The Truth About Temptation

Be strong in the face of temptations

Temptations are common to all human beings. You are no exception to this rule. Therefore, keep your eyes fixed on Jesus Christ, who, through his own combat with temptation while fasting in the desert, shows how you can tri­umph over them.

Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And he fasted forty days and forty nights, and afterward he was hungry. And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” But he answered, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’”

Then the devil took him to the holy city, and set him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down; for it is written, ‘He will give his angels charge of you,’ and ‘On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.’”

Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.’” Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them; and he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” Then Jesus said to him, “Begone, Satan!”

(Matthew 4:1–10)


Do I take the danger of temptations seriously, or am I foolishly overconfident, assuming I am “strong enough” to resist them without the benefit of prayer, penance, and the disciplining of my will?


Lord Jesus Christ, teach me to be strong and steadfast when temptations crowd around me demanding my surrender. Give me the grace to renounce Satan and all his deceitful works, pomps, and empty promises.

The devil will tempt you, but he can’t make you

It is true; the devil will try every trick in the book to cause you to sin. But he cannot force you to sin. Only you have that power.

Now the serpent was more subtle than any other wild creature that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree of the garden’?” And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden; but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’” But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate; and she also gave some to her husband, and he ate. Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves aprons.

(Genesis 3:1–7)


Am I spiritually alert enough to recognize when the evil one is trying to tempt me to sin against God? When I see the warning signs of temptation, what do I do? Do I negotiate with the enemy or turn immediately and decisively away from the temptation?


Lord, I know that, left to myself, I am exceedingly weak in the face of temptations. But with your grace, I can stand fast. O God, come to my aid! O Lord, make haste to help me!

This article is taken from a chapter of Year With The Bible by Patrick Madrid, which is available from TAN Books.



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