Amazing day, actually accomplished everything I set out to do without a single crisis. +8 degrees Celsius and the ice is melting everywhere … a far cry from a few days ago when it was -20. Baked Cod and Spinach salad with Balsamic vinaigrette for supper. Sipping a nice 30 year old Port for desert and thinking on embracing God’s plan for us …
All passions, appetites and the temptations to indulge them have one thing in common: they entice us to disregard natural law and resist the Lordship of God in our lives (You ain’t the boss of me!).
The first temptation began with the Great Lie in the garden; the lie that says we can live our best life outside the rules of God, that freedom requires unrestricted autonomy (sound familiar – Anyone? Anyone? Sorry Ferris). The three temptations we all face, while not the exact same things of course, fall into three classic categories or ways that we resist the Lordship of God in our lives.
First, we are tempted to allow sensual pleasure to occupy the center of our concerns. We focus on eating, drinking, and sex (30 year old Port?). But this is a source of great mischief, for only God can legitimately fill that central position.
Second, we are tempted by power and control. From national tyrants to petty abusers within families and friendships, power is alluring, and of course power corrupts and absolute power … well you know that one, right?
Third, we are tempted to make honour and fame our central pursuit. We indulge the narcissist in each of us. We struggle to raise our own reputation, be seen by everyone, be admired by everyone, be esteemed by everyone.
So reflect on where you are right now. What are you doing in the garden? Who is luring you and how? Are you buying into the Big Lie? Where are you in the desert? How do you stand up to the three great temptations: to sensual pleasure, honor, and power?
Are we reluctant to embrace the FIAT? Are we afraid that God’s plan for us might not be our plan for our self? We want to do God’s will, but only if we can do it our way?
“Augustine’s Confessions” is an interesting starting place for contemplating the FIAT. I first read it as a young man and was not impressed. Later, in my 40’s it was so moving that I felt like he had written it to me personally. Now, re-reading it in my 60’s I get even more out of it and am both amused and sometimes embarrassed by my margin notes from my 40’s. Vanity … all is vanity.
Augustine was the young man who prayed “Lord, make me chaste (sexually pure) – but not yet!” . So how do we approach an absolute surrender to God’s will? How do we shed the “self”?
Disclaimer for nitpickers: We take pride in being incomplete, incorrect, inconsistent, and unfair. We do all of them deliberately