How Temptation Can Actually Be a Gift

Temptation is a gift.

I know what you’re thinking… Um, what? You’re kidding, right?

But no, I am serious. Those are the words directly from the mouth of Fr. Peter Cameron, Dominican Priest and regular spiritual director on The Inner Life® on Relevant Radio®. And lest you remain in a state of shock, he offered some additional explanation and guidance on the topic.

“The reality is that temptation is a device that God uses in His divine, loving, tender providence to draw us more and more into intimacy with Himself, perfecting us so that we can be saints.”

Fr. Cameron explains that temptation plays a unique role in our sanctification, and points out that even Jesus Christ allowed Himself to be tempted by the Devil before beginning His public ministry.

We tend to look at temptation as an enemy. It’s easy to fail when temptation comes our way, so it’s something we try to avoid and might even feel resentful towards. But what if we looked at temptation as an opportunity to succeed?

“It’s horrible for Jesus and it’s horrible for ourselves, but the reality is when Jesus emerges from that desert after forty days, He’s not the same man He was when He entered. And the same is true of us when we are tempted.”

So why does God allow temptation in our lives? It makes us stronger, holier, and allows us to love God more fully. After overcoming temptation, we can have more certainty in God’s love for us and our love for God. “But it comes only by the act of renouncing the things that temptation makes us renounce, leaving unimportant things or things that really don’t deserve to have priority aside, and clinging to the Father as sons and daughters of God.”

Does the Devil target the lost and sinful, or does he go after the good and holy ones? It might seem like the weak are easy targets, but the Devil has more to gain by destroying the holiest among us. “The temptation of God’s Son in the desert seems to indicate that he tempts people who are good,” says Fr. Cameron. “Why in the world would the Devil who has plenty of other things to do, waste his time tempting people who are already lost?”

Therefore, Fr. Cameron congratulates you for being tempted. If you are facing spiritual attacks and the Devil is spending time trying to turn you away from God, this is a great thing.

“It means that you are on the path to holiness! So much so that you have caught the attention of the Devil who has to stop what he’s doing to try to pry you away from your intimacy with God because he sees it to be a threat.”

For more on the gift of temptation, listen to the podcast:

Tune in to The Inner Life® weekdays at 11am-noon CT only on Relevant Radio®.

Lindsey is a wife, mother, and contributing author at Relevant Radio. She holds a degree in Journalism and Advertising from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Lindsey enjoys writing, baking, and liturgical living with her young family.