When tempted

By: Fr. Roy Cimagala

WE have to be better prepared when we are tempted. Our usual problem is that we think that when we are tempted, it is just a very personal affair that nobody else should intervene. This is not the way to deal with temptations. With this attitude, the only thing that can happen is to fall into temptation.

We may not have the immediate access and help of other people, but we always have God with us. It’s only with him that we would know how to deal with temptations. Let’s never forget that God never allows us to be tempted in a way that is beyond our power to resist or at least to bear.

This is what St. Paul said regarding this matter: “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful. He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide an escape, so that you can stand up under it.” (1 Cor 10,13)

We always have to bear in mind that without God, that is, when we choose to be alone or to do things or to resolve an issue alone, we can only have failure. If you happen to win or to conquer temptation, it is because God has helped you without you noticing it.

Of course, it would be much better that we consciously go to God, especially when tempted. In fact, the ideal condition for us is to be with God always, to live our life with him, to fill ourselves with his love that brings with it all that we need, especially when we are tempted.

We are actually meant to live our life with God, knowing him and loving him all the time. Ignoring him is not what human life is all about. We would become inhuman that way.

We have to spend time to acquire and develop that constant consciousness of being with God, actively and abidingly relating ourselves with him in the dynamics of his love.

Again our usual problem is that we hardly feel we need to have that abiding relation with God. We think that we can be on our own and that we can manage by ourselves. And especially now that we seem to be accomplishing and achieving many things, we can feel that we need God less and less.

This explains why sins proliferate like anything in this world. And not only in number but also in the complicatedness of the sins. Even the sins that were usually hidden generations before are now being boldly paraded and flaunted, furthering the pollution they produce.

No wonder things like pornography, abortion, same-sex activities and marriage, etc. are now being promoted as if they are the most natural things to have. They call it pro-choice, asserting a concept of rights and freedom that is detached from the source of such rights and freedom. It is a completely subjective idea of rights and freedom.

When tempted, what we should do is to go to God immediately, not to run away from him nor to isolate ourselves. When tempted, we should conjure in our mind as vividly as possible the example of Christ who showed us how to deal with temptations and suffered and died for all our sins. Christ offers us the paradigm of how to handle our temptations.

Yes, when tempted, there is struggle, suffering and pain. This should be expected because, like Christ, we have to repeat the words he spoke: “Father, if it is your will, let this cup pass by me, but not my will but yours be done.” Self-denial will always be involved and that can be painful. But with Christ, somehow we can manage.

With Christ, we would know what things we need to develop or improve when we are tempted. Temptations are good identifiers of our weaknesses and good occasions to attract God’s grace.