Day 6: Temptation

Temptation, a desire to do,

especially something unwise

and most often untrue.

Another definition clings to this word;

a thing or course of action

that attracts or tempts the stirred.

So, what if for today,

we flip meaning

and transform evil

into something with healing?

Let us all be tempted

to be wise and true,

and give evil merely

a dry vessel to pass through.

For when flour is sifted

with not water or yeast,

it will remain mere wheat,

providing nothing on which to feast.

That thing or course of action

that within us attracts?

Let us again feel what days

ago covered us in ash.

Allow this dusted off yeast

to leaven our minds;

let all actions be sifted

through Him and refined.

Now turned upside-down,

evil now stirred –

it finds no attraction here;

temptation cleansed by His word.

Before you begin your day:

Temptation: what comes to mind? Do the images conjure evil deeds? Do they have to?

Are we not flooded with the reality of temptation's gluttonous appetite? It seems any and all news reports involve its voracious feeding on the vices of deceit, theft, murder, adultery... the list continues. The stories most often don't have happy endings. Why? Is this the reality of the world we live in, or does society long for disaster rather than triumph? Does "Little Timmy saves farmer's dog from well" demand less hype than "Little Timmy throws farmer's dog in well"? Which headline commands your attention?

It saddens me when I read the last headline. Not for the farmer; not for the dog; and not for Little Timmy - although all deserve grief. But for the misguided temptation. Imagine all that energy if used constructively rather than destructively? What a world it would be!

I realize this is a simplified example but think about hackers, terrorists, or spies. It would change the headline if all the sudden just behavior or great deeds won front page rights. When I was studying Criminal Justice years ago, we did a study on the death penalty and how it affects crime. Are you surprised to learn that it skyrockets? When someone dies for a crime committed, crime increases - WHAT?

We are all tempted, and we all must make choices therein. It is not the temptation that drives us to sin; it is sin that justifies the temptation. Does anger not rationalize the temptation to yell? Does jealousy not defend the temptation to resent? Does desperation to be heard not condone the temptation to destroy?

Let us reword those questions: Does anger not rationalize the temptation to understand? Does jealousy not defend the temptation to love? Does desperation to be heard not condone the temptation to pray? Affirmation to these questions lies within each of us! Are you tempted today to provide understanding, offer love, or extend prayer?

Choose a word from the poem that connotes destructive temptation. Write it down. Now, next to your word, choose one that is constructive. Sit for a moment with the Lord. Listen.

Keep this paper today as a prayer. Look at it often. Not only for yourself but remember those immersed in destructive temptation. Pulled beneath the depths, drowning, one often forgets ever to look up. Let us be tempted to pray in their darkness.

During your day:

Leon Bloy called joy "the most infallible sign of the presence of God."

Therefore, would misery not be the lack of this presence?

Then, let us be tempted to be this sign to all we meet.

Read Psalm 34: 6a; James 1: 14-15

Throughout your day:

INHALE: Relieve me of the temptation of _________________________.

EXHALE: Fill me with the temptation to ________________________.

(repeat as many times as needed)

Before you end your day:

Blessed Lord, thank you for tempting me today, for it offers reflection. Remove all destructive temptation from my heart. Construct within me You. Tempt me with love. Tempt me with understanding. Tempt me with compassion. Tempt me with forgiveness. Tempt me with _______________________. Remind me my actions today bring the change of tomorrow. Amen.

Goodnight; sleep well; know you are blessed.


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