C.S. Lewis reminds us in his sermon, A Slip of the Tongue, that temptations do not cease even after years of walking with Christ. Indeed, these temptations that arrive later can be the most soul-endangering of all. God help us “who have tasted the heavenly gift” (Hebrews 6:4) and are tempted to lose our appetite and appreciation for it, who begin to see obedience as only a duty and devotion as an obligation.
“This is my endlessly recurrent temptation:
to go down to that Sea (I think St. John of the Cross called God a sea) and there neither dive nor swim nor float, but only dabble and splash, careful not to get out of my depth and holding on to the lifeline which connects me with my things temporal.
It is different from the temptations that met us at the beginning of the Christian life. Then we fought (at least I fought) against admitting the claims of the eternal at all. …This temptation comes later. It is addressed to those who have already admitted the claim in principle and are even making some sort of effort to meet it.
Our temptation is to look eagerly for the minimum that will be accepted.
We are in fact like very honest but reluctant taxpayers. We approve of an income tax in principle. We make our returns truthfully. But we dread a rise in the tax.
We are very careful to pay no more than is necessary. And we hope–we very ardently hope–that after we have paid it there will still be enough to live on.”
Oh, how I ache for this to not be true of me, yet how often I fear it is.