BLOG for Youth & Teens. Temptations are detours on your road to true happiness.
“Don’t give up what you want most, for what you want now.”
“Short cuts make long delays.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring
“All people have an original mind which inclines them to reject evil and pursue goodness. Yet, even without our being aware of it, we are driven by evil forces to abandon the goodness which our original mind desires and to perform evil deeds which, in our innermost heart, we do not want to do.”
- Divine Principle Chapter 2, page 53
“He said to them, “When you pray, say: “‘Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread. Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us. And lead us not into temptation.”
- Luke 11:2-4
"Big sins almost always start with small compromises. Playing footsie with sexual temptation is never worth it."
“Yesterday's shortcuts are today's nightmares. The race is quicker when we're stricter. Keep your eyes on today, and declare what you may.”
― Mark O'Brien
“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.”
- 1 Corinthians 10:13
An act or the result of an act is considered good when it fulfills God's purpose of creation. This takes place when a subject partner and object partner unite through the harmonious and spirited give and take of love and beauty, become the third object partner to God, and form the four position foundation. On the other hand, an act or its result is called evil when it violates God's purpose of creation by forming a four position foundation under the dominion of Satan.
- Divine Principle 4.3.2
You talked your mom into giving you some money for new jeans and she drops you off at the mall. “Call when you’re done.” she says. So you start walking around the mall looking for the right store to start in, but suddenly you are pulled away by cinnabons. You enjoy them in the food court while sipping on an iced coffee. You finish up and start heading for the store again when you see the new VR games station, just a game or two, then I’ll get back to the jeans. You put down the headset and notice a sale at your favorite store, it’d be a sin to pass up such great deals.
You check out and look at your phone, 6 messages from mom, “Are you done yet?” Suddenly you realize you’ve already been there for four hours, you're out of time. Your mom is waiting outside to pick you up, she asks you “Did you get that pair of jeans you needed?” You sheepishly say no, you got distracted. She says “But you were there for four hours.”
This is what a temptation is, a distraction. It’s not always “evil”or inherently bad in and of itself but it pulls you away from your intentions, goals and responsibilities.
You have a great destiny. A great story is being written right now by the life you walk. Each day a new page is written, the years you live are the chapters of this epic narrative.
When God made you He infused a part of His own heart, this heart beats inside of you right now. God has plans for your good and hopes for what you are becoming.
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
- Jeremiah 29:11
Each one of us has freedom to choose our actions. Some choices lead to freedom and fulfilling this great dream. Some choices throw us off track and can make it more difficult to come to our final destination.
What does the completion of your story look like? “And they lived happily ever after”, of course. You are created to grow in love, to find someone to love, to give them your heart and build a love that lasts. You are destined to have a true love that brings out the best in you and helps you become your best self. You are meant to live a joyful life filled with love.
On that journey there will come distractions and obstacles. There will be forces that knock you off track from time to time, there will be paths that look appealing that will come to dead ends forcing you to back track. There will be short lived joys that leave you hurting. There will be times when "friends" let you down and times when you let others or even yourself down. There will be steps you take that you wish you could take back.
Life is an adventure but remember that there is also a destination. Every action you take and every thing you experience is guiding you to that ultimate destination. That ultimate destination God is bringing you to is a life of True Love.
Distractions, obstacles and temptations lure you away from your path of true love. There is a clear path that requires work and dedication and if you stay the course you will end up at the destination of a life of True Love. But the path is long and there are shiny things that call out to you. There are shortcuts that might seem so easy, fun or desirable that could create detours on your path, preventing you from reaching your ultimate goals.
Temptations are “shortcuts” to happiness that lead us to separate from God’s hopes for us. They fill us with an short-lived, superficial happiness that may be gone in an instant. Lasting happiness is found when we are doing things we love with people we love. There is no way to imitate love but sometimes we try because it seems easier or we think it will bring us happiness.
Some examples of temptations:
Cheating- School can be tough. Not every subject you engage in you will excel at. You know you want to get good grades so you can go to a good college. Cheating seems like a good way to pass a test, but it is stealing from your chance to challenge yourself and learn something that can be useful in your long term academic and real world career.
Alcohol and Drugs- The chemicals alter our state of mind giving the illusion of happiness. In a “high” state we are able to numb ourselves to our disappointments and pain. We can suspend reality for a little while. It may seem like a good idea to sedate our emotions, but in the morning we will awake to the same emptiness.
Pornography- These images and videos give us excitement. Who needs to wait for marriage when you can just look at naked women? But when your climax wears off you are left alone again, without the emotional satisfaction and spiritual connection that comes with sex with you spouse.
Immature Relationships- Dating, chilling or hooking up with people before we are ready for the weight and responsibility of a conjugal relationship can look like an easy way to test out the waters. Having someone to act romantic with can be fun, but when we are not mature enough to handle the emotional hurdles of a relationship we can seriously hurt ourselves and others. Not to mention the physical consequences such as contracting sexually transmitted diseases or having an unplanned pregnancy.
