Q. 1. What does the Catholic Church teach about avoiding temptations?
A. 1. First of all, let it be known that as long as we live in this world, we cannot escape suffering and temptation. As the Holy Bible teaches us, we must guard against worldly temptation.
"Stay awake and pray that you may not enter into the time of trial." [Mt. 26:41]
"No testing has overtaken you that is not common to everyone. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tested beyond your strength, but with the testing he will also provide the way out so that you may be able to endure it." [Mt. 10:13]
"Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." [Jas. 4:7]
Christians are called to "fight the good fight." fighting the good fight [1 Tim. 6:12] Each day involves being tested or tempted. In each temptation, we come to a crossroads where we must choose God's way. We must choose His Will, or reject it.
At all time, we must be alert. We must turn to God, avoid situations and objects that can lead to temptations. We must avoid idleness, always keeping ourselves occupied, either by work or by wholesome recreation. If evil thoughts enter the mind, we must think of other things, in this way ignoring the temptation.
Temptation in itself is not a sin. It becomes sinful (1) when we bring it upon ourselves by carelessness or overconfidence, (2) when we play with it, take pleasure in it, or yield to it.
Temptation is not a sin; it is only when we say yes to it. We can always resist temptations, because no temptation can force us into sin.
There are 4 stages to temptations. They are:
1. Take the necessary action to prevent the oncoming of temptations. If you are addicted to pornography, do not seek to view pornographic material in any form. Avoid it!
2. Resist temptations when facing it. If you unexpectedly come across pornograph, walk away from it!
3. Persevere in the battle. Occupy your mind with something else in order to overcome any thoughts related to pornography.
4. Thank God after a victory. Once the storm has passed, humble yourself and thank God. For it is by His grace that you have won the victory.