Swedenborg and Our Many Temptations

Temptations are everywhere.

It could be that delicious chocolate cake in the fridge, or perhaps that bottle of wine in the cupboard.

These are minor temptations that we may be forgiven for indulging in.

However, temptations can lead to the desire to steal from others, cheat on partners, and to become hooked on addictive substances. (To name but a few examples).

What Was Swedenborg’s Take on Temptations?

Swedenborg was well aware of temptations.

In his writings, he mentioned temptation dozens of times.

Let’s take a look at a selection of his quotes on the subject:

Temptation itself is nothing other than a wrestling or conflict, for truth is attacked by the evil spirits and defended by the angels who are present with a person. (AC/4274)
In Temptations man ought to fight against evils and falsities as from himself, but still believe that he does so from the Lord. (AC/8969)
Temptations are continued to the limit of a person’s endurance, as I can confirm from experience, even until there is no hope left; but afterwards comes help. One reason why temptation is carried so far is so that we may learn what we are like in temptations, if God the Messiah does not uplift us, and so that we may acknowledge the mercy of God the Messiah. (SE/379)
Those only who are being regenerated undergo spiritual temptations; for spiritual temptations are pains of mind induced by evil spirits with those who are in goods and truths.(NJ/187)
In temptation it looks as if a person is left to himself, but he is not, since God is then most closely present in his inmost, and secretly gives him support. (TCR/126)

How Can I Use Swedenborg’s Advice to Conquer Temptations?

Firstly, just be aware, that temptations are always present in this world.

Once you’ve grasped that, then you’ll be ready to overcome them.

Swedenborg makes it crystal clear that temptations are a vital part of our spiritual growth. Without temptations, we are doomed to a stagnant and barren life.

So, one way to look at temptations is to embrace them as positive things - rather than trying to avoid or block them out from your life.

Finally, as Swedenborg states, the Lord is most closely present with us when we are undergoing temptations. Remember this, next time you are tempted beyond your limits.