No Temptation Will Overtake You

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How are you doing on your Lenten promises? Remember the one I made about writing 500 words every day? Well, not doing so great. I took the weekend off although I did do some writing yesterday on another blog of mine that I have just redesigned. I guess that kind of counts.

I won’t get into the other Lenten promise I made but it involves one of the seven deadly sins. It has been difficult but I am doing okay with it and it started me thinking: What is it about sin that makes it so difficult to stop? Think about the sins you’ve committed, they all have one thing in common, they all bring some kind of pleasure. Usually, it’s sensual pleasure, but there can be other types of pleasure as well. This pleasure is what Satan uses to keep us coming back.

Sin begins with temptation. We are tempted every day, from all angles. Even if we were to totally unplug from everything there would still be temptation, unless I suppose we lived by ourselves in the middle of nowhere. But unless we lived every day of our life alone, I think we would still be tempted having memories of those sensual pleasures.

Now, are these pleasures bad? No, we just need to control them. Everything in moderation is the rule. And of course the ones that lead to sin, I am thinking here of lust, in particular, need to be controlled. When you lust after another who isn’t yours, this is where the sin of adultery begins. As Jesus tells us in Matthew:

 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that every one who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. Mt 5:27 – 28

It is one thing to look at a beautiful woman (or handsome man if you are a woman or if that is your persuasion) and you admire them for your beauty that’s okay, but if you are looking at them lustfully, that is a sin. Can you tell which of the deadly sins I am trying to stop? Lust has become so ingrained into our culture, really starting in the late sixties, we have been sold on the idea of looks equals lust. This is closely tied in with another deadly sin, pride, which really is the sin that leads to all others.

I used to suffer from pride as well, but that was one of the first to go for me. When I realized that God really is in control and that all I have comes from Him, I became quite humbled. But the lust thing is a little tougher. What is lust? The Catechism of the Catholic Church defines it as:

Lust is disordered desire for or inordinate enjoyment of sexual pleasure. Sexual pleasure is morally disordered when sought for itself, isolated from its procreative and unitive purposes. –  CCC 2351

If we jump up a few paragraphs to CCC 2534

The tenth commandment unfolds and completes the ninth, which is concerned with concupiscence of the flesh. It forbids coveting the goods of another, as the root of theft, robbery, and fraud, which the seventh commandment forbids. “Lust of the eyes” leads to the violence and injustice forbidden by the fifth commandment. Avarice, like fornication, originates in the idolatry prohibited by the first three prescriptions of the Law. The tenth commandment concerns the intentions of the heart; with the ninth, it summarizes all the precepts of the Law.

Ref: For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the pride of life, is not of the Father but is of the world. – 1 Jn 2:16

Even when I go to Mass Satan sends those lustful thoughts to tempt me. I am not and will not act on these thoughts but I know I am still sinning. It’s a struggle for me, but then we all have sins we struggle with. Some of us are stronger than others meaning some of us don’t need to struggle as much, but there is still a struggle. Like it says at the top of this blog:

No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your strength, but with the temptation will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. – Cor 10:13

God knows I am not strong but He also knows that I am trying.

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Is God Testing Us?

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Courtesy of Unsplkash

Courtesy of Unsplash

Have you ever been told that God is testing you? For example when there is some temptation in front of you, do you think it might be God trying to trick you into sinning to see how strong you are? I have to admit I used to think that at times, at least those few times I even gave sin any thought.

One of my favorite passages from scripture is the one that is at the top of my blog:

No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your strength, but with the temptation will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. – 1 Corinthians 10:13

When you first read this it almost sounds like God does indeed tempt you. He just doesn’t tempt you beyond what you can handle. But really what he is saying is He won’t let someone else tempt you beyond what you can handle. That someone else is Satan and his helpers. I guess this is where the saying “God only gives us as much as we can handle comes from.

I think back over my past, something I do way too much of I know, and I think of all the times I sinned and succumbed to temptation and I realize each time it was my choice. No one held a gun to my head, not even Satan, I sinned of my own free will. I also learned that God never let me go so far down where I couldn’t get back up.

There is another passage from James:

Blessed is the man who endures the trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life which God has promised to those who love him. Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted with evil and he himself tempts no one; but each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin; and sin when it is full-grown brings forth death. – James 1:12 – 15

This is where we learn God doesn’t tempt us. Each of us is “lured and enticed” by our own desire. Take a look at the seven deadly sins:

  • Pride
  • Avarice
  • Envy
  • Wrath
  • Lust
  • Gluttony
  • Sloth

Each of these are related to some type of desire we have. Our pride will lead us to perhaps do things we wouldn’t to get ahead in our jobs. Avarice is our desire to get more “stuff”. Envy is when we desire someone else’s “stuff”. Wrath is when we get angry because we can’t have “stuff”. Lust is when we really want “stuff “and will do anything to get it. Gluttony is when we have too much “stuff” but won’t give it up. And sloth is when we are too lazy to earn the “stuff” we want. All based on our desires. The word “stuff” can mean a lot of things, it could be a bigger house, a new car, or a “trophy” wife or husband. (Is there such a thing as a trophy husband?) We are tempted by the desire for any or all of these things.

As it says in James. Desire leads to sin which leads to death. Just don’t blame it on God.

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