“..temptations are often very beneficial to us, even though they are troublesome and grievous, for in them we are humbled, purified, and instructed.”
Thomas à Kempis. “Imitation Of Christ.”
HUMBLED — Temptations move us to greater dependence on God because we cannot stand up under them without divine power. Worldly successes can lead to a stronger sense of self-sufficiency (believing we don’t need God) and superiority (we believe we are better than others). We do not need to fail and fall in order to be humbled. Temptation–the moments we come face to face with the real possibility of our disobedience–provides the opportunity to humble ourselves.
PURIFIED — Temptation brings to light the darkness within, and when we stand up strong, in the strength of Jesus, the shadow disappears. Temptation is impurity leaving our heart, in the wake we can choose to let it back in or cast it off. Our hearts more pure and less divided when we successfully resist temptation.
INSTRUCTED — Our brokenness has left us separated from God and his wisdom. We are woefully ignorant and our foolishness is multiplied because we are usually unaware of our need for wisdom. There are some truths we can only learn while struggling against temptation.
When we next face temptation, let’s ask the Spirit for his strength, and be encouraged by the new growth available to us.