    Compassion, wisdom, love, life, light, peace, beauty and joy are just some of the qualities of God we can express in every action of our lives and through every choice and decision we make.
    I was once invited to a sumptuous banquet while I was traveling abroad. Unfortunately just outside the window I could see dozens of homeless people and children suffering in abject poverty. I told the host I wasn’t particularly hungry and asked to have my food boxed.
    The host was fine with this until I picked up the boxes of food and walked outside and gave my food to the starving people I had been watching through the window.
    I was no longer welcome at the banquet and after I walked the several miles to my hotel, having been refused return transportation, I was met by the police who took me to the airport by gunpoint. The other members of our string quartet were brought to the airport as well and we were summarily deported.
    I do not think Venezuela has changed much since that time in 1973. If anything I would guess that in all likelihood it has gotten worse.
    Would I do it again?
    Yes.
    Was I tempted to just stay and enjoy the incredible meal that had been laid out before me?
    Yes.
    In the long scheme of things did I “save” those people from their plight?
    I doubt it.
    Did I learn a valuable lesson about myself that day?
    Absolutely.
    Best wishes for your life with temptations!

  • Mark Scheel

    C.S. Lewis had a great deal to say about suffering. I highly recommend his book The Problem of Pain. And Jacek Bacz has written an excellent overview and analysis of same titled C.S. Lewis:The Problem of Pain, which can be accessed on Internet. The ultimate conclusion would seem to be that “the ordinary function of pain within the tribulation system is to make a creature’s submission to the will of God easier.” But one needs to read more deeply to understand the rationale employed in reaching that conclusion.

  • 67jonesmj

    Mrs. Borchard this is a very thought provoking blog. It hits at the core of an ontological inquiry that probably will not have an accurate answer until times exist no more. Here is a simpleton’s stab in the darkness about a dark force issue. Why not temptations? We rarely ask questions about the antithesis of questions that plague us. We do not have a whole lot of inquisitions about why do we have pleasure? Isn’t pain the twin of pleasure and to have the one you must experience the other. We know that the pleasure and pride of parents are their children. We also know that the gift of child birth comes with labor pains. We also know that there is the pain and pleasure of the gestation period, where the mothers and fathers celebrate and suffer together. Does temptation not afford us the opportunity to be like Christ while at the same time allows us to be like Adam? It gives us the opportunity to be victorious or to be victims? Does not temptation also affords us the opportunity to be like the one who has created us in his image and likeness? Does it not allow us the chance to take chaos and to make it into something creative? Doesn’t temptation present us the opportunity to mess up, evlauate, adapt, adjust, move, and transform? Temptation is a very valuable tool in the process of self discovery. It is not something that we should shun or something that should make us shut-in, shut-up, shut-off, or shut-out. I think it is a gift from God that helps to shape us into our ultimate design. Just a simpleton’s reasoning.

  • Ivy

    Hi dearest friend;or shall i say sister.
    Your writtings hit home for me just what the doctor ordered.Not many people talk or admit such temptations as it is a crutch,for many.Yet the possibility off our children following the footsteps or seeing youth follow in the path is painfull.So in all i must say thank you for your courage and path in helping the rightouss way or path be stronger for all peace and love be to you in all amen.k bye.

  • Rebecca

    I find each time I resist temptation I feel closer to God and my faith evoles. Even when I do not resist I learn about my weakness as a human being and know I need my faith even more. So either I learn and life should be about learning…life long.

  • LadyHawke

    I believe life is a learning module. We learn certain things, and then we go around to learn more (reincarnation). I believe we are spiritual being s having human experiences. I also believe that God doesn’t torture us, that people do. God doesn’t visit sickness upon us, etc. I do thing I learn from my mistakes, that I grow, and learn to love. I also think that some people are sick and evil, especially those that feel we should be someone else to be loved (kind of gets rid of that “unconditional” thing so many religions and philosophies talk about). Now if I could just love MYSELF unconditionally…
    Laura Jayne

  • Anonymous

    Hi Teresa,
    Were you saying you are tempted by the E. Hurley thing or that men are, or both? I read your article hoping to find you saying something about how painful it is to have to deal with all of what men call tempatation? (In fact that’s the only thing they seem to consider temptation?) To me, temptation is anger, jealousy, stuff like that, but to most men, temptation regarding other women (looking at them, etc) is as natural as breathing but far more painful than that to us women who feel very “insecure” by it all. Who wouldn’t feel insecure as a woman when everywhere you look there are far better versions of the female body for your boyfriend or husband to look at than yourself, and by extension, taking his attention away from you and possibly even his sexual time with you?

  • Albert Gonzales

    Yes We are tempted . But I do believe that God has let this go on
    for a very good reason. Jesus was tempted too. I personally do
    not ask why. Because God is Love. That God so Loved the world that
    He sent His only begotten Son to save Us. We must trust Christ
    Jesus and carry the cross. So that We can share in the glory.
    That Jesus enjoys. We must follow the footsteps of Our Lord
    Jesus Christ. We can only get to the Father thru Jesus Christ.
    Even faith as small like a musterd seed can save Us.
    Thank God.
    Just keep in mind that We are more than conquerors thru
    Jesus Christ. Jesus suffered and died for Us.
    So that We would not perish.
    Thank You Jesus Christ.
    Hang in there. Peace and Love.

  • Doreen

    If we are a Christian, then we are a child of God and as soon as we make that concious decision to love and serve our Father in heaven, we become an enemy of satan. Temptation is one of the many tricks he will use to try to get us, as the weak human beings that we are, to fall out of the will of our Father. That is why it is so important for us to keep a channel open to God always, through prayer, for strength to help us to resist, and for forgiveness, when we cannot. Jesus is our advocate, and even though He never gave in to temptation, as we are so wont to do sometimes, He knows the difficulties we face, and He knows that we are weak. But He will be our strength, if we will just let Him. So many times, though, we think we can go it alone, but we can’t, nor were we meant to. God showed me once that we , as His children, should be honored when the enemy tempts us and comes against us, because it means we are His, and are doing His will.

