You can resist temptation

HAVE you ever been tempted to do something wrong to satisfy a need or craving? Such temptations do come, but we don't have to yield to them. We have divine authority to resist temptation and be at peace, just as Christ Jesus did centuries ago when beginning his healing ministry.1 Temptations are never God-sent. God is divine Love, the source of unlimited good. He creates nothing that results in sorrow or suffering. Temptations arise from a false concept of man's nature. They are neutralized by understanding that man is God's image, His reflection, inherently complete and satisfied. James, an early follower of Christ Jesus, tells us directly: ``Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: but every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.'' 2 Entertaining an earthly, sensuous concept of manhood or womanhood, we open ourselves to temptation. But it is never too late to correct our standpoint or reform our ways. We are not, in reality, incomplete mortals, subject to feelings of lack or dissatisfaction, no matter how much the material senses would proclaim otherwise. We do not have to compromise ourselves or others by doing something immoral. Instead, we can watch our thinking and steadfastly reject anything that is ungodlike. We can ``[cast] down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and [bring] into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.'' 3 This is a form of prayer--and inspired prayer brings healing. We all, in reality, have our origin in God as His spiritual offspring. We are much loved and always cared for by Him. We are complete in every way, good and pure. To the degree that we see ourselves and others in this light, we are more at peace and better prepared to resist the temptation to do something wrong. Immoral yearnings are silenced. Immoral behavior destroys, rather than enhances, one's character. It never really brings the freedom or gratification one expects. As Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes: ``Passions and appetites must end in pain. They are `of few days, and full of trouble.' Their supposed joys are cheats. Their narrow limits belittle their gratifications, and hedge about their achievements with thorns.'' 4 Understanding man's true spiritual origin, she unequivocally states, ``Higher enjoyments alone can satisfy the cravings of immortal man.'' 5 We do not have to fall for the carnal mind's suggestions that we need something more than we already have in order to be satisfied. As immortal expressions of God in His ever-present goodness and perfection, we actually include within ourselves, as God made us, everything necessary for our well-being. If we recognize this spiritual fact, we will not be deceived. We will not allow ourselves to use, or be used by, others. No one needs to yield to temptation. This lesson was learned by a young woman several years ago. She completed her education and began her professional life at a time when moral values seemed to be crumbling. Sexual promiscuity was prevalent, and the temptation was strong to ``give in or you won't have any friends.'' Neither withdrawal from the social scene nor exercising merely human will to avoid giving in to promiscuity brought a sense of peace or a resolution to the situation. Only when she wholeheartedly turned to God for an answer, and began to build her life on a firm, spiritual foundation, did she find permanent peace and truly satisfying relationships. Yielding to temptation brought dissatisfaction and shame. Resisting temp- tation by claiming her God-given innocency and completeness brought courage, strength, and dominion, qualities that have helped her in every area of her life since that time. Do you question your own ability to withstand temptation? Remember that God ``worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.'' 6 God is helping you always. Be persistent--and you will win! 1 See Luke 4:1-15. 2 James 1:13, 14. 3 II Corinthians 10:5. 4 Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 536. 5 Ibid., pp. 60-61. 6 Philippians 2:13.

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