Resisting Temptation

Temptation of Jesus in the Desert by William Hole. Public Domain

Matthew 4:1 (NRSV)
Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.

James 1:12-16 (NRSV)
Blessed is anyone who endures temptation. Such a one has stood the test and will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him. No one, when tempted, should say, “I am being tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil and he himself tempts no one. But one is tempted by one’s own desire, being lured and enticed by it; then, when that desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin, and that sin, when it is fully grown, gives birth to death. Do not be deceived, my beloved.

Let the enemy rage at the gate,
let him knock, let him push, let him cry, let him howl, let him do worse;
we know for certain that he cannot enter save by the door of our consent.
– Francis de Sales

Temptation is the devil looking through the keyhole.
Yielding is opening the door and inviting him in.
– Billy Sunday

Everybody is tempted. It is a myth that says you’re going to get to a point in your spiritual life where you’re not tempted. In fact, the more mature you become, the more Satan is going to put you on his “most wanted” list. If we were more consistent in confessing our temptations, we wouldn’t have to confess our sins. Rick Warren

It is a mark of the evil spirit to take on the appearance of an angel of light. He begins by whispering thoughts that are suited to a devout soul, and ends by suggesting his own.
-Ignatius Loyola

Every life is a march from innocence, through temptation, to virtue or vice.
-Lyman Abbott

Every conquering temptation represents a new fund of moral energy. Every trial endured and weathered in the right spirit makes a soul nobler and stronger than it was before. -William Butler Yeats

Temptation is like a knife, that may either cut the meat or the throat of a man;
it may be his food or his poison, his exercise or his destruction. – John Owen

There is no greater victory of evil than the reaction of guilt and despair which it arouses in those who have committed a sin, or of fear, anger and hate in those who have been wronged. Conversely, there is no greater victory over evil than to refuse to give in to these feelings, to refuse to act on them, to harbour them or justify them. We defeat evil – in ourselves, in others or in the world – when we refuse to react to it with more evil, but respond to it with repentance, forgiveness and love.
-Irma Zaleski, The Way of Repentance

We usually know what we can do,
but temptation shows us who we are.
-Thomas Kempis

1 Corinthians 10:13 (NLT)
But remember that the temptations that come into your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will keep the temptation from becoming so strong that you can’t stand up against it. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you will not give in to it.

1 Peter 5:8-10 (NRSV)
Discipline yourselves, keep alert. Like a roaring lion your adversary the devil prowls around, looking for someone to devour. Resist him, steadfast in your faith, for you know that your brothers and sisters in all the world are undergoing the same kinds of suffering. And after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, support, strengthen, and establish you.

Jesus went to the wilderness – a place of wild beasts and demons; of roaming, tormented spirits; the dangerous meeting place of God and frail human beings; the strange abode of ministering angels. Here the devil prowls like a roaring lion seeking souls to devour. In Lent, Christians are called again to the soul’s desert, but without John the Baptist for an advent guide. Rather, as John of the Cross wrote, we go forth with no other light or guide than the one burning in my heart.
Suzanne Guthrie, Until an Opportune Time

I saw all the devil’s traps set upon the earth,
and I groaned and said, “Who do you think can pass through them?”
And I heard a voice saying, “Humility.” -Anthony the Great

Psalm 31:1-5 (NRSV)
In you, O Lord, I seek refuge; do not let me ever be put to shame; in your righteousness deliver me. Incline your ear to me; rescue me speedily. Be a rock of refuge for me, a strong fortress to save me. You are indeed my rock and my fortress; for your name’s sake lead me and guide me, take me out of the net that is hidden for me, for you are my refuge. Into your hand I commit my spirit; you have redeemed me, O Lord, faithful God.

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