“What people think of me” is a very powerful motivator. It is still shaping us more than we’d like to admit. It shapes our theology, our politics, our values.
Do any of us go through one entire day being utterly true no matter how many different environments we move through? Do you even know the true you? Is there a true you? Whether it is born of fear or longing or uncertainty or cunning or wickedness, it is so natural for us to shape ourselves according to the moment we scarcely notice how much we do it. Now, toss in the promise of reward—wealth, power, success, the adoration of others—and boy, oh boy, is it hard to be true.
Only when you have taken an honest look inside yourself, and seen what really fuels the things you do, will you appreciate how utterly remarkable it is to be true. And how utterly desirable. We are given the story of Jesus’ wilderness trial to help us understand that Jesus has been tried—and proven true. Remember now, Jesus wasn’t cheating; it was a genuine test of his character, so profoundly terrible, to be seduced by the evil one himself, that Jesus needed angels to minister to him afterward.
We typically think of integrity as the ability to resist temptation by resolve. And that’s a good thing; self-discipline is a good thing. But there is another level of integrity, the kind where you don’t even want the seduction that is being presented to you. Goodness runs so deep, so pervasive through your character and your being that you don’t even want it. We respect the man who is able to reject sexual temptation. But how much more the man whose soul is such that he does not want any woman but the woman he loves and is married to.