Something a friend mentioned this last weekend sparked an idea in my head. The remark was about temptation. The idea was slightly more complex.
My immediate thought afterwards was a kind of, “What else is new?” reaction. Temptation isn’t new by any stretch and we all deal with it in one form or another. Depending on the situation, it can be of great concern, though. Then I thought about my own dance with temptation and remembered that sometimes living the life you want to live is much harder than other times.
I remember a passage from The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis. One of the ghosts in the story has a small dragon or lizard on his shoulder (I’d check exactly, but I’ve lent the book out to a friend). This creature represents the ghosts addictions while alive on earth and it is clear that the creature does not hold the best interests of its host at heart. Over the course of this ghost’s story, the offer to kill the creature comes to play. The pain and fear of resulting death impede the creature’s destruction at the hands of a being of light until a simple realization happens. Even death would be better than life with the creature. The being of light gives assurances that the ghost will not die (what a twist, a ghost afraid of death!) and the ghost agrees to be rid of the creature.
At this point, something marvelous happens. The creature, instead of dying, transforms into a bright horse that the ghost, now fully formed also as a being of light, rides in the glorious mountains of heaven.
It’s much more beautiful in the book than I write here. But it tells a simple lesson. Many of us live life thinking that our strengths and talents are that which give glory to God, whoever we claim faith in, or the universe at large. There’s no arguing that the beauty and goodness we are capable of certainly do give the Creator a good deal of credit.
The real deal, the brightest light in creation, comes from our weaknesses. On the one hand, they simply aren’t truly weaknesses. They are our shortcomings, but that matters little to to any higher power. Our weaknesses are just as much a means for the creation of something beautiful as our strengths. Our strength is the armor we put on each day. But in so putting on this armor, we also block the light that shines out from within. Our weaknesses are the chinks in the armor where things don’t quite fit together and the light within streams out in sharp beams.
Temptation is a hard thing. But it is a good thing. Temptations expose our weaknesses to us and show us the areas of our life where those chinks are waiting to be discovered. Temptations force us to confront our weaknesses, lay them bare, and open them to let the light shine all the better.