  • Dave

    Great conversation starter: Let’s delve into faith & see how well we sustain it or it sustains us. In joining this conversation I require a basic knowledge of the book of Job, and rabbi Harold Kushner’s book”Why Bad Things happen to good people.” In Kushner we read that WE damage ourselves or are damaged , simply because, bad things happen for all knds of reasons, without ill will on God’s part. In Job God does not answer Job’s “why” questions satisfactorally, but rather uses his rank and status to block the question. Who are you to .. . . . .? [Not Good for our purposes]. We have to accept in faith that God cares. In so doing recognizing that we can analize the situation w/o blaming God. In fairness, We must accept the responsibility for our own short commings and work to right the wrongs that we are able to to make the world a better more just place for all of God’s.creation.
    Blessings of Peace & fulfilment to all,
    Dave h.

  • Janice Harrington

    I just turned 43….For the 1st 41 years of life I honestly didnt believe there was such a thing as the Devil…For it had never touched me before. Over the past 2 years I have been engolfed by the Dark side. I could do nothing but hold on to my faith and all I knew to be true..and ride it out….As the Evil preyed upon my bones…. wanting to devour my soul..I felt as if Id been sucked through some sort of distorted vortex…Turning my world(as I new it) totally upside down! What it didnt take… It destroyed… I lost my job,my excellent credit, my health, my home, my daughter and my husband too!Now Homeless and on the streets I found even more betayal as I was robbed of what little I had left..by those I freely gave to and tried to help..I was beaten by someone I was trying to show that there is a whole other world out there that is good with good people in it..I watched over him…I go to trial next week (Assult with a deadly weapon/with intent to harm..As well as possetion of a controlled substance..found..That wasnt mine)- When he trapped me in a parking lot and I feared he’d hurt me again…I hit his vehicle with mine to get away…He told police that I had threatened to kill him days earlier and puposely came to make good on that threat!..Why?…He thought I had no insurrance…But I forgive him…He has never known any different..In his world you have to get them…before they get you! Its very sad!..I at least am fortunate to have had..what all Ive lost!Thank You God, For All The Blessings In My Life..And The Lessons As Well! No matter what happens..I know I will be ok!..I have Faith!

  • Albert Gonzales

    I believe that all that is written in the Holy Bible is true.
    All the suffering ,temptations,earth quakes ,etc. etc.
    Are all happening. The end is near. The poor will inharit
    the Earth. And those that do not have here on Earth will
    have added to them. To the faithfull ,believers/followers
    of Christ Jesus. Have You ever gotten the wonderfull feeling
    of the Holy Spirit? I have. Nothing compares to it.
    The Indians call it the Great Spirit. I have heard a Indian
    song . The words were(I want peace with My soul again).
    Jesus commands Us to Love one another.
    Forgiving is part of Love. There is alot of tempting
    and other stuff happening in this world/Earth.
    We must fight Evil with Love.God is Love.
    For those that are not with Us are against Us.
    I agree with the other posts here on Beliefnet,
    We must Love ourselfs too. But above all I believe
    that We must Love the Father(creater),The Son(Jesus)and
    The Holy Spirit(ghost) above all.
    God Bless You all .Thank You God/Jesus.
    Pray.

  • bigedw22853

    I do not know if I agree or dis. I do know that since the end of my marrige I have found I get tempepted a lot,if you know what I mean. I mean how do I go about talking to a woman about stuff, you know, or do I now not talk about, or think about sex. Could someone tell me if these temtations to make me stronger, and if so how I can’t seem to get it or maybe I just haven’t let the Holy Spirt work, I would realy woild like someone to help me with this
    EdW

  • Arthur Mantzouris

    I think that it is not ourselves but god who can really give us strengh to us as we know. Jesus came to us because he was choosen for us not only by him saying he wanted to come here and die for our sins but it was agreed upon by the both of them. We have to be driven to reach out to them both and embrace what they can do for us and how we as humans to please the father. To read the Bible daily is easy for those who are seeking a better answer than what man can do. Lean upon him and he shall provide for you all your life. The devil will not be happier then if you choose to do what he wants you to do. But to do gods will is some times hard for us because we want to know why. Some times as humans we tend to lean towards our own understanding than to look towards him and wait for him to answer our q’s. He does though, as you know answers them in his own time. I think that if we really practice what the Bible teaches, we will be much happier with our selves rather than leaning upon what we can do for our selves alone. I do feel for others like me that just want everything to change now and really dont want to wait, but we have to be look towards him for guidance than our selves because he knows us better than we know our selves. He know how many hairs that are on our head. He doesnt know the future, well he choose’s not to look into the future because that means he would be resposiable for our sins and his not. I know I’m throwing things out there but you would really have to have read the Bible and have seen it in the book of life to understand what im saying. Temptation has always been there in front of us but there have been ones that have not given into it and god has rewarded them greatly in yrs. past. May you read the Bible daily and may god be with you as you greatly please him all your days.

  • Lee Davis

    BEYOND BLUE- Why God Temptation. For those who are wondering why God puts temptation on the earth, for men, and not destroyed him yet, it is to put man on the straight path there will come a time in your life, that something tragic may happen, and then you will see the mercy of Christ, but sin is so easy to fall back into, it takes great measure to keep men straight, as it is easy to see this in all the Holy books and I have done research some are different but for the most part even the best of men kept falling once they vowed to be the best. So satan plays the part in that. Hope this comment helps, it helped me for I once was there and I wondered the same thing, as you know my being mortal I face many temptations many days, it does get better, if you hang in there.

  • linnie

    Amen to all. I would rather believe than to die and find out I was wrong. Hell wont be fun.Although Hell on earth it seems at times, real Hell will be 100times worse. Take the Good with the bad. I have had a terrible year, one bad thing after another, temtation I dont know. Is God testing me, or sent the wrath upon me. Jesus suffered and his followers suffered so we all will. All I do know is christ is with us if we let him be.

  • Pam J.

