Tag Archives: Temptation

There Is a Purpose After All

“When the demons see Christians, specially the monks, working joyfully and growing in the spirit, first they fight them with temptation, and by placing obstacles to hinder their growth, trying to inject evil thoughts in their minds; but there is no reason for fear from their temptations because their offenses fail instantly by prayer and fasting, specially if you have had armed yourself with faith and the sign of the cross.”

He also said, “Whoever has not experienced temptation cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven,” he even added, “without temptation no one can be saved.”

—- Anthony of Egypt

Most of us struggle with the concept of evil in our lives and the world. I wish that God would just straighten everything out and let us all live in peace and harmony. That would make things smooth and comfortable. How many times in your life have you asked the question, Why? We all want to know why we suffer, why do bad things happen to good people, why can’t I rid myself of this bad habit? what is the purpose? God, please let me see the purpose of my plight.

The first advice of the monk is to give us a way of conquering the temptations that perpetually plague us. October-3-Quote This much is clear. We will all face evil in our lives. This evil is not accidental but planned and intentional. The world is the domain of the evil one and he spreads his message to all of us. The good news is that we need not fear because we have the tools to battle this invasion of our being. Abba Anthony points to prayer, fasting, and the cross as our means of victory. Those of us who pray, fast and are signed by the cross will overcome. That is truly the “Good News”  of Jesus.

The monk asserts very strongly that without temptation it is impossible to be saved. Through our trials, we learn to rely on and live for God. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 10:13 “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is commonSatan-and-God to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” Fascinatingly, we experience God’s power when we are tempted with evil. Our trials carry us to places we would never attain without them. It is through these times of testing that we taste the grace of God that eventually lands us in His Kingdom.

We all have cursed our time of temptations, but we also have been strengthened by such times. This strength carries us to new heights. Trials, temptations, and tribulations have a purpose after all.


Prayer

Lord, as I walk through these tough time help me to remember that there is a door on the other side. This door leads me to a life that is increasingly closer to your kingdom. Allow that realization to give me further strength as I make that occasional turn in the wrong direction. Let me be faithful to you in all that I do.

Amen

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March 24 — Day 17

Genesis 3:1-15

1Now thadam-eve-snake.299141551_stde serpent was more crafty than any other wild animal that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God say, ‘You shall not eat from any tree in the garden’?” 2The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden; 3but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the middle of the garden, nor shall you touch it, or you shall die.’“ 4But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not die; 5for God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

6So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate; and she also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate. 7Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made loincloths for themselves. 8They heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden at the time of the evening breeze, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden.

9But the Lord God called to the man, and said to him, “Where are you?”10He said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.”

11He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” 12The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit from the tree, and I ate.” 13Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent tricked me, and I ate.”

14The Lord God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, cursed are you among all animals and among all wild creatures; upon your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat all the days of your life.15I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will strike your head, and you will strike his heel.”

 

‘Take away temptations and no one will be saved.’

——— Abba Evagrius

Prayer Starter — Lord help me to fight the great temptations of my life.

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Temptation

English: Detail of Religion mural in lunette f...

“The distinctive mark of a monk (Christian) is made clear through temptations.”

——Abba Poeman

The things that persuade us are the things that rule us. Instinctively, we are led away from certain behaviors and towards others. The mark of the Christian is to live in an area that allows us to give honor to God. Honor to God is given in worship, prayer, service, and hospitality. Those four things are not an exhaustive list of all Christian virtues, but at least a place to start. Let’s take them apart in a few statements.

Worship is honor paid to God at its simplest definition. Many times we are tempted not to worship God in an organized or in any other way. “I don’t go to church, and I don’t know one person who does,” says Brian Kenny, 39, who is studying psychotherapy and counseling at Dublin Business School. “Fifteen years ago, I didn’t know one person who didn’t.” In 1980 85% of the people of Ireland attended worship on a weekly basis, now it is less than 50% and dropping rapidly. Untied States statistics are not far behind.

Prayer is communication with God. I would hate to think how little people really talk to God. With growing numbers of people who never attend a church of any kind it would be difficult to expect that prayer would be on the rise.

Service in the way the Abba is using it means some type of assistance or good that is done for someone else. Do we really serve others out of a sense of being part of the family of God? I really doubt it.

Hospitality is freely opening your inner domain to friend and stranger alike. A few days ago I ran out of gas (yes I do stupid things like that) and a total stranger offer me the hospitality of his truck, gas can and gas that was in it. That is hospitality, and he opened what was his inner domain and shared with me without expectation of anything in return. Are you a person who practices hospitality?

I would venture to say that if you are tempted and tried by your reluctance to worship, pray, serve, and practice hospitality you are being marked as a Christian.

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Ascend to God

Mount of Temptation

Mount of Temptation (Photo credit: Seetheholyland.net)

Abba Anthony said to Abba Poemen, ‘this is the great work of a man: always to take the blame for his own sins before God and to expect temptation to his last breath. He  also  said,  ‘Whoever  has  not  experienced temptation cannot enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. ‘He even added, ‘Without temptations no-one can be saved.’

—-Sayings of the Desert Fathers

Commentary

In a world where TV networks hire “spin doctors” to make the story turn in the “right” direction,  it is no wonder we fail to acknowledge our weaknesses and failures. After all, this problem must be somebody else’s fault. It is no wonder that Anthony called it the great work of life. All of us have someone to blame for our sin and shortcomings. It is our childhood, the boss, the job, the teacher or if all else fails, just everyone. That’s bad enough, but the best is yet to come. We are to expect temptations throughout our lives – no relief, no time out. They are part of the human condition. Temptations are what form us into the children of God. Our challenge is to ascend to God and walk the path he has set before us.

Prayer

Lord God, give me the courage and grace to ascend to You. Help me to turn away from the excuses that so readily fill my lips and rise to the occasion of my sin. Help me to see the many temptations of my life as the road to perfection. I ask for strength and grace to stay on that road. I ask this though the one who saves and sustains me. Amen

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Ascend to God

Abba Anthony said to Abba Poemen, ‘this is the great work of a man: always to take the blame for his own sins before God and to expect temptation to his last breath. He also said, ‘Whoever has not experienced temptation cannot enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. ‘He even added, ‘Without temptations no-one can be saved.’

Jacob’s Ladder

 

—-Sayings of the Desert Fathers

In a world where TV networks hire “spin doctors” to make the story turn in the “right” direction,  it is no wonder we fail to acknowledge our weaknesses and failures. After all, this problem must be somebody else’s fault. It is no wonder that Anthony called it

the great work of life. All of us have someone to blame for our sin and shortcomings. It is our childhood, the boss, the job, the teacher or if all else fails, just everyone. That’s bad enough, but the best is yet to come. We are to expect temptations throughout our lives – no relief, no time out. They are part of the human condition. Temptations are what form us into the children of God. Our challenge is to ascend to God and walk the path he has set before us.

 

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Filed under Antony of Egypt, Christian Living, contemplative, Desert Fathers, Missional Living