The Temptation of Self-Centeredness

mother_teresa_01-150x150It is important to accept responsibility for your life. However, once you do that, you will be tempted to backtrack, to lay the blame for your ups and downs, your troubles and defeats at someone else’s door. But don’t become discouraged here – or misled. Temptation is something you hold in common with all people. And it too is something you must meet with whatever resources you have and be responsible for your response to it.In advance of a temptation you must make up your mind not to yield to it. Nevertheless, when temptation comes, you must reaffirm your previously made decision, and this will require a definite act of the will.Character is forged from encounters with life that tempt you to do wrong. The erring attraction is always present. Paul reminded the Corinthians: “Let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall” (1 Cor. 10:12).

Taking the way to escape is your choice, and God is always ready to help you make that choice. But you must remember that your decision on whether or not to yield comes in the face of a wrong action that is so seductive, so plausible, so pleasurable that it takes a conscious act of the will to reject it. The desire to do what you want to do, even though it is wrong, is very strong.

Jesus gave us a strange-sounding formula: “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for My sake will find it” (Matt. 16:24-25).

All men are tempted to please only themselves, but the pathway to inner peace is to lose yourself in God’s way, to follow Him and do His will at all costs. Inner peace comes to those who seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness (Matt. 6:33), to those who “pursue righteousness [and] godliness” (1 Tim. 6:11). To enjoy God’s peace, you must “pursue the things which make for peace” (Rom. 14:19).

How do you approach the God who can give you inner peace? “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Heb. 11:6). Also, “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Heb 11:1).

You must approach God by faith. You must trust Him fully, with your mind set on Him and His ways. “You [God] will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You. Trust in the Lord forever, for in Jehovah, the Lord, is everlasting strength” (Isa. 26:3-4).

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