Leading us into Temptation

September 30, 2018

Jesus tells His disciples it is better to enter eternal life without a hand, a foot or an eye than to be cast into the fires of Gehenna.  He tells us to rid our lives of what is causing us to sin.  So often we have a tough time with that.  Realize I am not on Facebook, Instagram or Snapchat to begin with, but texting immediate responses can be really important to me.  I remember last year trying to discipline myself in this area.  It had become so important to answer emails and texts quickly that I would walk across the parking looking down at my phone catching up.  While looking down I failed to look up.  I failed to see the beauty of the trees and birds around me.  I failed to just absorb the gift of celebrating Eucharist.  So during Lent I committed myself to refraining from answering texts or emails while I strolled to church and back to the rectory.  Not even one week into Lent I forgot my promise.  I was looking down again.  Knowing what leads us into temptation is crucial as we look at eradicating sin from our lives.  Addictions of all kinds cloud our vision.  These need to be confronted by the Words of Jesus.  It is better to be in pain by confronting them than to miss the Kingdom of God by allowing them to lead us to a pattern of sin.

We say these words every time we pray the Lord’s Prayer “lead us not into temptation.”  Temptation is where it all begins.  Temptation is where the mind can begin to rationalize the sin as to being something good and not wrong.  Temptation is where the choice to sin overwhelms the person so that they choose it as the only way to live.  It begins to have power.  Jesus is clear—get rid of what leads us to sin.  See sin for what it is; sin cuts off our relationship with God.  When we do that, we form habits that lead our lives astray.

God invites us to enter the Kingdom of heaven.  He sent Jesus into the world to redeem the world.  Jesus died for us.  Our response to this great love, our response to this great gift is to lead ourselves away from temptation.

It is better to enter into the Kingdom than anything else in the world. Let us keep our eyes fixed right there.

Reverend John J. Ouper