Would that all spiritual attacks were obvious; that would be easy for us to cope with, but no fun for the devils. They do their best work when we are miserable and unaware of their presence. They are opportunists and leap to take advantage of any opportunity that we provide for them. Yes, that’s right, we provide the opportunity. They have no power to create, not even the power to create misery ex nihilo, out of nothing.
Temptation arises when we are lured and enticed by our own desires (see James 1:14). We are capable of being misled, led by the nose, by the evil ones. That is part of their skill packet. We have been misled to think that temptation is only, or at least primarily, related to the various lusts of the body.
There is some perverse logic to that for there is often a fine line between legitimate desire and illegitimate desire. The Psalmist says, “every desire of mine is before you” (Psalm 38:9 St. Benedict). Every desire, good and bad alike! There are good and acceptable desires and a whole realm of more subtle illegitimate desires that arise from the soul and not the body. Foremost of these is our sense of entitlement.
We forget that in Eve we ate the apple and still are glad to do so. We are no longer entitled to all the blessings of Paradise; but rather to those entitlements that come from eating the apple. Oh, yes, I know that through Christ we are forgiven and accepted, but I have no intention of mistaking this place of testing for the Paradise of Heaven.
The tender mercy of God is that we don't receive that which we actually deserve, but as a loving Father he gives us many blessings because he loves us and wishes us well. We shouldn't misunderstand the nature of these blessings. They are pure gift, not that to which we are entitled.