Temptation has many faces, but all of its variations lead to one goal: to take you and me away from God, life, love, health, etc. For where there is God there is life, love, goodness, truth and health. God is Goodness that overpowers the bad; Truth that sets our hearts free; Light that overcomes the darkness in and around us; Love that heals and forgives, and through forgiveness restores us to Truth, Goodness, Love and Life!
Every temptation, therefore, has one basic structure: it is the urge to choose selfish desires rather than God, to choose death rather than life, hate rather than Love, imbalance rather than health; lie rather than Truth, grudges and revenge rather than forgiveness; darkness rather than Light! These are basic spiritual principles deeply woven in the textures of our heart, soul, mind and body. You see, we are spiritual beings, whether we acknowledge it or not. At every turn in our journey of life, we are faced with choices to make, for it is our choices that make us who we are. Our history is the history of our choices. Therefore, it makes sense to understand the power of temptation, that urge to follow a path that leads away from Truth, Love, Light, Goodness, Health, Forgiveness! It all ends at the same direction, namely away from GOD! Whenever we fall into temptation (which happens many times) we lose a bit of ourselves, for our eyes are taken away from God who is Truth, Love, Light, Goodness, Health, Forgiveness! At the instant that our eyes are taken away from God, we are no longer fully present, either to God or to ourselves. For this reason, the temptation we fall into gradually creates a field of darkness around our heart, mind and soul until we lose even the sensitivity to the Light that comes from the Throne of God. The person, at this point, may no longer care about the nudges of the conscience or the constant signals of the soul to return to the Light and Truth. This is the condition we refer to as weakened or dead conscience. But as long as a person still hears the inner voice of the soul that calls us back to God, one can get back to Light through reconciliation and a firm decision to live in Truth and in God’s Light.
The temptation of Jesus is very interesting. You have to remember that Jesus was alone in the desert. No one was there to see him or monitor what he did. Yet, in each instance he chose the Father; he chose Truth, Light, Love, Goodness! It didn’t matter whether anyone saw him or not. In this, Jesus teaches us that any choice we make, whether someone sees us or not, makes or unmakes our soul. Even though our choices have consequences in our society and relationships, they first of all affect our soul positively or negatively. The soul will always push us to return to Truth and Love, as long as we heed her unrelenting warnings through our experience of inner disquiet each time we fall away from Truth and Love. Our most important goal is to guard our soul so that it can more consistently obey God, push us to live more congruent life, which requires a willing disposition to choose Truth, Love, Light, Forgiveness, Life, Balance in health at all times. But whenever we fail, we need to get back to God who is Truth and Light to avoid darkness taking over our hearts of love.
May this period of Lent be an opportunity for us to live more consciously in obedience to the law of the soul: to choose Truth, Light, Goodness, Forgiveness, Love in times of temptation. Amen