Temptations

May 3, 2013 § Leave a comment

We all know that to be regenerated by the Lord, we must undergo temptations. We have all read about how severe and terrible the struggle between good and evil, between truth and falsity can be in states of temptation.

If you are like me, you may look back at your life and wonder, “Have I ever really been in a state of temptation? Surely I have not ever experienced  this conflict between good and evil, truth and falsity which the Heavenly Doctrines describe so vividly. And if I have not undergone temptation, I can not be regenerated, and I can not be saved.”

This passage from the Arcana Celestia is comforting.

[2] As regards temptations, they take place when the man is in the act of regeneration; for no one can be regenerated unless he undergoes temptations, and they then arise from evil spirits who are about him. For the man is then let into the state of evil in which he is, that is, in which is that very [life] which is his own; and when he comes into this state, evil or infernal spirits encompass him, and when they perceive that he is inwardly protected by angels, the evil spirits excite the falsities which he has thought, and the evils which he has done, but the angels defend him from within. It is this combat which is perceived in the man as temptation, but so obscurely that he scarcely knows otherwise than that it is merely an anxiety; for man-especially if he believes nothing about influx-is in a state that is wholly obscure, and he perceives scarcely a thousandth part of the things about which the evil spirits and angels are contending. And yet the battle is then being fought for the man and his eternal salvation, and it is fought from the man himself; for they fight from those things which are in man, and concerning them. That this is the case has been given me to know with the utmost certainty. I have heard the combat, I have perceived the influx, I have seen the spirits and angels, and at the time and afterward have conversed with them on the subject.
[3] As before said, temptations take place chiefly at the time when the man is becoming spiritual; for he then apprehends spiritually the truths of doctrine. The man is often unaware of this, but still the angels with him see in his natural things the spiritual; for his interiors are then open toward heaven. For this reason also the man who has been regenerated is among angels after his life in the world, and there both sees and perceives the spiritual things which before appeared to him as natural. When therefore a man has come into such a state, then in temptation, when assaulted by evil spirits, he can be defended by angels, who then have a plane into which they can operate; for they flow into what is spiritual with him, and through this into what is natural. (AC 5036)

 

I find it comforting to know that I may have experience temptation in my life, and trusting in the Lord, may not have realized it. I hope, and pray, that this has been so, but I cannot with certainty claim that it is so.

My only hope in salvation is to strive to examine my interior thoughts and affections, confess my evils to the Lord, and shun them as sins against Him. And then acknowledge that any good and truth I do or have is from the Lord.

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