On the Overcoming of Temptation

The reward which James foresaw for those who resist temptation was both sure and incomparably precious: "Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him." What complete assurance do these words carry that those who endure, that is, overcome temptation, shall be rewarded after the manner of those who love God! Is it not logical, then, to conclude that love for God, which James so closely associated with resistance to temptation, is the successful means of overcoming it?

Temptation, as the word is commonly used, relates only to the claims of evil; and surely there can be no more effective method of resisting evil than to fill consciousness with love of good, and thus become conscious only of God's presence. Obviously, Jesus was abiding in this state of consciousness when he said, "For the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me." Upon his mentality so freed from evil, temptation could make no impression; for it had nothing in common with the tempter. Here is a valuable lesson for all who are seeking to free themselves from whatever is false through laying hold of the true. Temptation, that is, the allurement of evil, finds no place in the spiritualized consciousness. Our defense, then, is to become conscious only of reality, of the presence of good.

Yielding to temptation, that is, acceptance of the proffers of evil, is the source of all mankind's troubles, of all disappointment, hardship, and grief; for such yielding is done in the mistaken belief in evil, in materiality, as real. And if evil be once accepted as real, we lay ourselves open to various forms of attack by the greatest enemy of our peace. But we are not left comfortless — left without means of resisting and overcoming the claims of evil. Mrs. Eddy gives full assurance of this ability on page 53 of "Miscellaneous Writings": "Not through sin or suicide, but by overcoming temptation and sin, shall we escape the weariness and wickedness of mortal existence, and gain heaven, the harmony of being." In these words, our Leader posits in the overcoming of temptation the means whereby mortals gain heaven and harmony. The importance which she attaches to the resistance of the claims of evil cannot be denied!

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February 25, 1928

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