…Without temptations no one can be saved…
Much can be said about someone based on his reaction to temptation. Some murmur quietly, some judge the offender, some make a loud fuss, and some altogether become enraged and seek vengeance; rarely, some quietly, with tears thank God for correction, offer Him a heart that is broken and humbled, which He will not despise.
Yes, all of us are familiar with temptations: illness, betrayal, offence, undeserved – seemingly – accusations, various break downs… It is difficult to describe everything that can happen with us on life’s journey. St. Anthony the Great has the following words: “Everyone can steer the ship during good weather, a true seaman is revealed during the time of a storm.”
The tempests of temptations are a certain God’s x-ray, which reveals to us the passions hiding deep within our souls. If there were no temptations, we would have never found out how week and helpless we are without God. If there were no temptations, we would never come to know how far we are from perfection, to which we are called by God.
Once, I asked an acquaintance if he plays tennis. He told me that he never lost a match to anyone in his life, for which I admired him greatly… then he added that he never played… My admiration vanished without a trace.
Each temptation is a spiritual battle, a combat that shows us our true spiritual state. Winning, we obtain God’s grace and move forward to the next battle, yet even when we lose, we should not become despondent, our spirit should not be cast down. If a temptation should overcome us, let us not give the enemy any cause for joy and let us turn our failure into a weapon against him by sincere repentance and humility.
Much in our life depends on our attitude: if in at all times and in all things we thank the Lord, then no temptation will be able to crush our faith, but if we grumble and seek an easy life, if we wish to pass through the wide gates, then every – even the most minute and insignificant – temptation will be a torment for us. Therefore, let us thank the Lord for every temptation and let us protect our souls from all harm by humility and meekness. Being tempted, let us be discerning and let us not proudly seek temptations, because hotheaded imprudence never served anyone for good. In contrition of heart let us always remember the words of the Lord’s prayer: “…and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.” Amen.