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Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Temptation, Jesus and you.

I've been watching "Westworld" on HBO. It's caused me to think about temptation, because the stated premise is, "you can do ANYthing without consequence." The world is a pretend world, constructed of advanced, humanoid robots. They are so lifelike that you can "kill" them, you can have sex with them, you can beat them up, you can torture them. On the other side, you can help them, rescue them, bring justice to them.
The reason that this intrigues me so much is that it speaks exactly to who we are: What would you be like in a world without consequence for your actions? Westworld  exposes people for what they are. By removing all the consequences--because, after all, these are only robots, not real people you're killing, raping, using as punching bags, torturing--the world the writers have created speaks volumes to what people are really like. This concept relates back to what Jesus said: What you want determines who you really are. That's the point of passages like Matthew 5:20-48, where the desire is judged as the deed. Your anger is like murder; your lust is like adultery; and so on. We are all exposed by circumstances where we think we can "get away with it," because after all, there are no consequences for our thoughts, right? Just so, the writers of Westworld have created a fake world where the thought and desire can become the deed and never be punished. 

This relates to the temptations Jesus suffered. When Satan came to tempt Him, there was no corresponding desire in Jesus. When we are tempted, we are "drawn aside by our own desires, and enticed." On the other hand, Jesus was entirely empty of any desire to do evil. He was also empty of any desire that would bring Him to reject God's will--in fact, His desires were just the same as His Father's. Satan tempted Him with his physical needs; with His desire to be seen; with His desire to be King--but Jesus was empty of any desire that would move Him away from God. "Not My will", He said, "but Yours" (referring to God).
This is the great difference between Him and us; we have to pray, "Create in me a clean heart, O God;" Jesus always has had a clean heart. As we look at Jesus' temptations a bit more specifically in the next few posts, remember this: God looks at all of us, and asks the question, "What would this person be like if there were no consequences for their actions?" That’s  what God looks at: what's inside our hearts and souls. The thing is, He knows. It will all be factored in on Judgment Day. It's true, God judges us for our works, but the thoughts and intents of our hearts will also be part of the Judgment. He "judges the secrets of mankind."
The good news is that God has given us a path to clean hearts that are in tune with Him. Just as David prayed, "Create in me a clean heart, O God," we can do the same. And He will.

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