August 8, 2017
GOD tempteth no man (Jas. i. 13); He simply permits man to be tempted. It is the devil who hammers at you when you are tempted. “Our wrestling is against the spirits of wickedness in high places ” (Eph. vi. 12). On earth we are surrounded by robbers; many of us are overcome and wounded by them.
The conflict with the spirit of evil is a more critical struggle; it is carried on covertly, and against a more powerful adversary–one who spares no pains and knows no shame; who, when he is repulsed, returns all the more defiantly to the attack. For six thousand years he has tempted mankind; such long practice has made him perfect. He excites within us concupiscence of the flesh, or concupiscence of the eyes, or the pride of life (1 John ii. 16). In this threefold manner he tempted Our Lord. Many temptations come upon a man through no fault of his own (witness Job); some are the result of culpable negligence (witness Eve). The evil enemy as a rule attacks our weak point, our affection for creatures. Like a fowler, he attracts the birds to his net by offering them the food they like best. Physical infirmities give the devil more power over us; everyone knows how apt the sick are to be fretful, impatient and exacting. The devil sets to work craftily. He transforms himself into an angel of light (2 Cor. xi. 14); that is, he deceives us by assuming an appearance of candor and piety. His artifices prove his weakness; he would not resort to them were he powerful enough to do without them.
Temptation is not in itself sinful, only acquiescence in the suggestions of the tempter is sin. Hence we ought not to be alarmed and uneasy when we feel the incentive to sin, but we should trust in God’s help, saying: “O Lord, make haste to help me! Jesus and Mary be my help!” To tremble in the hour of temptation betrays a want of confidence in the divine assistance; the devil will assail the fearful soul only the more fiercely. Unless we remain calm, we cannot possibly conquer. Those who lose their composure are like a bird caught in the net; the more it flutters and tries to escape, the more it becomes entangled in the meshes. Our Lord promises us: “In your patience you shall possess your souls” (Luke xxi. 19). The good Christian is like a soldier, who as a rule rejoices when war breaks out, in the prospect of gaining rich booty.
2. God allows us to be tempted out of mercy, for the good of our souls. As the schoolmaster examines his scholars in order to give them a good testimonial, so God deals with the souls of men; He allows us to be tried by temptation to give us the opportunity of manifesting our loyalty to Him, and acquiring a claim to the recompense He promises us. Thus He has only our welfare in view. The tempter however, the evil enemy, means no good to us; he aims at our ruin, as the history of Job testifies. Temptations may therefore be said to be a mark of the divine favor.
Posted by Laura Wood in Uncategorized