There's a funny little cartoon with Peter from Family Guy standing beside a big red button with a label below it which says "Do Not Push Button."
Underneath the cartoon, it reads, "TEMPTATION, Do you really want to spend the rest of your life wondering?"
This makes me laugh every time, not only because it's Peter from Family Guy, but because this does sorta represent our reticence to follow God where he wants us to go. What if where he wants us to go isn't what we expect, it's not all that fun, it's difficult? And on the flip-side, why would God not want us to have what we desire, is it because it's too fun, satisfying, or exhilarating? What is God hiding?!
Well, it seems to me that not only do we have the Bible telling us that our hearts are only genuinely content within the boundaries that God has created for us, we also have the testimonies of countless people, Christians and non, that tell us that they pursued their every whim and desire and were still unhappy. (Do you remember our study of Ecclesiastes, and "The Man Who Had It All?")
Temptation isn't always as simple as a big red button that says "don't push me." But don't we understand Peter's conflict? Something inside, often deep inside us, wants something that God says isn't ultimately good.
Well, this is obviously a BIG issue in spiritual formation - choosing the things that God wants for us in order to grow more mature and whole, while ignoring and/or resisting those things that stunt our growth.
We will be in the book of James again this week (chapter 1:13-18), looking at what he has to tell us about temptation. I hope you can join us.