On the first Sunday of Lent, we always hear in the Gospel about Our Lord’s temptation in the desert. Our Lord denies each temptation because they are not according to the will of God the Father. This Gospel is a great way to begin our Lent because it is a reminder that just because we may be tempted to do something does not mean we have to do it.
As humans, we have the faculty of free will. This faculty was given to us by God so that we can freely choose to do what’s good. If we do what is evil, we damage that faculty and make it easier to do what is wrong. What is wrong will almost always seem to be more immediately pleasurable, beneficial and easy. (For example, giving in to anger by blowing up at someone, or giving in to lust by watching pornography, or by giving in to envy by gossiping about someone, or giving in to sloth by not worshiping God as one ought. Each of these have a certain amount of wish fulfilment yet are obviously not good.) On reflection, though, these things do not give life nor are they in-line with the will of God. So, we ought to do our best to resist them.
How should we learn to resist temptation? First, we need to be steeped in the Word of God and understand ourselves from God’s point of view. It is important that we know our scripture and be fluent in it because that is God’s message for us on salvation. Second, we need to go to confession for our sins, especially sins that we have formed bad habits in and even go multiple times if we need to. We need the mercy of God in order to resist sin in the future. Third, we need to have the habit of prayer and really converse with God about our faults and ask for His grace. Fourth, we need to avoid near occasions of sin: all those harmful places and times that we know will trigger the sin.
Temptation is not the same thing as sin. Otherwise, Our Lord would never have allowed Himself to be tempted. Everyone is tempted at one time or another. But, no one needs to sin. It is the situation that God puts us in so that we can grow in Our ability to Love Him by learning to resist those things that draw us from Him.