Updated: Oct 5
Temptations are a very necessary and potentially useful thing in our lives. Temptation helps us to know ourselves. God permits us to be assailed by many temptations throughout our lives. Of course we would gladly be released from them if we could, but God in His infinite wisdom, knows that without subjecting us to temptation, we would never realize that we are totally reliant on Him to get through our lives.
A perfect example is St. Peter, who one moment assured our Lord that he would "never be scandalized in Thee." But our Lord, as a lesson to Peter and the rest of us, allowed him to fall into temptation, and boy did he fall! At one moment he was willing to "die for our Lord" and then the next he was denying that he knew Him. He even swore to it! Now if this man, who spent three years with Jesus, witnessed His miracles and listened to His amazing teachings first hand, could fall into temptation and deny Him, what will become of us? This is what happens when God chooses to leave us on our own for a while.
So what's happening when temptation comes upon us? Well, God allows the devil to come to us and present us with a situation that can separate us from God. This can come in many different forms. Remember, the devil is extremely cunning, and he knows you're weaknesses. So whatever your weaknesses may be, you'll find them enticing you. It may be the flesh, the desires of the eye. Perhaps it's drinking or drugs. It may just be the various pleasures of the world that distract us from God in our daily lives. Whatever they are, the devil will put them right in front of your face in the hopes of getting you to stray away from God.
Now, if you think for one second that you can stand alone and fight off these attacks from the devil, you are sadly mistaken. These are the precise times we need God the most. It's the time when you need to fly to Jesus in prayer and beg His assistance and strength. When you find yourself in grave temptation, turn to our Blessed Mother and implore her prayers to her son for you. Get on your knees and beseech the saints to come to your aid. The devil and his allures are too powerful, you cannot win this battle alone.
Understand that your greatest obstacle in receiving heavenly assistance, is your hesitation to prayer. When you think you can deal with it alone, or you turn to the world for consultation, you're suggesting to God that He doesn't have what it takes to make this temptation go away. I'm pretty sure that He will not take to kindly to that way of thinking.
So, you may be thinking that the worldly corrupt are the ones who are tempted most. Wrong! On the contrary, those people are seldom tempted. There's no reason for the devil to tempt someone he already holds secure. It's the ones who are trying to detach from the world and live a life serving God that he tempts the most. It's your soul he's after! He already has the drunkard, the drug addict, the fornicator, the blasphemer, the lazy, the angry, etc. The devil actually aids those people in their lives, because he wants them to live a long and corruptible life. The longer they live, the more bad example they'll give to the rest of us. That's exactly what the devil wants. He's hoping that you'll follow those corrupt examples and slowly begin to stray away from the road that leads to eternal salvation.
With every temptation comes the opportunity to persevere through it. Sometimes, the greatest way God shows His love for us, is by allowing a potentially grave temptation to befall us. To turn to God in prayer. To bare the temptation patiently and silently, will give your soul tremendous merit. God will be thoroughly pleased with you and He will continue to shower His graces upon you.
So be attentive. Be aware of temptation and understand that even if it seems minute, it has the potential of doing harm to your soul. Think of each temptation as an opportunity at a victory over the devil. Each temptation can be a stepping stone to God. You will always have some temptation to fight through as long as you live on this earth, so you might as well use them productively in the salvation of your soul.
Temptation is a very necessary thing for us. It keeps us humble and makes us realize that we're totally reliant on God. Fight fearlessly through these temptations. Trust in God that He will give you the strength to fight through and conquer each instance of temptation. Don't be sad when you realize that you're once again being tempted. It's when the temptations stop that you should be worried. If there's no temptations, you may find that you've given into the devil in some way. Be thankful that God is still there offering you yet another opportunity to earn your way to Heaven.
Peace, good and blessings.