By Eleanor St. Clair of Tavares, FL, USA
Seek the Lord while he may be found, call upon him while he is near; let the lost forsake their way, and the unrighteous their thoughts; let them return to the Lord, that he may have mercy on them, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. —Isaiah 55:6–7 NRSV, adapted
I understand temptation, for it is then we must decide.
My father, a converted Methodist, was pastor of our little country church. Meetings began in a fruit house in a peach orchard, and later in a Grange hall. Nana was a staunch member and the congregation’s dream became a reality when her father, not a member, gave the land on which we built the church. It became a community project and people of all faiths pitched in until the building’s completion.
One day my mother sent me across the church field to get an item at the small store. For a few moments I was alone in the store. My seven-year-old eyes gazed longingly at my favorite chewing gum. After staring at it for some time, my hand slowly reached in and grasped a package. I was going to steal it! I can still feel it in my hand. I slowly dropped it back in the box. I couldn’t do it. Feelings of shame and betrayal for Nana, my parents, and Jesus filled my being. It is an experience that still teaches and haunts me.
Last night I was the minister for our midweek worship service. I needed a paperback Book of Mormon, but the person to pay wasn’t there. The shocking thought popped into my head, “You contribute more than enough to cover the cost of this.” Later, when I went to pay for the book, I found there was no charge for the missionary editions.
Temptation never gives up on adults or children. Someone quipped, “Opportunity may knock on our door once, but the devil is pounding on it 24-7.” Nephi tells us everyone knows right from wrong. That blessing surfaces when temptation is knocking on our door. We can make right choices.
Prayer for Peace
Compassionate God, forgive us when we give in to temptation. May your grace be with us when we make our choices. May we choose the better way. May we choose peace.
Spiritual Practice: Making Responsible Choices
Prayerfully seek God’s guidance in your choices. The practice of discernment invites us to orient our lives toward God and God’s vision for us and creation. Begin by reviewing the responsibilities and opportunities in the day before you. Take these choices into prayer, asking God for wisdom and insight about what matters most.
Today, God, I will call on you to help me resist temptation.