“Be vigilant against temptation, then, remembering that it is but a wish, insane and meaningless, to make yourself a thing that you are not. And think as well upon the thing that you would be instead. It is a thing of madness, pain and death; a thing of treachery and black despair, of failing dreams and no remaining hope except to die, and end the dream of fear. This is temptation; nothing more than this. Can this be difficult to choose against? (T665)”
1 – Temptation Should Not Scare Us
This commonsense attitude toward temptation does not scare us. It comforts. At this same time, though, it warns of the very real problems that yielding to temptation does bring. “Be vigilant against temptation” because, in part, it is a “thing of madness.”
2 – We Know when Temptation Visits
We know when we are being tempted, because the guidance of the Holy Spirit warns us (if we listen to Him). Then, our best response is to turn away as soon as we are able. Sometimes we yield momentarily, because our stubborn wills get in the way. We feel rebellious, and we don’t listen to guidance from the Holy Spirit.
3 – To Choose to Follow Temptation Is Madness
The madness, though, is answered in Jesus’s final question, “Can this be difficult to choose against?” The description just prior to this question is vivid indeed: “black despair, of failing dreams and no remaining hope except to die.” Surely we can be flexible enough to follow the Holy Spirit when He warns us that we are treading into dangerous, ego-willed, behavior–temptation.
I would be flexible enough today to avoid temptation, because, if I am listening closely enough, the Holy Spirit warns me when I am becoming a little bit insane. Thank You for keeping my Guide within close to my conscious mind. I would, as part of You, not diverge from the pathway that is best and right for me. You would wish no less of me.
Be with me as I escape from the madness that temptation really reflects. A thing of madness is not the thing that I would choose. Help me today to be turn aside when temptation beckons, and lean instead to a listening ear that hears my Guide.
Thank You for letting me feel Your presence.