My Dad used to always say “Take care of the nickels and the dimes will take care of themselves.” Of course this was back in the days when we could actually measure things by nickels and dimes. what he was really saying, was take care of the small things and they won’t turn into big things.
This goes to temptation as well. It”s funny how good advice is always good advice no matter how long ago it was said. My Dad has been gone a long time now, and when he used to tell me that was even longer, maybe 30 or more years ago, but it still holds true today. Another person who used to say something similar said it even longer ago than that.
St. Francis De Sales said it in the late fifteenth, early sixteenth century when he wrote “An Introduction to the Devout Life“.
“Although we must struggle with invincible fortitude against great temptations, and the victories obtained over such are most useful, yet on the whole we gain more by struggling against the lesser temptations which assault us.” – Part Fourth, Chapter Eight
Giving in to small temptations will make it easier to give in to bigger ones. I’ve learned that the hard way. Like God, Satan too works in mysterious ways. He loves to get us to give in to a small temptation, knowing it will be easier to get us to give in to the next one and th next one, etc. He will very subtly convince us that the first little sin was okay, no one got hurt, no one knows, you can do it again. As I said, I speak from experience.
Here is a quote from C.S. Lewis’s :The Screwtape Letters”:
“Indeed the safest road to Hell is the gradual one–the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts,…Your affectionate uncle, Screwtape.” ― C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters
This is something we all should remember.