Temptations are meant to be used as a tool… so saddle up

The Gospel for the First Sunday of Lent is the temptation of Christ in the desert. You have heard the story many times, and in case you have ever wondered, yes, Christ was really actually tempted. He was fully human, and experienced everything it means to be truly human (except sin; remember that sin is not part of our true nature, only our fallen nature). There is no sin in temptation. On the contrary, every temptation is an opportunity toward holiness. Vanquishing temptations is how we grow in sanctity.

The profundity of this comes to rest in the dichotomy between “Where sin abounded, grace did more abound,” (Rom 5:20) and “Lead us not into temptation,” (Matt 6:13, Luke 11:4). God never tempts us, in terms of enticement to evil. Only Satan does that. But God does allow temptation, obviously, in the form of trials. So while every temptation is intended to be an opportunity for greater holiness, it can also be an occasion for failure. Pretty high risk/reward dynamic going on here. But you have a rather healthy arsenal and delivery system at your disposal; the Creator of the Universe is at the ready to be unleashed with full fury. It’s your choice whether that fury be used to your benefit in persevering unto salvation, or be it used against you in His perfect justice. You’re not going to have any excuses at your Particular Judgement. Start practicing now.

Satan seeks an entry point. You’d better have your armor and armaments in place, or you are already toast. He attacks the weakest part of the fortress. He knows what he is doing. But God is in control, and God will never, ever, allow any more than you can handle. However strong the temptation, His grace is sufficient for you (2 Cor 12:9). Go to Him; wield that grace. Attack the temptation, not the demon. Every victory you secure is a reflection of Christ’s victory over death, and is indeed a type of participation in the Crucifixion and Resurrection.

How cool is that?

We are at war, my friends. Wishing it were otherwise isn’t going to make it go away. Mind your bearing. Head on a swivel. Stay confessed, wield that grace, and fight.

4 thoughts on “Temptations are meant to be used as a tool… so saddle up

  1. “Attack the temptation, not the demon”. Never heard it put that way. Thank you, very helpful.

      1. What I do is I let the Church Triumphant attack the demon while I lay my hope in Him. (But you’re right, proper exorcisms should be left to the bishop and exorcists).

  2. It’s also helpful to know when one needs to retire from the front lines once in awhile. I think the best warriors sometimes are subtly tempted to think they are indispensable and stay on the battlefield too long. The wise warrior knows when to retire for refreshment and rest.

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