Caving to temptation makes you a happier person than resisting it. Break a few rules. Throw caution to the wind. Quit being Mr. Goody-two-shoes.
That new taste of your coworker’s lips is sweeter than your spouse’s ever was.
That juicy morsel of slander about your enemy was an orgasm of the taste buds.
We lick our lips and smile that knowing smile. Ah, sweet satisfaction.
It feels so good to be so bad. “Yes, lead us into temptation.”
There’s a delicious freedom to wrongdoing. It taps a primal desire within us for rebellion. We feel liberated, unshackled by demands to be this way, do this, avoid that. We become masters of our own destiny.
Slaves to Our Bellies and Bravado
But when we’ve finally burned all the flags of those who seek to suppress us, when we’ve snubbed our noses at every rule and law, when we’ve acted on what we think is best for us—God and others be damned—what happens?
We open our eyes to see that we’re safe, alright, safe in the freedom of our own prisons. We’ve poured the concrete, welded the bars, and locked ourselves inside the penitentiary of impenitence.
While we thought we were becoming masters of our own destiny, we were really reducing ourselves to slaves of our bellies, bravado, genitals, and ego.
Welcome to the fake freedom of evil.
Freedom in the Water
If I throw a fish onto dry land and say, “Now you’re free of those restrictive waters!” what have I done? Have I liberated the fish? No, I’ve killed it. I’ve removed it from the only place where it has life. The fish’s freedom is found only in that place where God created it to be. Put it outside those bounds and the only liberation it will experience is death.
Temptation is nothing more than the devil’s attempt to lure us onto dry ground.
True freedom, along with happiness, is found only in the waters where God created us to swim. The waters of self-giving love. The waters of fidelity, courage, sacrifice, faith and hope. The waters where we stick by our husband or wife, care for our children, love our neighbors, and pray for our enemies. The waters of baptism where faith is given and love is lived.
Liberation is found in a life defined by God not redefined by us.
The work of Jesus in our lives is basically this: throwing us back into the fountain of life. We flop out onto dry land in search of “happiness”, “fulfillment,” or some other empty promise and lie there baking in the sun. Jesus comes along, picks us up, and tosses us back into the water with a loving, forgiving hand.
Jesus keeps us swimming in the waters of our Father. He shows us a deeper satisfaction in life: the joy of being what God created us to be. Finding in him and him alone what we’re all searching for. Bringing our restless souls to rest in him.
So when we pray to our Father, “Lead us not into temptation,” what we’re really asking is this: “Lead us into the waters of life, flooded with divine love, in which we find in you rest and peace and joy without end.”