Saturday, March 12, 2011

Temptation is not a sin

Temptation, enticement, attraction, pull, inducement or lure all mean one and the same thing. On its own temptation is not a sin. To be attracted to something or somebody is ontological. It is neither good nor bad. In fact, temptation or enticement can turn our to be something very good depending on how one looks at it. The temptation of Jesus in the desert turned out to be very good in itself because it teaches us how to prepare for temptation. Some people give in to temptation easily than others. In the book of Genesis, we see how our first parents sinned and disobeyed God. They were easily persuaded by the cunning snake that employed its tact and manipulations and lured them to sin. Let us reflect here on the tactics of the devil; “Did God really tell you not to eat from any of the trees in the garden?” (Gen. 3:1). Now let us follow the reasoning of the serpent. “You certainly will not die! No God knows well that the moment you eat of it your eyes will be opened and you will be like gods who know what is good and what is bad”, (Gen. 3:4). Now let is see the reaction of the woman. “The woman saw that the tree was good for food, pleasing to the eyes, and desirable for gaining wisdom. So she took some of its fruit and ate; and she also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it”, (Gen. 3:6).

From the aforementioned, it follows that when we are tempted we employ our reason mode and posit some questions: ‘what is in it for? How will it benefit me? Will it advance me from where I am now to where I want to be?” The answer to these questions will determine what our next action will be. In a very sin that we commit, the above reasoning will always remotely be at work in our minds. What do we then do when faced with temptation? This answer will be found in the person of Jesus who was tempted by the same devil employing the same method of enticement used on the woman.

Let me note quickly here that to face temptation as Jesus did, we have to do what Jesus did. He went into the desert and fasted and prayed for strength, for a sense of direction, for power from above while surrendering himself completely to God not trusting in his power but on the power of God. With this fortification from above Christ was able to give the devil these answers: “One does not live by bread alone, but by every world that comes forth from the mouth of God; again it is written, You shall not put the Lord, your God, to the test”. And finally, “Get away, Satan! It is written: The Lord, your God, shall you worship and him alone shall you serve”, (Mt. 4:4,7,10). Most of the time we give in to temptation, not because temptation is a sin but because we do not know how to fortify ourselves. Lent gives us that wonderful opportunity to get prepared so as to do battle with the devil. That is why the struggle is called Christian warfare. Are you prepared for the battle?

1 comment:

  1. We have to be steadfast in prayer and always think of what Jesus went through for us. When we are tempted is when we should pray for guidance to do the right thing through prayer. Jesus will never let us go the wrong way.