    We will alway’s be tempted and it’s only a sin if we give in to
    temptation. I think one of the many prayer’s to pray each day is
    God I pray that I will not give into temptation. If we slip up then
    we ask God to forgive us and he will. We where never met to be
    perfect, there is only one perfect one and that is Jesus Christ.
    We are all put on this earth for a purpose and the first one is to
    have a personal relationship with Jesus and through him with God.
    To serve God by helping whom ever where ever. We where not put on
    this earth for us, but for God to glorify him. He provides for
    our need’s so we can put someone elses needs before our own.

  • karen

    It is easy to forget what is most important in life. We often look to please ourselves because of free will. What we do with our free will has positives and negatives. The negative part is when we fall into sin. The positive part is when we let the Lord lead us.Even at times we may fall, but the important thing is to pick ourselves up. To get a better understanding of temptation, I found it helpful to take bible lessons, and I speak to my pastor about things I do not really understand. Also, if you pray by yourself in a quiet place, God often shows you the way.

  • Debra Kay

    I think the purpose of temptation is that we fail at least once-by failing, we can truly understand and help others who have failed. I have learned a lot more from failures than successes.

  • becca_k

    Hard times and suffering is God’s way of saying, “Hey, you are not close enough or spiritual enough. You must do better and live a closer life to the almighty. You need to get closer, do more good for yourself and others, believe more and have more faith. Once you do these things with all your heart and soul and truly do them for the reasons God wants you to then, and only then will you be rewarded. You must have faith and keep depositing goodness to the world and for yourself. Put God first then when the priorities and disciplines are solid life will get better and better. Don’t expect reward after each, just do right for the right heartfelt reasons. Be grateful for all things! God will be with you if you let him, listen, pray, and do good deeds. Be good to all always. It is so worth it. You will feel better. Live to feel better. Take note of how good it feels when you pray and do good deeds. Being closer to God is the best thing I could have ever done with my life. I am so very grateful for my Pastor, church, and all the ones who have made so many efforts to help get me on track. I had such a mess to clean up I didn’t know how to fix it all. Go to church ask for help and be accountable. Just DO it!!!

  • terri

    I just went through a trial in my life that I was struggling with for a couple of weeks. But I had a friend tell me something I needed to hear. He said: “think about what God wants me to learn from this.” I have had a hard time with turning everything over to God. I have always been one to say I have to do it all myself. And when I can’t I get so frustrated and depressed, but having heard my friends words and thinking about them, I have come to feel a weight has been lifted from my shoulders. I am still learning and working on growing in my relationship with God, it is not easy, but it is worth it.

  • Chris

    I have been using pot for 10 years daily and booze about the same. After my 1st marriage came crashing to a sudden stop I vowed I would not hurt another person. Shortly after trying to get myself clean and dealing with the horrible depresion I found a new love. The true love of my life. I was on such a high that I stoped counsiling and slowly started back on the pot. We have been together for over a year and last week she left me! I am tramatised. However I have finally realized that it was not anybodys fault but mine. I have reconnected with God and asked him for salvation, it is not very often that we are given a second chance. I have been off the pot and booze for over a week now!! This is the longest that I have been clean since I was a teenager. I feel great and so close to God. Although the devil has been having a hay day with me leading me into temptation. This was the test that I failed before I am not going to fall for it again!! Since my connection to God I see his work every where I go! He does not provide huge evidance of his existance however heprovides a million guiding paths to point you in the right direction. God is truly saving me and will continue to do so as long as I belive and never lose faith. I hope everyone can feel the awesome power of our creator you just have to welcome into your life. Rest assured the devil is tempting you not God!!

  • james perkins

    he was saying that temptation will come , and if u are prayed up u will over come them.stay in the word and pray daily.

  • Jo-Ann

    I myself am having issues with strengthening my relationship with our God. But despite the many heartaches and despite my loneliness, I do not give up, not yet.. never.. He is holding me tight and just when I think I do not have anything to live for.. He makes His presence felt.. one? I came across this topic just today :)

  • bonnie

    To me , everything has its reasoning for happening , love , hate , hunger , struggles , birth , and death . We are here to learn to trust God with our troubles and joys , not forgetting that he is there to carry us through , bring us to a brighter side …. to his love .

  • Chrystal

    The closer you are to God the more you will be tempted….why? Because the Devil is losing your soul…if you are already a sinner he doesn’t have to try as hard but if your a child of God’s then he has work to do…He does not want us to have everlasting life he is jealous and wants us to suffer as he does and will at the end of time. I do believe God allows us to go through certain trials but I don’t think he makes them…but if he does then I would think he has something big for you to do… especially if he takes time to put you through it which would mean you have something powerful and he is preparing you to use it…I have struggled with my faith for years I love God but many times have been extremely mad at God…and would shut him out of my life…but I have just realized reading this blog is that when I didn’t question God’s ways or authorities I was very happy….although it never lasted because I would stumble upon something I did not agree on or didn’t understand….I would sometimes become so frustrated I then again would shut him out…Now that I think about it everything seemed harder as I recall…but when I let him in when I was going through similar trials I had something to look forward too….when I pushed him away I had no where to turn…yeah family and friends do help but I have been on “the happy pills” for about 8 years I have struggled with many things coming from a home of sexual and verbal abuse…I know what it feels like to want to die…and the feeling of helplessness…..and family can only help you to a certain extent…Ironically those really rough times I would be angry at God….and question everything he commanded…Especially the promises he makes…and had no hope I saw no light at the end of the tunnel…but the times I did allow him in my life he brought hope….what an amazing thing! It seems to be easier to blame him than blame yourself…but you get what you dish out as the say…so I think I’m going to be dishing love and worship because Jesus did paid the ultimate price… how depressing it would have been if he had not had God in his life as a human! Think of that! If by human nature he had became angry at God for sacrificing “his only son” for those who hated him…and instead wanted to save his self! What an amazing man to live in that day and time…and shout to the heavens that God is King…How many of us would walk out our front doors and shout to the world that God is Life! Something to think about….

