Lead us not into temptation

Published 7:00 am Saturday, September 12, 2015

There have been innumerable discussions and discourses about our earthly temptations and the effect they have upon our Christian lives. In these efforts, there is ample evidence many people believe they are the only ones who are tempted, or have ever been tempted, in the peculiar manner they describe.

From Saint Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians: “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”

While each temptation is personal, and our accountability for it is ours alone, it is not at all unique in the life of Christianity, throughout the world and throughout time. Everyone, again everyone, will be and is, tempted every day and in every way. Just because we fail to recognize it, or ignore it, does not mean that it does not happen.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

God’s gift of a free will makes all the difference in this our world. If we believe that we have no choice, we are wrong. We always have a choice, even if we do not like the options set before us. Indeed, if we call upon the Holy Ghost to give us His strength, then there is no temptation we cannot resist, and no trial we cannot endure.

The great solution, to having temptations, is there is always a way to escape from them, the easiest of which is simply not entering into situations where we will be tempted. After all, we do not tell a recovering alcoholic to go into a bar to test his will to resist. Clearly, avoidance is the easiest manner to escape temptations.

We escape temptations when we recognize they are coming, by just staying away from them. Yet, sometimes we are surprised by temptations asthey break upon us, with their full force. Here is when we must call upon God Himself, through the power of the Holy Ghost, to aid us in thispredicament. When we call upon Him and stand in Him, we will again never fall for Satan’s traps.

Through all of this we know temptations are bearable. However, we must be careful in trying to gauge our ability to resist temptations. If we tryonly our own resistance, in our own manner, without God, then it is just another way for the evil one to subvert us, through pride if we succeed, or outright sin if we do not. Let us remember that it is possible to resist temptation through the power of the Holy Ghost and we will not die so long as it is only temptation that we resist.

The line between temptation and sin occurs both in both our minds and our hearts. If we dwell on the temptation, instead of pushing it away from our minds, and bodies, we have still fallen into the devil’s trap. It is as Jesus said in the Fifth Chapter of the Gospel of Matthew, “That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.” These are the lines we must not cross, not lines others can see, but the lines in our own minds and hearts, between innocence and guilt.

By Fr. Jonathan Filkins