What Triumphs Over Temptation?

A TEENAGER was doing some errands in the family car. The day was warm so she rolled down the windows. First she picked up her skirt from the cleaners. Next she went to the public library, where she returned some books and checked out others. When she came back to the car her skirt was gone!

Shaken and perplexed, she protested to her parents, ``Why would anyone do such a thing! The doors were locked.''

``But the windows were open,'' her mother replied. Then she added gently, ``Dear, you tempted someone who could not resist.''

This experience did not leave the teenager where it found her. Never before had it occurred to her that she had a responsibility not to tempt others. A Bible verse that she had memorized in Sunday School came to her mind. It's from Galatians: ``Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted'' (6:1).

The young woman had always loved God and tried to live by the Golden Rule. And although she hadn't stolen anything, she could learn from this experience, too. It had been foolish to leave the windows open, and it would be wrong to try to justify her behavior instead of accepting correction and learning to express more wisdom--more of her inherent spiritual nature. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes in The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, ``A lack of wisdom betrays Truth into the hands of evil as effectually as does a subtle conspirator; the motive is not as wicked, but the result is as injurious'' (p. 128).

After her mother showed her this passage, the young woman resolved to learn more about wisdom! Wisdom, she reasoned, is an attribute of God. Since God is the source of all good, everything about wisdom must be good. And spiritually based wisdom would include everything from sound judgment and intelligent choices to plain, ordinary common sense (lock doors, close windows). Yes, wisdom was practical as well as profound, sublime and at the same time simple.

God, the all-powerful, is also omnipresent. But no one had ever seen God in any material form. How could He be known if He remained invisible? At this point she began to see more clearly than ever before that God is infinite Spirit. We never can see Him materially, but we can know Him spiritually as our creator--our eternal Father-Mother God--who gives us His infinite wisdom to reflect without limit. If the invisible God weren't perceptible, He would be a theoretical abstraction. But God, divine Spirit, is real! And she was His creation, made in His likeness--wholly spiritual (and so was everybody else, did they but know it). Certainly she could not exist for one moment without her Maker.

From earliest childhood she had been taught that in the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. Now she understood that the heaven and earth of God's creating were spiritual, not material, and could express only the majesty and magnitude of their creator. A love for God beyond anything she had ever known before enveloped and pervaded every fiber of her being. She realized that His watchful care had already provided resources within herself-- including the wisdom not to tempt others--on which she could draw in times of need. And this God-given wisdom is what ensured her security! She had discovered for herself and demonstrated beyond a shadow of a doubt that spiritual wisdom triumphs over every temptation.

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