Temptation

The temptation of Protestantism has always been to magnify freedom at the expense of unity. The temptation of Roman Catholicism, on the other hand, has been to magnify unity at the expense of freedom.

Greatness is a matter not of size but of quality, and it is within the reach of every one of us. Greatness lies in the faithful performance of whatever duties life places upon us and in the generous performance of the small acts of kindness that God has made possible for us. There is greatness in patient endurance; in unyielding loyalty to a goal; in resistance to the temptation to betray the best we know; in speaking up for the truth when it is assailed; in steadfast adherence to vows given and promises made. God does not ask us to do extraordinary things. He asks us to do ordinary things extraordinarily well.

Character so conceived has three interrelated parts: moral knowing, moral feeling, and moral behavior. Good character consists of knowing the good, desiring the good, and doing the good – habits of the mind, habits of the heart, and habits of action. When we think about the kind of character we want for our children, it’s clear that we want them to be able to judge what is right, care deeply about what is right, and then do what they believe to be right – even in the face of pressure from without and temptation from within.

As we go up the scale of spiritual excellence, temptation follows us all the way, becoming more refined as our lives are more refined, more subtle as our spiritual sensitiveness is keener.

Everyone likes to think that they have done reasonably well in life, so that it comes as a shock to find our children believing differently. The temptation is to tune them out; it takes much more courage to listen.

What augments our spiritual forces? A temptation which has become overcome.

Trials, temptations, disappointments -- all these are helps instead of hindrances, if one uses them rightly. They not only test the fibre of a character, but strengthen it. Every conquered temptation represents a new fund of moral energy. Every trial endured and weathered in the right spirit makes a soul nobler and stronger than it was before.

Greater is he who is above temptation than he who, being tempted, overcomes.

Thinking for oneself is always arduous and is sometimes painful. The temptation to stop thinking and to take dogma on faith is strong. Yet, since the intellect does possess the capacity to think for itself, it also has the impulse and feels the obligation. We may therefore feel sure that the intellect will always refuse, sooner or later, to take traditional doctrines on trust.

Our wealth is often a snare to ourselves, and always a temptation to others.

When we resist temptation it is usually because temptation is weak, not because we are strong.

Marriage is popular because it combines the maximum of temptation with the maximum of opportunity.

To secure one’s own happiness is a duty, at least indirectly; for discontent with one’s condition, under a pressure of many anxieties and amidst unsatisfied wants, might easily become a great temptation to transgression of duty.

Our wealth is often a snare to ourselves, and always a temptation to others.

Every temptation that is resisted, every noble aspiration that is encouraged, every sinful thought that is repressed, every bitter word that is withheld,, adds its little item to the impetus of that great movement which is bearing humanity onward toward a richer life and higher character.

Every temptation is an opportunity of our getting nearer to God.

Man's great guilt does not lie in the sins he commits, for temptation is great and his strength is limited. Man's great guilt lies in the fact that he can turn away from evil at any moment, and yet he does not.

There is a burden of care in getting riches, fear in keeping them, temptation in using them, guilt in abusing them, sorrow in losing them, and a burden of account at last to be given up concerning them.

There is no stronger force that you can employ against temptation than wisdom. Complete understanding will bring you to the point where nothing can tempt you to actions that promise pleasure but in the end will only hurt you.

The success of the wicked is a temptation to many.