Plain Talk about Temptation

Artwork for James: Hands-On Christianity

In his profound work, Temptation, Dietrich Bonhoeffer vividly portrays with his pen the battleground of our experience. We can all identify with this scene:

In our members there is a slumbering inclination towards desire which is both sudden and fierce. With irresistible power, desire seizes mastery over the flesh. All at once a secret, smouldering fire is kindled. The flesh burns and is in flames. It makes no difference whether it is sexual desire or ambition or vanity or desire for revenge or love of fame and power or greed for money…At this moment God is quite unreal to us. He loses all reality, and only desire for the creature is real…The powers of clear discrimination and of decision are taken from us.

In this message, we face the problem Bonhoeffer describes and, hopefully, discover some workable techniques that will enable us to walk in victory in spite of the enticements to yield.