Popularity- You want to be liked, it’s natural. You want friends to hang out with, you want friends to make memories with. You want to know that you are appreciated, that people think you’re a pretty cool person. Sometimes to fit in, you feel the need to compromise your values. Sometimes you feel like to be accepted you need to do what the crowd does, say what the other kids say, or dress like others. These little gimmicks might create the appearance of acceptance, or being cool. But you lose the uniqueness and the real value of yourself by hiding your thoughts, your style, your voice. You will find that if people only accept you for what you pretend to be they will also walk away from you the moment you don’t please them anymore. Instead, find out who YOU are and be yourself wherever you go.
“Strong brands are not built through shortcuts and copycats”
― Bernard Kelvin Clive
Not only do these temptations or “shortcuts” not work, they also take away our time and energy from real progression as human beings.
Our course as people, is to grow, to work, to learn, to practice and become mature, fully awesome people. When we walk down a shortcut we eventually come to a deadend or go around in circles never getting anywhere. If we want to move forward then, we need to backtrack, come to the place we diverted from and start working again down the original path. It seems tedious and it is.
Sometimes these temptations lead us into painful situations. Drug abuse can damage your brain and body, sometimes in ways that cannot fully be restored. It can even cause you to make poor decisions that could affect the rest of your life. Or create habits that turn into addictions and are hard to get out of. Some “relationships'' can leave you with emotional scarring making it difficult to create a trusting relationship in the future. Sometimes an “innocent” relationship can get out of hand, where you find yourself compromising your physical boundaries or worse being used for someone else's gratification and discarded when they don’t “need” you anymore. Pornography leaves people with unhealthy and unrealistic expectations of what sex is. It can lead you to have trouble having real sex with your future spouse. The pursuit of popularity can leave you feeling like you don’t know the “real” you anymore.
While there can be some healing for these mistakes, the journey to become whole again can be painful and drawn out. It may require drastic changes in your lifestyle, therapy or even time consuming rehabilitation.
So, how can you avoid these “shortcuts”?
Determine your values. Take time to write down what is important to you. Who and what makes you truly happy? Look at characteristics that you appreciate in other people. Talk to your parents and other people that you respect about what values have helped them in life. When you are clear on your values it can be easier to live by them. People respect those who are secure in their own identity. So go and find your personal WHY.
Remember that God has a plan for you. God wants you to be happy, he just wants to make sure it’s in the right timing. Try to study about God’s plan for your life, pray about it, meditate on it, visualize that place of true happiness. What does it feel like to be truly loved? What does it look like to live out that dream?
Avoid people and places that are making choices that don’t line up with your values. You can see people's actions lead to different outcomes. You can determine the value of someone’s choices based on the fruits of their actions. Some of your “friends” are living in a way that is destructive to themselves. Sometimes it is best to cut away from people that are living in a harmful way so that you don’t find yourself in situations of compromise. It may be hard at first but in time you will find a new group of friends that share similar values and you will be so much happier and fulfilled.
If you have found yourself down one of these dead ends don’t worry, you can always take back your life, sometimes it will just take longer.
“The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”
- 2 Peter 3:9
God and your parents are there to help you regain your footing. They understand that you may stumble as you learn to stand on your own two feet. By confiding in them, they can help you pick yourself back up and correct your mistakes.
Acknowledge your shortcomings- Come to God, state the problem, what you did, ask for clarity and strength to move on. Ask God to help restore you, alleviate your pain and guilt and start anew. Bring your parents in as well, they are there to help you grow and navigate the challenges of growing up.
Identify the cause- was it loneliness, was it anger, was it boredom? Where did these feelings come from? The more clearly you can understand the triggers for your actions, the better control you can have over your life. Don’t let life happen to you.
Separate from Triggers- When possible, disassociate with the people and activities that trigger you. This may mean getting a new after school job, avoiding certain friend groups or websites that have tempted you in the past.
Create new pathways- Determine how you want to deal with emotions in the future. Make a plan, draw out the map so you can be prepared. This is your life, you are not controlled by your past or someone else, you can determine your future.
Every person will encounter some temptation or distraction in their life. There is no fool-proof way to live your life.
Every person who ever lived has been confronted with challenges to their core beliefs.
Some people are overcome by these distractions and live a limited life, dictated by the whims of the present.
Others overcome the instant pull of temptations and achieve greatness. These individuals learn to take control of their lives, pick up the pen and write their own stories.
It will take practice but I believe you can be a person of greatness. I believe you can be someone that makes the most of this life and lives out a purpose you can be proud of. Always remember that throughout the journey, God is there for every step, call out to Him in time of need and He will be there to guide your steps.
God help me know that I am good enough.
Help me say no to the things that hurt me.
Help me discern good and bad choices for my life.
Help me to know that you have a plan for me and that it is worth waiting for and working towards.
Give me strength to both know and come back to my original purpose when I stray.
Help me to be honest with myself, others and those that love me most.
Forgive me and help me forgive myself for my missteps.
Help me see myself and others as you see us.
Pick up a pen and write your story. Who are you now and who do you want to become? What do you look forward to?
Draw a picture of things that make you feel happy, fulfilled, loved, safe. Stick it on your mirror or another place, as a positive self reminder when you need a little boost.
Write a prayer to God. Sometimes writing comes easier than talking.