gardenedenA Thought to Ponder:

My favorite novel is Nikos Kazantzakis’ The Last Temptation of Christ. The author was exiled from his homeland for portraying Christ as human and having a dream while on the cross…a human dream of what it would have been like if he had given in to the temptation to be something other than what God had created him to be. What if, as the author suggests, Jesus had gotten married, settled down and had kids? For raising such a question, Kazantzakis was not even allowed burial in his native land, until many years after his death, at which time his remains were exhumed and buried in his homeland (funded by Aristotle Onassis).

The idea Kazantzakis makes in his novel raises an interesting thought for all of us: we are all faced with the temptation to be something other – something less – that what God has created us to be. When was the last time you were tempted to do something you knew was not what was meant to be? Or when was the last time you were tempted to be something you knew was not what God has planned for you? If you’re like most people, such temptations are nearly everyday occurrences. And we may submit because we think we know what is best or that it’s not that big of a deal.

The problem with such thinking is that we can’t – or won’t – see beyond ourselves…that’s often the attraction of temptation: it is selfish. We don’t see how it might affect more than just ourselves; and if it affects only us, we say, no harm done.

The struggle is always between being what we want to be and becoming what God wants us to be. The two rarely, if ever, match. It is a life-long process to become what God wants us to become; but it only takes a second to become what we would like to be.

The reward of one is fleeting; the reward of the other is eternal. Dealing with the consequences of one is often devastating; reaping the blessings of the other is always overwhelming. Picking up the pieces of one is often embarrassing; having the pieces put together for us is empowering.

The next time you are tempted to be something other than what God created you to be, remember Jesus was tempted, too, in every way we are. And that we have an Advocate with God; and Advocate who not only knows what it’s like to be tempted, but who can help us stand against temptation so that we can be (and become) what God created us to be.