Why’d you click on this post? Were you tempted to find out why I dared you to look? To see what I was going to talk about? You just had to give in and find out?!
Well hey, glad you could make it.
I realized something lately. It might be because our culture is crazy-saturated in technology, or because I’m marrying a software engineer. Regardless, it has to do with the internet.
You know how you pull up the internet and it’s all LEMME PREDICT YO MIND
Always wondered what was taking Christ so long getting BBQ.
I wanna talk about temptation today. And my great revelation. I’m pretty sure that’s why you clicked on this post in the first place. Have you ever noticed that when you’re tempted to do something you know is wrong, (aka sin) it’s usually linked to something you’ve done before? Or maybe something that someone you know has done/is doing? Look back at the example google search. How often do we see something like this? We bring up the internet on our phones or computers and it has a bunch of suggested sites we have been to recently. Or we go to shoot a friend a text and ask if they want to meet up later at the movies and our phone is all “want to meet up later at the muffins” because lately you’ve had a slight obsession with muffins and your phone thinks it can read your mind.
The internet and our phones can do this because they have cookies and data. They store our browsing history, remember what we’ve talked about and done in the past, and remind us of it (if we don’t clear the cookies).
Here’s the thing: The Devil does the same thing.
Outrageous Example: Picture it. You’re chilling and all of the sudden a commercial of Dairy Queen comes on. It reminds you that you used to be super gluttonous (overindulging in food and other things, without being grateful or taking care of yourself) when it comes to ice cream….but it made you happy in the moment. You didn’t have to think about the stresses of your life and you could eat your worries away, cone after cone. You start to remember all of your favorite flavors and looking up DQ coupons. Do you think the devil knew you’d be right there, right then, in front of the tv? That seeing the commercial would cause you to want that which you’d moved on from?
Of course he did. He planned it that way. TA-DA, temptation!
The devil has this great ability to save all of our data and remind us of it right at the most
Satan knows your “recently searched”
He has ideas that are “suggested for you”
There are links to other sins that are “based on your browsing history”
Or why don’t you just remember what got you to the confessional last time and “buy it again” ?
Do you see where I’m going with this? Due to our past, God grants us the ability to say “yes” or “no” to temptation with our free will. Everyone encounters temptation. Even Jesus did, as we hear is this coming Sunday’s Gospel. He goes into the desert and Satan comes to Him and tries to trick Him. With what? Well, things that are custom-tailored to Jesus. Just like all of our temptations are custom-tailored to us.
BUT WHY DOES GOD LET THIS HAPPEN I AM A WEAK HUMAN.
Again, He gives us free will and leaves it up to us what we decide to do. When we turn away from sin, we know that we are turning to God. We are saying “Yes Lord, you know way better than I do what’s best for me, so go ahead and do Your thing.” When we turn away from God, we are turning to sin. We say “Ehh, I know that God know’s what’s up…but I’d rather do my own thing. I know it might not be the best, but it will make me happy!” When we give into temptation, it prevents us from having true happiness. We actually resist happiness, claiming that we know better than God what will satisfy us. Which can’t be true! He created us! God knows how we work and He knows what we need. We just have to trust that even in those moments where we are hurt, broken, afraid, or unwilling, God will bring us through to the greater plan that He has, instead of the makeshift whacko one that we try to whip up.
Lent starts today. Oh man. Are you nervous? How’s your prayer life? I remember people asking me that and I would get so annoyed! Then I realized I was only annoyed because I wasn’t able to say “It’s fantastic!” when they asked. It’s good to have people to hold you accountable and check in on you. I invite you this Lent to find someone to be that accountability partner. To ask about your prayer life and what you need prayers for on a weekly basis. Seriously stop reading this post and text that person. Do it, you won’t. (okay, but actually do it).
Good. Now make sure you know your own browsing history of sin. You know the temptations and when they come. You even know what causes them. You know where you are when they happen. (In your living room watching TV late at night craving a snack?!) AVOID THOSE CIRCUMSTANCES. Are you dating anyone? You know that you just want to be with them the later at night it gets. Go home! Shut your phone off! Do you have a privacy screen on your computer or phone? Why? What are you afraid of people seeing? Take it off! Challenge yourself! Do you have friends who gossip and make fun of others? Don’t listen to them! Tell them to knock it off and be kind!
Use all 5 of your senses this Lent to take in what is going on around you and understand the triggers for your sin. Places, sounds, videos, time of day, certain days of the week or month, smells, sights, music. What influences you and is that “convincing factor” that you should turn from God and sin? As you read this, it may sound a bit harsh. I guarantee that if you start thinking in this way, that every little sin is an act of turning away from God, (it is, we just forget and make excuses,) you’re not going to want to sin. After all, who truly desires to turn their back on God? He will never turn His back on us. God’s mercy is abundant and doesn’t ever run out. Fight against temptation and stay face-to-face with God this Lent!