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Friday, August 22, 2008

Looking for Temptation

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Some people think that intentionally looking for temptations and testing oneself is one way to increasing one's spiritual strength. This is called brinkmanship. But I completely disagree.

Here's a parable from the former Plain Truth magazine that would illustrate my point.

A general was looking for a driver to drive him through a mountain pass over treacherous cliffs. Three soldier drivers volunteered. As a test question, he asked then how close they could drive to the edge of a cliff road without going over.

The first soldier boasted that he could drive 12 inches from the edge.

The second soldier boasted six inches.

The third soldier dismissed the boasts of the first two. He said he'll stay as far away from the edge as possible.

The general hired the third soldier.

Some will say, what? Why not the second driver? Isn't he good if he can go six inches? The answer is, no. Through his boast, and through his staying six inches from the ledge, he courts danger. What if there was a roadside bomb that did not necessarily kill them bodily? Then there's more chance of the general's being thrown over the cliff! There would be less risk if they were far away from the ledge as possible.

Why the third driver deserved the job is that he wanted safety first over pride. He did not want to boast his skills - he wanted to practice them. He wisely shunned the courtship of danger and put the safety of the general first with his being safe.

That's how it is with temptation in life. Temptation should always be avoided as much as possible. If people want to avoid sin, then why should they look for temptation? All they are doing is increasing their chances of going into sin.

But then, if they do pass each test, what good does it do them? They would probably just boast that, "See, I can go near the point of breaking without doing it at all! My faith is great." But then is faith only good for brinkmanship? That is the wrong application of faith. Also, if these kind of people boast about their brinkmanship success, then... there you have it. Boasting. It's just like saying, "You know, I'm humble." If you're humble, why are you boasting? They are boasting. They are proud.

And their sin is the sin of pride.

In addition, if they teach that other people should try looking for temptation to test themselves, but those people fail, then these brinkmanshippers are guilty of leading others to sin. They should be damned.

Never forget one important part of the Lord's Prayer.

"Lead us not into temptation..."

That's it folks. Never desire temptation. You might as well be looking for a boobytrap and falling into it willingly.

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