  • Musashi

    For Cheryl R. who wrote at 2:40 pm on 18 Feb:
    Thank you for your posting! For me, it very succinctly set out the essentials of the human situation regarding suffering and temptation, and it was comforting to know that someone’s experiences mirror mine, incomplete though they may be:
    First, the questions: “The “whys” are all excellent questions…..”
    Then, as to the answers: “the answers, it is possible we may never know them….”
    And as to what we’ll get out of all of this: “the understanding, well, we may never grasp it. That is the hard part. I don’t know why we suffer the things we do when we do for as long as we do.”
    Unfortunately, whatever the choices we make, good or bad, we are choosing not only for ourselves but for others: “I know that it is the choices we make during our journey through suffering in life that make a profound difference in not just our own life, but so many lives.”
    And this observation: “Therese, you are blessed to be surrounded by love of several people close to you and even strangers. Many of us are not so fortunate. Why? Maybe because we need to truly understand what it is to love without feeling loved and to look to our Lord for inspiration and guidance.” Even in the midst of people who love us, sometimes it is difficult or impossible to see or feel that we are loved or that we are even lovable or that we are loved for who we are, not for what we provide or represent.
    You conclude: “But it is what we do with our suffering that can make it a more positive, loving, accepting world….or a more angry, violent, aggressive one. When you change lives in such a positive way…..like you do, Therese, it is truly divine…… and when we help others, we help ourselves, and we serve the Lord. What else is there?” I just wanted to thank you for laying out the questions, admitting the mystery and the unknown, recognizing the possibilities and the opportunities, all without a lot of excess verbiage. You HAVE been positive, helpful, loving and accepting! Peace and grace — Musashi

  • galed

    Iknow that your problem is an adiction problem but mine is a physical problem that’s put me through HELL for 23 years. It’s caused more physical problems than a superior person could handle. I’ve been hospitalized over 80 times first for MS and now it’s mostly from something that started because of the MS – Pneumonia and broncial problems. My second home is a hospital and I live off steroids every time I am admitted there. I have almost died 3 times if not more that I don’t know about and the list of things I haven’t had is shorter than the one of the stuff I’ve had. I have never been an adict and if I ever got close to it I would get myself off of it. I guess I could say that I’m an adict now because I had to get an implanted Morphine pump for chronic pain. I can talk and understand just like any normal person and my reactions and reasoning are just like any other persons. My question is during my last visit which was the whole month of January someone from my church told me the Devil was after me. Then I always thought when we were born that God planned how our lives would go as long as we were mortal souls on this earth and that heaven was a paradise that we would see when we had no use on this earth again. Then I was told that God never wishes pain and illness on any one of us. I’m wondering about this because I’m not saying that I never sin. I think the worse thing that I do that wouldn’t please God is swear too much. But I have no answers as to why I have suffered so much in my life and suffer more every time I end up sick again? I guess everyone in my position wants an answer to why we’re sick and what caused it just like you are. They say God doesn’t give you more than you can handle. So is it God who causes pain or is it the Devil even though I’m not tempted to drugs or drink or to anything that I can think of except swearing? Your looking for pretty much the same answers. I pray to God every day to forgive my sins and show me the way he wants me to lead my life and I’ll do it because I do believe in him and that Jesus died on that cross to repent for our sins. But tell me how after so many times of feeling better and fighting to get to that point and then trying to live a half normal life is it like take 5 steps forward and get knocked back 100. I’ve fought back over 90 times and for some reason I make it back and someone said to me “boy he must have a plan that for you that you have to accomplish!” I just want some kind of peace and know that I won’t get it until I am in Heaven with God and the people in my family who passed before me. But before that I want to know who has control over the things that are predestined for us? galed

  • Scotty

    I believe in Guardian angels and the Lord Christ revealing himself! I have been in near death experiences but I am writing about it now, I have been real sick and seen a vision of Jesus in a stucco wall (witnessed by family members)with the testimony of climbing out of bed that night feeling 100%. Irony you say, I think not, I often think of myself special because I have seen the face of Jesus in a stucco wall, I was 14 years old at the time. I am not the off the deep end Christian, where as, I won’t write a check to see if god provides, but there has been times when I needed to write a check and had no money to back that check up, but surprisingly the funds made it to my bank account some way or another! as for the Angels, every one of us has one watching over us, (strength in numbers, when you and 4 of your friends are hanging out, there are actually 10 there!) but if your doing something that is not of God, DO NOT expect the Angel to catch you when you fall! just appreciate it, when it happens! oh and one more thing, pray to God every day, not just when you are stranded alone with a flat tire on a dark stretch of highway with nothing in sight!

  • Shay

    WOW! How succinct!If there is a reason for us to go through it all you have said it well. it is for us to KNOW…what we don’t know…and have faith anyway. It is the ultimate faith…beyond all understanding. And you made me smile and chuckle several times with this missive…so that was a purpose fulfilled in your talent and gift of word smithery…which I also protend to share with you ! But you surpass my success and have somehow come into my life at just the right time on my most magical of all computer screen! Thank you Therese…whoever you are! i love you!

