Do you ever think about where our sins comes from? That's okay, most people don't. We all know that we sin, or at least we should know that we sin. And if you pay any attention in church, then you've heard more than once that "everybody sins." But what exactly does that mean? Simply put, it means that we all offend God. Now, if we were better acquainted with sin in all of its various forms, we would probably do a much better job at avoiding these sins. Unfortunately we seem to have only a limited understanding of sin.
If we tackled the entire subject of sin right now, you'd be sitting here for the next 3 days reading this post. For now, let's address one of the ways we fall into sin, and that's temptation. Yes temptation! It's one of the biggest culprits of sin. Think about it, you see someone attractive at the store or wherever, and your mind begins to wander with lustful thoughts, covetousness and inappropriate desires. You see something you want but can't have, maybe because you can't afford it or whatever the reason might be. Again, we begin to covet what we can't have. Perhaps jealousy and resentment come to mind because of the person who does have it. Somebody does or says something that you don't like at work, church, school, your kids dance class, baseball, etc. Next we're tempted by anger and the thoughts of talking bad about that person for what they've done. All of these things started with temptation.
The temptation to look at that cutie instead of keeping your eyes down. The temptation of wanting more and not being content with what you have. The temptation of making yourself feel better by bad mouthing, putting down and potentially hurting the reputation of that someone. These are very realistic scenarios in our lives. I'm quite sure you can relate to each one of these examples, and those are just three things off the top of my head. I can go on and on with the different ways temptation leads us in the direction of sin.
So, what are we going to do about it? The first thing we need to do, is admit that we fall into temptation and understand that it does lead to serious sin. Once you've come to terms with that, you'll recognize each instance as it presents itself and you'll be ready to counteract it.
When you come across someone you find attractive, how about looking away and saying to God, "Lord, as an act of reparation for my sins, I offer you the denial of looking at this person." This minuscule offering will be acceptable to God, and you may receive some pardon from the punishment that's due for your sins, not to mention receiving some graces. I know what you're thinking, What's the harm in looking at an attractive person? Well, maybe there isn't. But maybe the feelings of lust that can enter your heart and mind are doing damage to your soul. Padre Pio, even at a young age, was known to walk around with his eyes down. When asked about this he said, "I don't want to run the risk of falling into temptation by a pretty girl." I know many will say that's ridiculous and extreme, but I'm sure he went directly to Heaven; while you and I, if we're fortunate enough to be saved, will be going to purgatory for a very long time. I can assure you that the sufferings of purgatory are not worth the six seconds of pleasure you'll get from looking at some hottie.
We also need to be content with the things we have in our lives. The house you live in, the car you drive etc. Remember, you're exactly where God wants you. If He wanted you to have many things, He would have made you rich. By not being content with what you have, you're essentially saying to God, "you don't know what you're doing with me and I want to change it." I'm pretty sure our Lord will not take so kindly to that kind of rebuke.
Temptation is everywhere. We need to be aware of them and consistently on guard. It's so easy to fall into sin. Strengthening yourself against your weaknesses will help you fight those temptations. As you've heard, the devil never sleeps. He's aware of your weaknesses and he's going to work diligently at putting the things that tempt you right in front of your face. If you give into those temptations, aren't you kind of working in unison with the devil? Don't give him that kind of satisfaction. God will reward you a hundred fold for fighting through those temptations. If you truly want to serve God, be strong and don't give into them. The reward your soul will receive is greater than you could ever imagine.
Peace, good and blessings.