Thursday, January 24, 2013

Mere Temptation

I don't know about you, but I have some notions trapped within my mind that are longing for expression. Yet it seems the more I struggle to give them voice, the more I am left mute for not finding the words to capture the essence of my feelings. Every once in a while, however, you stumble across someone who has found a way down that narrow path to precisely frame that loose wildling that had previously confounded you. Such was the case the other day when I came upon the following writing by C.S. Lewis from his master work, Mere Christianity. The topic is about temptation and the depth of struggles of those who have sought to overcome some of this strife in their own lives.

No man knows how bad he is till he has tried very hard to be good. A silly idea is current that good people do not know what temptation means. This is an obvious lie. Only those who try to resist temptation know how strong it is. You find out the strength of a wind by trying to walk against it, not by lying down. A man who gives in to temptation after five minutes simply does not know what it would have been like an hour later. This is why bad people, in one sense, know very little about badness. They have lived a sheltered life by always giving in. We never find out the strength of the evil impulse inside us until we try to fight it; and Christ, because He was the only man who never yielded to temptation, is also the only man who knows to the full what temptation means - the only realist.