  • Susan aka Mali66

    I think this is a very complex question. First, I think God is a forgiving God, not a controlling One. If He were controlling, Michael would have never fallen. Then there is the Judas, turning his back on Jesus. Throughout time, evil has shown is ugly head. I don’t think God created evil, but that He has known it was always existed, as the other option. To protect us, He sent His only begotten Son, to show us the way, in human form. Even Jesus, in His most vulnerable form, voiced His anger,to the disciples at their callousness, for falling asleep while He prayed to His Father. There were other situations where, it is written, where He showed His wrath. Sometimes I wonder if God rolled His eyes, at his Son’s antics…lol! I do believe God does have a sense of humor. cause He created one in us.
    As far as relating to myself, I have struggled with temptation my whole life. My father was very verbally abusive, and when I showed signs at age three, of being overweight, he made me feel nothing would ever be right till I lost the weight. Still today, I am struggling with losing that image he brainwashed me with. I never thought I deserved friends or boyfriends, for that matter. So I would do all, be all, and buy all. Because I had such a negative self-image I would take whoever gave me a second look. I must have been very transparent, with my heart on my sleeve.
    The reason for the background, is this; I never realized how angry I have been with God, till I came here. I never realized how selfish I was till I came here. I never realized how manipulitive, I was until I came here. And I never knew how much God was missing from my life, till I came here. I would give the shirt off my back to a friend, even a stranger, but I had my mother wrapped around my finger, knowing exactly how to pull her strings. I blamed her for my unhappy childhood and eventually for my own shortcomings. She couldn’t stand up for herself, to dad, and I felt I couldn’t either.
    In summation, let me say this, when people come up to you and ask, “Do you believe in God”, I would say most of you would say an irrevocable yes, in some form, without even thinking about it. At least I always did. But looking back I ws to numb in my addiction to even hear Him talking to me. To blinded by addiction to see Him show signs of His presense in my life, to me. To wrapped up in mental illness, I didn’t comprehend, I would rather choose the suffering in silence, than to turn my line of vision to Him!
    Temptation appears in life the most, when we are most vulnerable. Mostly when change needs to occur, or has occured. We humans are all creatures of habit, and are just like hamsters on a wheel with a few more brain cells…LOL! Today, let change be looked upon as a new beginning for us all, God. Let temptation always take a backseat, to Your Word & Your Way! Thank you Therese for giving us all a voice! You inspire and enligten us all. That also applies to all of the Beliefnet Team! Power To You & Peace Be With You!

  • Doreen

    I pray everyday and thank God for all my experiences in life. I’ve been through 3 marriages, each one getting progressively worse with the last one ending because he molested my 10 year old grand-daughter and the police took him away before I knew anything. Thank you God. Temptation would have put him in the ground and me in jail. My temptations have led me to drugs, unsafe relationships and being a horrible parent for some of my life. Thank you God. My ability to see that everything happens for a reason means that I can learn from all the temptations I gave into and am now a stronger, smarter and happier person because no matter how far I fall God is there for me and shows me a better way. I don’t preach, I just pray.

  • Donald

    I call Trials life’s lessons.We are meant to learn from them so that we can relate to others and hopefully relay what we have learned onto others.Experience is the best teacher, and I have had the pleasure of being told something and seeing for myself what truly happens.Temptations can either make us or break us the choice is ours so are the rewards.

  • April Creary

    I believe you have found real truth of God’s purpose for your life, I never let myself be disrespected, mirepresented, or inflected with pain for the sake of Chirst. I just don’t believe I have to go through depression and abuse to walk in God’s will for my life. And this is a secert in our local church’s but my personal study of the bible has shown me that faithfulness to God is not maintaining a toxic relationship or experience. But to shake the dust of your feet, truly forgive yourself and the people that hurt you and honestly move on with a heart to love life, live life, and know that regradless of who doesnt care and how bad it get’s. God through Jesus is there until he call’s you home and no one can change that.
    This is coming from a person who’s had it very hard and still does but truly I have joy, peace, and hope. God knows that I’m living a life so wonderful inspite of my problems, I know that I’ve lost everything. But, God still above all those things desire’s for me to have love, peace and a sound mind and his desire’s are mine. So when the bottom fell out of my life I keep on going in God’s will. I couldve given up by sacraficing my mind with depression and sucided, but I walk in God’s purpose the world is full of things to get depressed and suicidal about. But you have to be planted like a tree by the waters your getting stronger and knowing God’s purpose is “Life”. So keep on living a better life everyday and please dont lose life until God takes your soul away. Pray Today,Live Today, Forgive Today, Heal Today, Then get away and appericate life in the freedom to rebuild.
    God Bless each and everyone who’s suffering with depression or addiction I pray that one day your able to rebuild and live. I do not know how this site became apart of my e-mail address, but I’ve been reading a few of your problems and the comments and there is no resolution for pain but there is a cure and it’c called Faith in God. So If you had it and lost it no matter what it is it was a season now it’s gone so move on, If you want it and cant get it it’s not for you, If you beleive and don’t receive it believe in God you’ll always get recieved by him. Trust GOD, Love GOD, Respect GOD

  • emily howell

    I think that you worry about too much and read too much crap from others, when in fact all you have to do is just live your life to its fullest trying to please the father in heaven with all you do. Your read too much stuff and get twisted into it too easily. You don’t have to do anything but ask for God’s guidence and ask for his forgiveness when we displease him and then leave it alone. Everything will happen to his will and you don’t have to do anything else but love him and trust in him. Remember we were put here for one thing only and only one thing and that is to please our father in heaven. Stop reading other peoples hangups, believe me you will encounter enough in yur own life to deal with. Throw away those books oyu only need 1, the good book. End of comment, God bless

  • Anonymous

    I am no stranger to the Word of God or to his voice, and yet I still do not fully comprehend the the magnitud of Gods love that He demonstrates me by allowing me to go through what I ( oerceive) to be needless suffering. I suppose I could give you some theological mental ascention to this truth but truth be told even I do not fully understand the wickedness and selfishness in my heart that must be driven out through the trials that I face. I suppose that it is the greatest of honor to share in the sufferings of Christ for the purification of my soul that I may someday see God and to truly know the hieght, depth and girth of His love.

  • Dianne

    I have posed this very same, and a similar question of late, Therese…If God will not give you more than you can handle, why do I feel he is grossly over-estimating me? Sometimes I wonder how much more pain I can endure without breaking…I have come dangerously close to the breaking point and do thank God for one thing…that he has not permitted me to cross it. Of temptation and pain, I can think of only a couple of positve thoughts, but worth noting.
    1. Perhaps I am underestimating myself and he knows what I can handle and wants me to lean on him more, so pulls the rug out from under me to see if I will on occasion.
    2. I saw this in a movie, but it makes perfect sense…If there is no sorrow, how can you fully experience joy? There is need for both in life, but I hope to see more joy soon, for I have earned it with enough sorrow for 10 lifetimes.
    Perhaps giving, loving, and patience is the key…I am counting on it. Here’s to a more joyful tomorrow!

