Are You Giving Away Your Power to Temptation?
“We cannot say no to temptation without saying yes to something far better.- ” Erwin W. Lutzer
Everyone is tempted when they are drawn away by their own desires and enticed to be gratified in the short-term knowing the possibility of longterm harm. The thought of the temptation and its good or bad outcomes is known to you.
The decision is conscious whether you decide to give in to the temptation or overcome it. For example, an ex-smoker might feel tempted to smoke. When they give in to the temptation to smoke, they know cancer could be the result. You may be tempted to engage in drugs or alcohol, eat sweets as a diabetic, procrastinate, lose your temper, ignore your children, or be unfaithful prioritizing short term gratification over longer term achievement and happiness. While you may choose to give in to the temptation, you do not choose your consequences.
Temptation can be overpowering. Are you giving away your power by engaging in destructive or self-sabotaging behaviors due to temptation? It is widely thought that temptation is offered from an external, destructive, and malicious source. However, I would like to give you a different perspective. Temptation gives you the opportunity to get to know you and your plans based on your fears before you allow your fear to execute on those plans. This perspective leads to a dramatic difference in what you must do when temptation presents itself. And it will most certainly present itself. As opposed to looking at temptation as something external from you that must be dealt with, explore your internal fears that produces tempting experiences so that it can be challenged and changed.
This gives you authentic power according to Gary Zukav, author Seat of the Soul. Looking at it this way temptation is not a danger but a gift - an opportunity to grow in compassion for you and others and to gain clarity. Gary looks at temptation as a dress rehearsal for a negative karmic event, i.e., death from obesity, job, productivity, or relationship loss. When you pay attention to the dress rehearsal mentioned you can avoid the painful consequences that would follow if you gave into temptation. When temptation comes up, you visualize the plan or story that makes the temptation attractive. It will be a whole pre-planned story with reasons for why it should happen.
You justify every small and large action. As an example, as an employee you are tempted to steal from your employer. Your plan will show how the money will be stolen, what the manipulation will be, what the cover up will be, and what the embezzled funds will provide. Temptation is not the work of an evil entity existing outside you. It is a creation from your internal fears. Be aware of these potential sources of temptation:
• Manipulation by others
• Unjustifiable curiosity
• Unreasonable desires
• Perception of loss or failure
Several things deplete your mental energy levels making it harder for you to resist temptation and maintain self-control, like, a sustained effort to keep from giving into temptation or seeking comfort when emotionally frustrated, angry, or sad. Whatever you do not confront you will not conquer. Whatever you do not resist has a right to remain. Whatever you do not want in your life, you must not allow it to grow in your life. To resist temptation, you must understand why you are tempted and the object of temptation, the strength of your feelings about the temptation, and the level of fear attached to the consequences of giving in. An Association for Psychological Science study says you can also resist temptation by:
• Practicing self-awareness and mindfulness
• Creating and maintaining healthy habits
• Adopting an “abundance” mindset
Temptation is a universal experience that works for your good and is a test of the strength of your character. Your desire to live honorably and with dignity makes overcoming temptation an important issue. But we live in a world where the strength of morals and defining what is noble has taken a deep decline. However, there is no form of temptation that has the power to overrun you. The power is yours to choose your direction. Temptation may come to you, suggesting a shortcut to achieving your highest goal. It does not direct you toward what you understand to be evil, but toward what you understand to be good. When yielding to temptation, it becomes the proof that it was only your fear that prevented you from giving in to it earlier. Temptation is the common inheritance of humans. God does not save you from temptation but sustains you through temptation.
“Do not give up what you want most for what you want now.”
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