Have you ever been tempted? Most likely you have, and it was probably by food. That’s a weakness of mine for sure. It can lead to more serious issues as well.
Dangers of Temptation
Giving in to it can damage your life, and relationships to God, family, and friends. A one-night stand that devastates your spouse. The impulse-buying that wrecks your finances. The fact that every addiction began with just one drink or hit. Friends are pushed away, families are broken, and if you’re a Christ-follower then your representation of Christ is damaged.
How It Starts
“When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.” Genesis 3:6 NIV
It was something that was available, desirable, attractive, and in the previous five verses, some pressure was involved. You can remove two of those and lessen the chances of giving in. If the pressure or availability isn’t there, then the impulse will weaken.
What’s The Harm?
“When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.” James 1:13-15
Lay’s Potato Chips had a slogan, “I bet you can’t just eat one”, a few years ago. You’d get hungry, take a bite, finish the chip, then another, and…soon the bag was empty. It’s a series of compromises, small at first, and then get easier to rationalize.
“It won’t hurt to flirt a little, nothing will come of it.”
“Just one drink, then I’m going home.”
Afterwards, you’ll learn and stop, or escalate. If you’re caught in a compromising situation, then the damage is done. I’m going to give you the secret to never getting caught.
Don’t do it. Simple, huh?
Temptation works on our weaknesses, our addictions, the hard-to-control urges. Desserts, alcohol, shopping, porn, TV, etc. If you know your weakness, then you can put some safeguards in place.
For example, you’re married, but the new girl sure is cute, or you travel a lot and are lonely. In the first situation, avoid or and keep it professional. In the second, stay out of places where singles hang out, like clubs or bars. Travel with someone who’ll keep you accountable.
It also attacks your strengths, too. Overconfidence can lead to an overestimation of your abilities. “I’d never do that.” A lot of famous people thought that and BAM, their affairs were trending online. Pride goes before the fall.
What Do I Do?
Assess and have safeguards in place. Be accountable to someone who will call you out. Your life should be an open book to your spouse; the only thing you keep from them is what gift you got them. Do not give the accuser, Satan, a foothold.
What worked with Adam and Eve, he tried with Jesus. The difference is, it didn’t work. Jesus stood on scripture and corrected Satan’s out-of-context scripture. The thought pops in your head, “they won’t notice if I take a box of pens from the office supply closet”. Counter it with ‘thou shall not steal’. “Everyone else is doing it,” will probably follow. Personalize Romans 12:2 or Ephesians 5:11 like this:
“I will not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of my mind. Then I will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
If it gets to be more than you think you can stand, use the ‘Joseph Method’ from Genesis 39:10. Run away. Pastor Rod says to shout “I love my wife,” so they’ll never flirt with you again. Still, if the option is there, leave. You can’t fall if you’re not there.
I wrote this because we all face temptation. It doesn’t go away, even for Christians. Broken homes, divorce, jail, unemployment, those times of pleasure come with a cost. Think about this…what will you lose if you give in?