"Enter not into temptation"

         When Jesus returned to his disciples in the garden of Gethsemane and found them asleep, he said to them, "Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation." This admonition makes it plain that temptation is a state of thought which mortals believe they may enter into, as well as one they can avoid. Likewise, it shows that temptation does not enter into mankind, as many believe; but that mankind does the entering in. Jesus did not say that one would not be tempted; his warning was against yielding to the temptation. Without doubt, one of error's strongest weapons is discouragement when one is tempted. Jesus, however, said to Peter, "Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: but I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not." The writer to the Hebrews makes the statement that Jesus was tempted in all points "like as we are, yet without sin," thus making it clear that it is not sinful to be tempted. Nevertheless, it is sin to yield to temptation or to condone the yielding.

         What is this state called temptation; and how may one avoid entering into it or yielding to it? are questions of grave import to mankind. Mrs. Eddy says in "Miscellaneous Writings" (p. 85), "Temptation, that mist of mortal mind which seems to be matter and the environment of mortals, suggests pleasure and pain in matter." With her clear discernment of the Science of God, divine Mind, she has defined for mankind this mist of temptation, and at the same time has made the way plain for its complete overcoming and vanquishment this, too, in direct accord with Jesus' marvelous mastery of temptation in the wilderness, as related in the fourth chapter of Matthew. In the preceding chapter it is related that Christ Jesus had been given the assurance that he was the Son of God. He was then led into the wilderness, where the arguments of the belief that life is in matter, and that matter is essential to life or success, were presented to him. He silenced each lying suggestion with the truth, the Word of God. Regardless of the suggestion that matter is real and essential to existence, he never departed from the conscious fact that he was the Son of God; hence, he did not enter into the temptation in other words, he did not think with it. Herein was his dominion, his victory. Is not, then, the whole of the sin of temptation first to admit the lying argument into thought, and then to be used by it? There is nothing to indicate that Jesus spent any time in deploring the fact that he had been tempted; for he immediately went out and healed all who came to him for healing.

         The same lying, misrepresenting suggestions come to all of us in like manner as they came to Jesus the Christ; and they must be met and mastered by the same conscious unity with God, good, by knowing that man is spiritual and perfect, and that God is man's Mind, or Father. It is noticeable that Jesus' only reply to error was a Scriptural statement, thus showing that the Word of God is a sure defense against temptation. Here is a valuable hint to the one struggling to surmount evil's suggestions. Here is an effectual help to him in time of trouble. God is expressed through His Word, which is always clothed with majesty and power.

         That temptation claims to come in the guise of one's own thinking or desires is another subtle and seemingly effectual means of evil's approach. The student of Christian Science has learned, however, that true thought proceeds from God, good, has no other source than God, and that in reality man can reflect none other than the one perfect Mind. This truth, when applied, enables one to meet any evil pretension to thought as did Jesus when he said of evil, "He is a liar, and the father of it."

         Who will not rejoice in the fact that he has found a way to control his thinking? For who has not at some time yea, many times been the victim of insistent material thinking, which apparently refused to be dismissed? All these false arguments were only the suppositional claims of an evil mind, but they were not known to be such until uncovered by the truth as revealed in Christian Science. What comfort and courage may be gained by reading the emphatic statement found in "Pulpit and Press" (p. 3), "Know, then, that you possess sovereign power to think and act rightly, and that nothing can dispossess you of this heritage and trespass on Love."

         It requires fortitude to confront the false beliefs which claim to be one's own thinking, to separate the false from the true and to reject the former as unreal. But this method alone prepares one for quick discernment between right and wrong and gives one the victory over the beliefs of evil. It is a defense against the temptation of sickness as well as of sin. Mrs. Eddy's writings plainly teach that sickness is a temptation to be dealt with in the same effectual manner as that of evil thinking or wrongdoing. It arises from belief in a power apart from God, good. The Master showed in all he said and did that disease also may be dealt with as a temptation, and successfully overcome through the recognition of God as infinite power.

         When a suggestion of pain or disease knocks at the door of thought, the rule of Christian Science should be applied, as given by Mrs. Eddy in "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" (p. 392): "When the condition is present which you say induces disease, whether it be air, exercise, heredity, contagion, or accident, then perform your office as porter and shut out these unhealthy thoughts and fears." If the thought is not of God, it is not good; hence, not true. Many times, threatened disease has been forestalled with the simple assurance, "It is not true because it is not good." The refusal to enter into temptation, or to think with the error, brings light and freedom. In this manner are we to overcome, even as Jesus did; for he said, "Get thee hence, Satan," and the devil departed from him.

         The battleground is in one's own thinking. Our sure defense is the Word of God.


"'Enter not into temptation'" by Katherine Puffer
Christian Science Sentinel, June 5, 1926

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