A Message from Pastor Craig

Growing up in Costa Rica, I did not grow up with any Halloween traditions. I remember dressing up once or twice when I was little – it seemed more fun for my parents and more torturous to me – I don’t remember what the costume was, I just know it didn’t make sense to me at the time. And again, when we moved abroad, the tradition never really registered.

Coming back to the States I have had mixed reactions to the holiday, sometimes as a parent, sometimes as a pastor, but right now, as an adult male. You see, as a kid, you go and you try to collect as much candy as possible. You grow the stash as high as possible. And you try to keep it from your parents, who you just know steal from your stash. You suspect that it’s because they don’t want you to have all the sugar, but you wonder if Dad isn’t just consuming it. But anyway, eating the candy is of great delight, and of no consequence physically.

But now? Now the left-over stash from the trick-or-treaters that didn’t show up is a real problem. Even if you managed the amounts well at home (which we didn’t), a stash will still appear in the office, where some co-worker or another brings their leftovers to lead the rest of us into temptation.

That’s what the Snickers down the hall are – a basket-full of temptation. I don’t eat that much candy, I shouldn’t eat ANY. The
physical implications of the candy debauchery are much more evident as an adult as they were when I was a kid. I know, Snickers told us over and over “you’re not you when you’re hungry.” And those ads were funny.  Truly good comedic stuff. But I’m not me
AFTER I eat a Snickers.  I become more of me.

The Lord’s Prayer says “Lead us not into temptation.” We don’t want to fall into temptation, just like I don’t want to consume
another one of those Snickers bars. But it’s hard. My Dad, a seminary trained theologian, had us pray that line of the Lord’s prayer as “Let us not be led into temptation.” Theologically that version makes sense – God does not lead us into temptation. The devil does. Or we ourselves do. Or whoever it was that put that dreaded basket on the table down the hall!

Ultimately, the resistance to temptation is an act of the will though. I cannot ask God’s help in that, regardless of how you interpret the phrase, if I don’t intend to resist the urge myself. Asking God to not lead us into temptation is to ask God for strength as we
exercise our wills against whatever the temptations are that lie before us. The prayer, all of the Lord’s Prayer really, is a recognition of my dependence on God. In all aspects of my life. Including the Snickers down the hall.

Trying to walk past them,

Craig

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