God allows temptations that are in proportion to our spiritual condition.For example,sometimes He may allow us to make a mistake,some small indiscretion,so that we may be more careful next time;or be able to completely avoid a greater evil brought on by the cunning devil.Other times,God allows the devil to tempt us,to put us to the test.In such cases,we are given an examination and,instead of harming us,the devil does us good.Remember Elder Philaretos,who used to say,"Son,to have no temptations today is to be abandoned by God."He preferred to battle every day against temptations,so that he might be crowned by Christ.
A strong person like Elder Philaretos does not avoid temptations,but rather, says to Christ,"O my Lord,send me more temptations and give me the strength to battle against them."A weak person,however,will say,"Do not permit me to be tempted,O Lord."And lead us not into temptation...But when we actually are tempted,we tend to say,"Well,I am only human and I cannot resist these temptations!"Instead,what we should say in these circumstances is this:"O my God,I am not at all a worthy being,I;m a rascal;help me become a worthy human being."I'm not,of course,suggesting that we should pursue temptations,but rather that we should confront them with patience and prayer when they do come.
In every spiritual winter,we should anticipate the spiritual spring with patience and hope.The greater temptations are usually momentary,and if we can manage to escape the lure of the moment,the phalanx of demons will go away and we will be saved.When man is united with God,temptations disappear.Can the devil do any harm to an Angel?No,for he will be burnt by the Angel's presence.
Spiritual life is very simple and easy;we make it difficult by not struggling properly.With a little effort,a great degree of humility,and trust in God,one can achieve great progress in the spiritual life.For the devil cannot find a foothold where there is humility,and where there is no devil,it follows that there will be no temptations.
-Can one fall into some sin by divine concession?
-No,for it is very grave to say that God would concede for us to sin in some way.God ever concedes for us to sin.It is we who make concessions,and the devil comes and tempts us.For example,when i'm proud,I expel divine Grace,the Guardian Angel flees,the other "angel",the devil,comes,and I smash my face on the rocks of temptation.This is our concession,and not God's.
-Elder,when we have fallen into sin,is it right to say,"The tempter caused me to fall"?
-I,too, often hear some people saying that the tempter,the devil,is the cause of their spiritual tribulations,when in fact it is their own fault for not confronting the situation appropriately.After all,the tempter tempts us.Can it avert us from doing evil?It's just doing its job.Let's not blame everything on the devil.There was once a novice who lived with his Spiritual Father ,and when left alone for a while,he took an egg and placed it on one of those large old-fashioned keys.Suddenly the Elder entered the room."What are you doing there?"he asked."Well, Elder,the tempter led me to cook this egg here,"the novice replied.And then a fierce voice was heard,"I knew nothing about such cunning art;I just learned it from this novice!"Some times the devil is actually sleeping.but we rouse him into action!