I have a confession to make. For years I’ve admired a particular perennial flower growing in the landscaping beds of a local store. These flowers flourish with little care, thriving in our local conditions, and I’ve looked for them in flower catalogs and local nurseries, without success. When taking a walk this morning my inner voice of temptation suggested that I should simply dig up one of the plants for my garden. “No one would miss it,” I reasoned. Fortunately, my better nature broke through, admonishing me with the words, “What if everybody did that?” The image of denuded planter beds from such vandalism erased all trace of temptation.
I realized how helpful it might be to pass all my actions through the same filter; what if everybody did the same thing I was considering?
“What would Jesus do?” is a valid question when considering our actions, but it can be all too easy to tell ourselves the Lord would do whatever we want to do in any given circumstance. How much more effective might it be to imagine everyone around us making the same choice we make?
Picturing the world flooded with acts of kindness, wisdom, and love encourages my better nature, while images of the chaos resulting from everyone giving in to selfish words and actions can be an effective tool in resisting such temptations.
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