Wednesday, November 19, 2008


I have been thinking for some time about temptation, particularly the sin of temptation in my own life. This is an area that I struggle to contain and a trap that I frequently fall into. I came across some thoughts by Dietrich Bonhoeffer in his work Temptation that captures my thoughts and feelings on this topic to perfection.

In our members there is a slumbering inclination towards desire which is both sudden and fierce. With irresistible power desire seizes mastery over the flesh. All at once a secret, smouldering fire is kindled. The flesh burns and is in flames. It makes no difference whether it is sexual desire, or ambition, or vanity, or desire for revenge, or love of fame and power, or greed for money, or, finally, that strange desire for the beauty of the world, of nature. Joy in God is extinguished in us and we seek all our joy in the creature. At this moment God is quite unreal to us, he loses all reality, and only desire for the creature is real; the only reality is the devil. Satan does not here fill us with hatred of God, but with forgetfulness of God. The lust thus aroused envelops the mind and will of man in deepest darkness. The powers of clear discrimination and of decision are taken from us.

This is an area of my life where progress is slow, but I am trying to do my best to move in the right direction. I proceed in fits and starts, often fall down, curse my weaknesses, cry, and seek help. What's cool is that sometimes, every once in a while, I look in the rearview mirror and see places that I have not visited for a long time, and have no desire or need to visit again.