Nothing physical can be the source of temptation. For temptation is the “pull” that operates at the level of inner desires and concepts.
Ex 1: a man sees a woman and thinks, “her physique is tempting me”. But that is not so. It is only his inner desire that, like a magnet, releases the ability to attract, which causes him to experience the ‘pull’ he calls temptation.
Ex 2: a boy sees a fruit on a tree and feels tempted to eat it. He believes the fruit will be delicious and satisfy his hunger. But then it turns out to be a poison fruit that almost kills him. So, the next time he sees the fruit, it does not “appeal” to him. Why? Because his original concept of the fruit’s qualities has been shattered through his painful experience. With this change in concept, there is a release of the tempting “pull”.
So, it is what we deeply believe and desire that causes us to be tempted, i.e. feel the “pull”, but not the physical object, person, or circumstance. If you test this in life you will find confirmation everywhere. As the Sun is not responsible for the type of plant that grows from the ground, so are others not responsible for the nature of our reaction. All people and circumstances can do, like the Sun, is to “reinforce” the preexisting seeds (desires and concepts) we implanted in the soil of our soul. With the right attitude temptation can be seen as a helper, for it is like a pond that reflects to us the image of our inner lives.
Hence, to feel a “pull”, there must be a similar desire or concept within.
And that is why, in order to successfully tempt, the first thing the “snake” in the garden did was to try and awaken desire within Eve, as well as implant a wrong concept of what the consequences of “transgression” would be. When both were achieved, the action naturally followed.
The point is, temptation operates in the realm of inner desires and concepts.
I have found this a helpful tool for personal self-evaluation in all circumstances.
~Ikenna Q. Ezealah