In the 1956 novel "101 Dalmatians," which Disney popularized in animated and live films and a video game, which eventually became a stage musical, and which has ultimately inspired millions, the heroic challenge is against evil people who kidnap Dalmatian puppies.
The story is turned around 180 degrees in our lives. Our lives could be titled: 101 temptations. Our heroic challenge each and every day is against the 101 temptations which attempt to kidnap us and substitute 101 other possibilities in place of genuine deep down honest-to-goodness fullness of life.
In the King James translation of the Bible the Lord's Prayer ends: "And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen." (Matthew 6:13)
Jesus certainly knew God doesn't lead anyone into temptation, and his actual words were probably something like "Father, you lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil." The main point, however, is that Jesus totally understood it is temptations that cause our missing out and falling short. Jesus tells us there is so much more available, provided we were not constantly creating temptations and going along with them.
Jesus continues: "Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it." (Matthew 7:14) Was this an ancient Aramaic way of hinting that the first step in achieving life in magnificent fullness is choosing to recognize and say "no" to temptations?
Jesus knew about temptation. "Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil." (Matthew 4:1) Of course "the devil" in modern language is "human ego."
In his modern day revelation, A Course in Miracles, Jesus states: "What is temptation but a wish to make the wrong decision on what you would learn, and have an outcome which you do not want? You are deceived if you believe you want disaster and disunity and pain. Hear not the call for this within yourself." (Text Chap. 31)
We have understood some temptations most of our lives, those big bad temptations which parents and spiritual leaders are always warning us about. But the vast majority of temptations of the ego are small pleasures which the ego tells us are harmless bringers of a bit of happiness (as if happiness needs a trigger outside ourselves), but which are really devices to sidetrack us from the much, much deeper and much more vibrant experience Jesus wants for us. Think sweets and meats and greener grass for our feet. Even cute little Dalmatian puppies could be a temptation of the ego, right?
The human ego is always heard first in our minds, and quite loudly. Yet Jesus tells us the first surface voices heard, the ego's temptations, ultimately offer nothing:
"The fact that you do listen to the voice of your ego is demonstrated by your attitudes, your feelings, and your behavior. Your attitudes are obviously conflicted; your feelings have a narrow range on the negative side, but are never purely joyous; and your behavior is either strained or unpredictable. Yet this is what you want. This is what you are fighting to keep, and what you are vigilant to save. Watch your minds for the temptations of the ego, and do not be deceived by it. Know it offers you nothing." (Text Chap. 4)
Notice Jesus recognizes clearly that if we listen to temptations of the ego ... we are never purely joyous. In his modern course, Jesus continually points out that the pleasures the ego offers in this world are always temporary, never 100% fulfilling, and always followed by some form of hangover.
In the Bible, Jesus shows us by example how to handle the ego: "Get thee hence, Satan!" (Matthew 4:10)
Meaningfully willing away the ego usually begins with a dedication to listening inside to the voice of our holy spirit and following the guidance of our holy spirit rather than the ego's guidance. In A Course in Miracles, Jesus points us in this direction right away on page one:
"All miracles mean Life, and God is the giver of the Life. He will direct you very specifically."
"Very specifically" means throughout our day, constantly, we are divinely guided as to what to say and not say, what to do and not do, where to go and not go ... even how to think. Which means the ego is substantially ignored and therefore seriously hindered in its goal of sabotaging our happiness.
But then later on in his course Jesus takes us much deeper and urges us toward completion. He reminds us we are spiritual beings ... and the fullness of life, the fullness of joy and love and peace, is already ours when we turn our attention and focus altogether away from the ego:
"'I am as God created me.' Today we continue with the one idea which brings complete salvation; the one statement which makes all forms of temptation powerless; the one thought which renders the ego silent and entirely undone. You are as God created you. The sounds of this world are still, the sights of this world disappear, and all the thoughts that this world ever held are wiped away forever by this one idea. Here is salvation accomplished. Here is sanity restored." (Lesson 94)
Wouldn't it be wonderful if Disney produced a film which really teaches this lesson? A story of someone who neutralizes all the would-be kidnappers of the soul's complete redemption? Imagine the announcement: "And the winner for Best Original Screenplay ... the winner is Disney's ... 101 Temptations."
Hearing such an announcement, angels in heaven would giggle. A win for the film 101 Temptations would probably mean in the lives of so many souls ... 101 temptations losing.
Each month our Holy Spirit gives a message of prophetic revelation which helps individuals open spiritually and understand Jesus' teaching.
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"...nor will people say, 'Here it is,' or 'There it is,' because the kingdom of God is within you. (Luke 17:21)
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