Friday, May 22, 2009

Do You Know What Temptation Means?

“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. After all, you find out the strength of the German army by fighting against it, not by giving in. 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. That 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 complete realist.” - C.S. Lewis

I have had this quote glued into my scriptures since Seminary and whenever I come across the page it is glued in I can't help but read it. I've always heard people say that "Utah Mormons" are sheltered. Well in some ways maybe Utah Mormons are because the temptations are in some ways less in Utah, but I love C.S. Lewis' thoughts that those who have been bad "have lived a sheltered life by a always giving in". So no matter if you are from Utah or from anywhere else, if you try to keep the commandments and you don't give into temptation then you become less sheltered and come to understand temptation much more deeply. It is those of us who fight against an army, walk against the wind, it is those of us who don't give in after 5 minutes of temptation, who truly know what temptation means. It is not where we live but how we live that helps us to become stronger and to know more about "badness" so we can continue to flee from it.

Because Christ lived a perfect life I don't think we always realize how much He understands of what we go through when it comes to being tempted. He was tempted constantly. I am sure Satan worked harder on Him then on anyone who has ever walked the face of the Earth. Just as C.S. Lewis so perfectly stated, " only man who knows to the full what tempation means..."

I hope that we can always remember that Christ is there for us in all things and that He understands all things. Not only can the Savior help us once we have already sinned and fallen into temptation but he can so perfectly, sympathetically, and understandingly guide us when we are in the midst of temptation because He knows all to well what it is like to stand where we stand in times when Satan is near.


Shantel said...

I love this quote! Thank - you so much for sharing. I really needed to read this today.

Pamela said...

I like this quote, but I'm not sure what it has to do with Utah Mormons. Your quick comparison seems to imply that Utah Mormons resist temptation, and Mormons outside of Utah do not. This is obviously false and quite presumptuous of you. I would also contend, having lived in and out of Utah for a substantial amount of time, that there really is less temptation in Utah. This is likely where the 'sheltered' assumption comes from. You can't resist temptation if you aren't exposed to it, so those living outside of Utah, exposed to more temptation and resisting it on a frequent basis, will be less sheltered, according to CS Lewis' analogy.

Becoming LDS said...

Pamela, I agree that my post was not worded as carefully as it should have been. I am sorry if it has offended anyone and will be making changes to this post to reflect what I truly meant for it to say. Thanks for your thoughts.