On Resisting Temptation
Lord, if we only work to defeat the outward signs of temptation, which is in our words and deeds, then we make little progress in overcoming temptation.
The worst temptations are always of the mind and heart. These are our secret sins that take root in our inmost being, and we cannot easily drive them out. And if we do succeed in tossing them out, they are quick to return, stronger than before.
But with the help of your Holy Spirit, Lord, if we steadfastly oppose these temptations, we can overcome them. We overcome through your help rather than solely through our own efforts.
Because we are tempted, we should not be harsh with others who are tempted; rather, we should comfort and strengthen them, as we wish to be comforted and strengthened in our own temptations.
The beginning of all temptation lies in a wavering mind and little trust in you, Lord. As a rudderless ship is driven hither and yon by waves, so a careless and irresolute person is driven hither and yon by temptation.
While temptation is not good, temptations can actually help us in that when we are tempted and overcome the temptation, we are stronger. If we imagine a person who is never tempted, there is no such person, but if we imagine such a one, he would be very weak of will. He would have the steadfastness of a gnat because he has not been tried in the fires of temptation.
Further, temptations show us things about ourselves. Try to bribe a wealthy man with $20, and he will laugh in your face. He is no more moral than a poor man, he just has more. One person is tempted by money, another by honor, still another by fame. But all are tempted.
Above all, we must be alert against the beginnings of temptation, for the enemy is more easily conquered when he is met at the threshold of the mind.
Someone has aptly said: "Delayed remedies are too late." First, a mere thought comes to mind, then strong imagination, followed by pleasure, evil delight, and consent. Thus, because he is not resisted in the beginning, Satan gains full entry. And the longer we delay in resisting, so much the weaker we become
Some suffer great temptations in the beginning of their conversion, others toward the end, while some are troubled almost constantly throughout their life. Others, again, are tempted but lightly according to your wisdom and justice, Lord, for you weigh the status and merit of each and prepare for the salvation of your elect. Amen.
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Copyright 2000 York Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church
Last Modified: 01/14/08