The other day, a young lady met me and, in the course of her talk, said, “I can resist everything except temptation.”How true it is! No man matriculates to the art of life till he is well tempted and overcomes every temptation.
They meet me—young men and women, in whose hearts is the aspiration to live the new life, the life of simplicity and service, of purity and prayer, of love and compassion. Young men and women, not yet tainted through contact with worldliness; pure, young, eager souls.they ask me: why are we tempted? What is the place of temptation in life? Why can we not have a world without temptations? What a wonderful world it would be, where everyone could live a pure, chaste, clean life! What is the purpose of temptation? Why do we have temptations at all? My answer to them: temptations are the dumbbells of the soul.
In my boyhood days, I had joined a gymnasium. Every evening, I exercised with dumbbells. One evening, I asked my instructor, “What is the use of doing this exercise, day after day?” He answered, “As you do this exercise, your muscles will strengthen.”
Just as dumbbells strengthen our physical muscles, temptations strengthen the muscles of our soul. They develop our hidden spiritual strength, unlock the hidden powers of the spirit.
From temptations to glory
There was once a holy man. His life was as pure and chaste as the waters of the Ganges. He lived in the fear and love of God. His life was a source of inspiration and joy to many around him. He lived to a ripe, old age. Soon after he passed away, one of his companions had a dream. In the dream, he saw the holy man occupying a place of honour in heaven, surrounded by angels. “He is a great saint and occupies a prominent place in heaven, because he succeeded in overcoming many temptations,” the angles said.
A person becomes holy in the measure in which he overcomes temptations. Instead of complaining, let us bless God for our temptations. They come to unfold our hidden spiritual strength. They come to make us spiritually strong. Truly, temptations are the dumbbells of the soul.