  • Mary S. Smith

    Did you ever think how often advertising, marketing and probably the drug dealer and prostitute on the street corner use their knowledge of human behavior to succeed? What if, when a person encounters the opportunity of choice, we hesitate, look to how our choices may affect our life, and decide that the temptation for pleasure of the moment is something, that if chosen, could cause pain and suffering down the road?
    There will always be temptations as long as we percieve that a possession or experience will bring pleasure. I was lucky in that my mother was a strong, loving role model of the highest character. She stayed in an unhappy marriage and raised four children with very little parenting help from her husband. Her happiness was living long enough to see her last child (me) married and out on her own. She was diagnosed with liver cancer within my first year of marriage and died when I was 21. Even death could not defile her. She comforted me in my grieving for her. She tried to make me understand that whatever happens, is bearable.
    We associate temptation with something forbidden. But, without temptation aka choices, we would not be human. We would be automatons. The hard part then becomes which/what do we choose? I truly believe that everyone knows in their heart of hearts the possible outcome of the choices they make. Some are decided by society, social mores, family values, beliefs and experience.
    Many very successful industrial pioneers were tempted by the opportunity of fame and fortune. Look how the gold rush changed the west. If it happened to be something good for mankind, that was a plus. Do you really think Henry Ford was thinking about what a wonderful contribution his ideas would be for mankind? Actually, if you really study all the very successful, rich, famous innovators, their main objective was not altruistic; they were thinking about wealth and what pleasures it would afford them and their family. Thank goodness, b/c we would still be living in caves!
    The very notion that we are tempted can be an important thing to study and ponder. What tempts us? How will our lives be affected if we give in to this temptation? Who will it affect? Will there be negative consequences? Or shall we chose those temptations that will only take us to our higher good? Each choice that brings us closer to the kind of person we want to be, is a good choice. One at a time.

  • Sieed

    Very true Jesus was temtpted at all points but withstood all temptation we must too do as Jesus did!

  • Shelly M. Stacey

    I also started getting these e-mails in my account and started to read them. As women I am curious as a cat.. For the titles drew me into them, and then the stories all seem so parallel my own world.. One comment in particular made me cry because her story so much like mine, Mrs.Mary S.Smith comment posted on 2/19/08 at 11 pm. It really makes me think of a song I learned as a child, the one about “its a small world after all” I know every child in America and beyond know this song thanks to Walt Disney… I also lost my mother to ovarian cancer almost like over night within months and with a couple more twist and turns due to inadequate care etc… She was my world , my queen, my best friend, my sparing pal, my teacher, my cheering section and she had the closest relationship with our Creator I had ever known in my whole life.. My mom also never gave up, for the sake of 4 children, She also stayed in a loveless marriage of course it wasn’t always loveless, but it take two.. Dad just wasn’t the given kind then, Is now, funny how old age an or loss will do that to some… thank our Creator.. I can remember my mom teaching me to understand our Creators plan even when it seems hopeless, and not to question it!! That in time the truth will be evident…That our lives are like a school lesson one must seek the truth to find the answers no matter the consequences… To truly understand the will of our Creator.. Even when my sister was dropped in the delivery room and my mom was never told the truth about it. It never wasn’t apparent until after my sister started showing signs of Autism at age 1yrs. thru 5yrs. Then doctors started finding reports that my sister was dropped and given to much oxygen which causes different forms of Autism.. Out of fear, the nurses instead of being truthful with my mom, they panic and gave my sister oxygen like it was a miracle cure all…Oh that power of a true mothers love: Forgiveness’: it is the power that is found to one, when thy ask of our Creator to help you, to guide you and to give you understanding for the things we can not explain.. I have had many numerous encounters with pain, disappointment, failed relationships, losses of children because CHOICSE I made, and only ME.. From the abortion I put my family thru when I was just 15 yrs. to losing many children because of problems that came from me having an abortion so young..I use to think that all these suffering came from our Creator. That it was the way in which our Creator was punishing me.. But that is absurd!! Even now when I think back, about how I would get mad at our Creator and cuss him and carry around self hate.. It was my own karma that “I CREATED” not Our Creator. That in itself is one truth I have come to face thru my own questions & thru my own journey to find redemption in my own truths.. Truth is that I had a choice, at even the tender age of 15. That choice was all my own, even when my mom begged me and told me please I will help u, lets keep the baby I said, NO, NO, NO!!! I was selfish, scared what dad would do? … Scared of what my friends would think of me? so basically there is no way around it selfish…my choice all mine…. Alway have been and always will be…. Which funny it seems now, Now that I clearly see I am the only one making, you guess it “MY OWN CHOICES” I guess what I am realy trying to say is that their is a Creator, which gave us the most incredible kind of love in this world or the next. That is the power of FREEWILL, this is Our Creators Truth to us of his UNCONDITIONAL LOVE For Us, the truth of the power of Choice: which is talked about thru out the bible as FREEWILL …Really what more does mankind need than pure unconditional love from our creator? It is like knowing when you are a parent, that letting your kid play football, “well he could get hurt” this you say to your self, but you love your kid and want them to be happy, so you let them choose to play or not… that is the gift you give your child… so the same our Creator has given to all of us … Don’t think it doesn’t hurt him to see us choose the wrong path and like a parent he will steps in to see if u need him (remember that’s the times u hear little voice in your gut talking to you) but like our parent he is willing to stand back and let the chips fall where they may. But in that same instant he will be right there waiting to pick us up. Our Creators words are thru out the bible, just waiting for us to pick up and read them, study them, live and died by them…This was the way my mother lived her life. I will carry on her legacy of the words Our Creator by inspiring the questions from within myself and others as to why?? as do children when they start to talk ..They ask why?? The Creator loves to hear us Ask Why?? It shows him we care..that we have relized we have a purpose…We are to him as an school experiment is to us; for to study; our own hypothisis and then to be proud that we almost had the right answers..or that we are finially on the right track…I want to try to help all I can with the gift I have been given. To reach all I can with my words, my stories of truth, my short comings,my failures, my joys.. To just continue to share my heartfelt failures & triumps with whom ever, where ever and when ever I can.. My mothers teachings will not die with me, but I too will speak to who so ever shall listen, of the gifts of our Creator and of the Son; body of thy self who deid to give us back our lives and to reedem us in his blood shed… My mother taught me that the bible is our reference guide to our Creator; without this basic tool of study you will never get the closeness or understanding of where or who, Our Creator would want for you to be thru out your life…Without “thy word,” one will just wonder aimlessly thru life fufilling the temptations of the ones flesh, which is only one dimension of our multi-dimensional lives. That is the hopes of the devil for mankind. That we could be fooled into thinking that there is no Heaven or Hell.. That there is only one dimension and that this is it, one we live in today… Now to believe that would be uneducated right? Let’s use common sense, often the best decisions are made quickly from just using our common sense; which essentially is our basic natural instinctive powers, right ? To me the side of temptation; is the one dimensional side that speaks to our totally physical attributes, the impulse side, the side by which one just wants what it wants and wants when it wants it…. This is the side by which; if we allow the evils of the world to resonate with our soul for to long will take over.. And Isn’t that exactly what the devil is counting on?? Without it he has no control over you ..It is Fear where he lives and like the lost souls they fear being alone.. Misery loves company…But As with our Creator no matter how bad the world gets around you … You are never ALONE… you just have to speak out to invite the Creator in, with the words he has given you… Call on him in your desperate, despaire he shall forever be with you…but one has to ask…Even the governments of mankind have long since come to the very real, realization that to keep control of a people, is to create fear… It is how governments have kept mankind thru out time paralyzed as nation, as people, as world… that is why some governments control freedom of speech… How else to stop us all from sharing our knowledge with each other? How do you learn the best life lessons that actually stick to oneself thru out our years?? I will tell you for me it is always been from the hardest trials and tribulations that in my life lessons, I brought upon myself in some way or another. The second and only other way is to hear them first hand from a person or persons who has no fear in sharing there failures and pains with others in the hopes they can reach just one person and save them from a life of hurt.. The best gift one could give another.. The Truth.. From being an example for all the world to see; this is what our Jesus was for us… This is what I would choose to do now with my life …If I only help one
    person then I will have accomplished much.. I have no shame only love … Love to be an example to what could be, what will be and what is to come… Only by acknowledgement of our Creator can this power of freedom be obtained. Then and only then will oneself truly know self love, & respect. To fear no mans judgement and to accept all mans criticism for it is food for my soul..I have made my self a promise since the lose of my mother to continue the work I feel compelled to do for our Creator.. That no shame is to great for I know all to well.. I have put upon myself more shame than any other could ever possible do or bring upon me… Within my faith in thy Creator is where I will seek my refuge & know without doubt our Creator will save my soul as long as I have no fear to ask for forgiveness… I can be his example in this world without fear.. Fear and repression, can stifle a persons soul from finding the Creator & top this with others disbelief, media, radio, news broadcast, etc. it is hard not to get lost…So when you feel in despair, my opinion would be to go outside take a long look around you as you breath in the fresh air our creator has gifted us with and just stop and give thanks you will see as instantly as you start to give thanks to the powers that be; your answers will become clear.. Look you are at that time, in that moment, having a relationship our Creator, the one who loves more than anyone ever will love you…I sorry for the lengthy spiel but when it comes to sharing I am just overwhelmed to share all that I have or am … I hope that this will help anyone who just needs to feel like others think this deeply… It might surprise you how many of us do think Deeply…Thank you all for listening…. Sincerely,
    ~};{~ Shelly Stacey

