This is perhaps the most important lesson we can learn as we intentionally begin our journey seeking a deeper, more intimate, and effectively self-effacing relationship with our God and creator. The lesson concerns the reality of evil and the certainty of temptation. We are a big thing to God and the sentient powers and principalities understand this well.
Perhaps one of the best lessons I have learned is that we cannot prevent temptation in our minds. We will have tempting thoughts. We do however have the power to not dwell on those thoughts and thus limiting their influence in our lives. This is one of the gifts of engaging in contemplative prayer on a regular basis.
In contemplative prayer, one enters into the silence which begins as a desert to be crossed before we can be guided up the mountain. There is a river running through this desert that is the river of our thoughts. To not be taken in by the constant current of thoughts, a person must learn to let them go. A thought comes toward you, recognize it and let it flow on by. Temptations are but illusions of desire created either by our carnal desires or are demonically inspired. Either way, the only way they can influence us is if we dwell on them and allow them to travel with us. Let them go.
Just as Jesus did, by the words, “Not my will Lord, but Thine.”