Why does God allow temptation?
MOST OF US HATE TEMPTATION BUT IF GOD ALLOWS IT, WE KNOW IT IS FOR OUR GOOD
Temptation is Meant For Good
We might think of temptation as only something bad and much of the time it is (it only leads us into sinning)….but that is only because we didn’t take recourse to God’s grace: the strength we need to avoid sinning.
Temptation is really allowed for our good. Yes, good. All God allows is for our ultimate good. Therefore, temptation must be allowed for our good too.
I’m not saying, when we are trying to avoid sinning, we shouldn’t remove what causes us to sin. Of course we should. But some temptations we can’t remove, and they are most certainly allowed for our good.
“But how is this so?”, we might ask. “Don’t we pray in the Our Father, ‘lead us not into temptation.’ Therefore, if temptation is ‘good’, why are we asking God to not allow us to be tempted?”
Ok, that is a great question. The reason we ask God to not lead us into temptation, is because some temptations, we don’t have the grace to refute. Then we fall into sin.
So, when we pray, “lead us not into temptation,” we are asking God to not allow us to be tempted beyond our ability to not fall into sin, because we DON’T WANT TO OFFEND GOD.
If we ask God to remove our temptation because we don’t want to suffer with having to dealing with the temptation, then that isn’t noble, but selfish. That is seeking to remove our temptation just to not suffer, which is derived from self-love. But asking God to remove our temptation, so we won’t offend Him is a prayer of love. Now, please don’t get me wrong, sometimes it is correct to ask God to remove a cross…just not for reasons of self-love. To learn more please read, “What is God’s Mercy and How Can I Receive It.”
The Bible has given us a clear example of St. Paul three times asking God to remove a temptation/trial that was constantly bothering him. Paul didn’t ask God to remove his temptation because he didn’t want to suffer. By this time in Paul’s spiritual journey, he was rejoicing in his suffering (fully understood the blessing in the cross), so seeking God multiple times to try to remove a cross, so he wouldn’t have to suffer, wouldn’t be a prayer he would have prayed.
But seeking God to remove a temptation/trial so he wouldn’t fall into a horrible sin, since he would rather suffer death than sin, is most certainly something Paul would seek God to remove.
“Therefore, that I might not become too elated [become proud/confident over my successful rejection of sinning], a thorn in the flesh [temptation] was given to me, an angel of Satan, to beat me [to tempt me], to keep me from being too elated. Three times I begged the Lord about this, that it might leave me [since I couldn’t bear to sin], but he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you [to avoid sinning], for power is made perfect in weakness [in realizing how easily I fall, so l would humbly rely on God and not myself]” (2 Corinthians 12:7-8).
As we can see, God, in His wisdom, rejected Paul’s plea to remove the temptation (thorn), since it wasn’t the greatest good, because being tempted/tried in such a way had many benefits for Paul’s soul…and of course, God’s grace would be more than enough for him to avoid sinning, if he could learn how to give himself completely to God.
The Hidden Blessings in Temptation
So, what are these blessing in being tempted. Well, we saw some of them, but below is a more complete list.
Blessings from temptation brings on humility. But humility is so dynamic, I wouldn’t be doing the blessings of temptation an injustice if I just said it only humbled us.
Blessings from temptation:
How Are Our Sins Used for Good?
As we know our temptations result in either the rejection of the temptation or the fall into sin. When we reject temptation, we allowed God’s grace to strengthen us to resist doing evil. But if we were weak and lack strength (God’s grace) then we fall.
Now, both the rejection of the temptation and the fall, God intends to us for our good, as I explain later. But if we truly hate sin, we will do or suffer anything so to not sin, therefore when we pray to God, we ask Him to lead us not into temptation that will allow us to fall into sin, becuase we can’t bear to offend God, whom we desire to perfectly love.
That is why we pray, “Lead us not into temptation.” It isn’t that God is tempting us, it is so God won’t allow us to be tempted in a way that will cause us to fall from our weakness. Not that God wants us to sin, but if we do sin, He has a wonderful plan to even use our sins, for much good.
Of course all sin is just horrible; it offends Our Beloved Lord. But remember, all God allows, He intends to use for our good, sins and all, IF we allow Him. Therefore,As