  • loretta

    I BELIVE GOD IS A STRONG GOD,BUT WHAT I DONT GET GOD WILL ONLY GIVE YOU WHAT YOU CAN HANDLE. SO FAR IN THE LAST 3 MONTHS LOST A STEPDAUGHTER TO A HOMICIDE, MY DAUGHTER HAS BEEN FIGHTING CANCER SINCE SEPT. 2006 AND NO DONNER MATCH YET, FINACHAL TROUBLE BUT I STILL FIGHT THE DEVIL,CAN HE WIN NO BUT LORD HAVE MERCY ON US. WE ARE TIRED AND SOME TIME WONDER WHY HOW CAN HE PUT THIS MUCH ON US. WHY WHY. I DONT HAVE ALL THE ANSWERS BUT I KNOW THAT GOD DONES JUST PLEASE REVIAL THEM SOON TO US. PLEASE HOLDING ON FOR DEAR LIFE.

  • hearts full of passion

    shelley what a beautiful insight to our own personal trails & tribulations! yes we do create our own karma,thats for sure and yes god does give us chioces and also he forgives but it is meant to learn from the tempations and make the best of what we have created,learn from them, and know that god is good and when we are suffering he will open a window when a door gets shut ! and I truly believe that everything happens for a reason, and if we stay open to what god tells us we will open someone elses life somehow and so the circle of love & knowledge and hard experiences can help other’s too ! may you all have a blessed day and don’t forget “to pay it forward”… cause you never know how it may really change anothers life positively,even just a simple word, people need a hand up,so as the god would want us to do …extend your hand & your heart ! pray daily,and not just when things are going bad ,pray when things are also been blessed upon you too,some of us tend to do not pray once good things are coming into our life’s….. with love to all “brightest starr on the island”

  • Randy

    Thanks everyone, for all the wonderful thoughts on the subject that Therese wrote about. It seems we always are reminded that this is a fallen world we live in. Contained within it is a very real and destructive enemy who seeks to destroy us given an opportunity to do so. What our Lord and Saviour accomplished was to defeat that enemy once and for all. I believe that with my whole heart. And I know that because He lives in my heart now, He wins the daily battle against the treatchery of lucifer and his minions of temptation. I’m a very simple person and that’s what works for me. Could it be that simple faith is sometimes simply good enough?
    Luv ya,
    Randy

