“Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial…”
– James 1:12 (King James Version)
Temptations met and mastered are the only high road to stabilization of character and spiritual progress. Temptation always touches the vulnerable point. That is their chief use, as well as their great danger. In a two-way world every instinct of body, soul and spirit has to go through the crucible of temptation, and go there again and again, until we can come out purified and fixed in God. We may be sure that every temptation that comes to us comes because it exactly suits our condition, for we are only temptable at the points where we are sensitive to that particular type of appeal.
In fact, in one sense we draw our temptations to ourselves. Out of all life’s innumerable stimuli which reach out a beckoning hand to us, we respond to those with which we have affinity. They draw us. But for every attraction in one direction, in the nature of things there is a counter attraction in the other. Thus a choice is forced upon us. We make it. If we know the secret of the Spirit, we do not meet the pull of the carnal with an ineffective “No” (the “thou shalt not” of the law), which leaves the conflict unresolved, or at best gives victory only by the skin of the teeth; but we meet it with the positive, sublimating alternative of the gospel, the “Christ hath delivered us from the curse of the law,” the ringing declaration that the “I” who might respond to the temptation is “crucified with Christ.”