  • sarah

    why you have a picture of that girl that just play stupid sorry to said this but i think you need God more to anything

  • DeLynn Jones

    I just want to say thank you. I am trying to do whatever I can to get closer to God and to try and figure out what to do with my life. Your letter opened my eyes to some things that I do need to work on. And some of the other letters made me realize that no matter what happens there are other people who have it twice as hard. I do know that God wouldn’t give me anything that I couldn’t handle and I’m glad he knows what I can and cannot handle because I am young and am realizing even with all the schooling and life experiences I have had I have a lot more to learn and go through and I want him by my side. I am really trying to open my life to God and let him take care of it but sometimes it hard to do that. Have you ever been in a point in your life when you just have to give it all to God because you can’t do it anymore? I have and I think that’s what he wants us to do sometimes, realize we can’t handle everything and trying to can make it worse. We need God!
    DeLynn

  • Anonymous

    not sure way god hands me some tuff things in life..but i have the the best i can..thay say its all for a reason?i geass im learning from all this?

  • Kathy

    Thank you God for another day to make right what I have done wrong.His grace,forgiveness and mercy make this possible.The picture has to go ,but the message was right on time.I battle daily with the disease of addiction and need to pray always for direction from God to do the right things.My thinkin takes me to the dark side alot BUT my prayers and Jesus gives me the choices soo I don’t have to reap the negative consequences of my actions,which are disatorous.The feelings of negativity got to go and i pray to stay positive and move through my day with God directing me.A relationship that I was in four 51/2 years brought me to my knees many time,but I have moved out of it for over 2 months and my thoughts tell me “this time it will be different” yeah it will, more pain.What part of “NO” don’t I understand. But I have learned through my dark side that I WON’T experience much pain IF I avoid the things that cause me pain.I am involved in 12 step recovery to help me in all areas of my life and grow from my negative experiences.Just for today I pray for the temptations to leave me it is ONLY temporary pleasure which always brings me to my knees asking God “Why did I do this or that again….” Think ahead the reprocussions of your actions..are you willing to live with your choice,decisions and then the consequences..Thanks for all the comments.I have been struggling but joy comes in the morning when I learn “NO” is no and “YES” is yes through my choices.May God Bless you all…

  • susan

    Another Larry fan here.
    Anyway, just found this entry. Nice work Therese.
    Been dealing with temptation the last couple of days. Not the easy kind, (do I dare have a piece of chocolate even though I just lost 56 lbs), but the hard kind…. about a friend of mine. We are both single, but the last couple of nights I have been having, for lack of a better word, X rated dreams about him which leave me shaken and confused. And its strange because I think he sees me as a little sister, and I see him as a big brother.
    I don’t know what to do. If the holidays weren’t next week I would be speaking to my Rabbi.
    Thank you Therese, and thank you Larry.

  • Anonymous

    Simply put: it takes a sincere person to stand up for these things while in adversity, and a faithful to stand up in times of temptation.
    We are Christians against the nature of the world: expect adversity.
    We are called to faith unto life everlasting: expect temptation.
    If a person did not think it was wrong, it would not be temptation – they’d already be laying down.
    Be blessed!

  • valerie

    My verse of the day the other day was from 2 Corinthians 12:9-10: But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
    For two years I had this verse on my chalkboard on my fridge. It is hard to swallow in a sense–that God’s grace is enough for us and that His power is made perfect in OUR weakness. It’s like, gee, God, thanks a lot. But it is during these extremely hard times (whether we’re in the black hole of depression or be it financial difficulties or whatever) that God shines through us and His grace IS sufficient.
    Another verse out there that I think a lot of people misinterpret is the one about “God won’t give you more than you can handle.” People read that and cannot understand why someone would try to commit suicide or actually complete suicide. But if you read further in that scripture (and I can’t remember the book/verse), you will see that it doesn’t say that. It goes on to say that God ALWAYS gives us a way out. So, if we’re feeling stuck in a deep, deep hole, the big black hole, God supplies us with a way out of that.
    Love Valerie

  • Your Name

    My boyfriend is set to finish law school soon and I wanted a watch that reflected his upcoming transition into the "adult" world. It is beautiful, has a great weight to it and the dial face is great to look at?

Previous Posts

Seven Ways to Get Over an Infatuation
“Bewitched, bothered, and bewildered am I” wrote US songwriter Lorenz Hart about the feeling of infatuation. It’s blissful and euphoric, as we all know. But it’s also addicting, messy and blinding. Without careful monitoring, its wild wind can rage through your life leaving you much like the

posted 12:46:43pm Feb. 19, 2014 | read full post »

When Faith Turns Neurotic
When does reciting scripture become a symptom of neurosis? Or praying the rosary an unhealthy compulsion? Not until I had the Book of Psalms practically memorized as a young girl did I learn that words and acts of faith can morph into desperate measures to control a mood disorder, that faithfulness

posted 10:37:13am Jan. 14, 2014 | read full post »

How to Handle Negative People
One of my mom’s best pieces of advice: “Hang with the winners.” This holds true in support groups (stick with the people who have the most sobriety), in college (find the peeps with good study habits), and in your workplace (stay away from the drama queen at the water cooler). Why? Because we

posted 10:32:10am Jan. 14, 2014 | read full post »

8 Coping Strategies for the Holidays
For people prone to depression and anxiety – i.e. human beings – the holidays invite countless possibility to get sucked into negative and catastrophic thinking. You take the basic stressed-out individual and you increase her to-do list by a third, stuff her full of refined sugar and processed f

posted 9:30:12am Nov. 21, 2013 | read full post »

Can I Say I’m a Son or Daughter of Christ and Suffer From Depression?
In 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, we read: “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” What if we aren’t glad, we aren’t capable of rejoicing, and even prayer is difficult? What if, instead, everything looks dark,

posted 10:56:04am Oct. 29, 2013 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.