Temptation is all around us. James 1:14 states that we are tempted when we are drawn away and enticed by our lust! Fighting lust is a continual, daily struggle. Marriages have collapsed as a result of someone lusting and subsequently falling into temptation. The Bible calls us to resist temptation. This blog post is an attempt to inform you of the tell-tale signs of temptation and how you can resist it – in an easily remembered acronym: T.E.M.P.T.A.T.I.O.N.
Let’s speak of it:
It’s safe to say that all temptations begin with time: how much of it spent towards the object of lust. An inappropriate or disproportionate increase in time spent with someone, something or someplace is the watering for any seed of temptation. Spend enough time with an object of lust and you’re setting yourself up to be tempted. Turn off the proverbial faucet. Don’t spend time with your source of temptation. Cut it off at its head before it cuts your head.
It’s easy to be tempted, but it takes energy or extra effort to fall into temptation. People have been known to stay up all hours of the night – fighting off sleep – so they can take a glimpse of something they should not. Some people create different email/facebook/social networking accounts just to hide their lust. There are some that travel miles just to get their lust fulfilled. When you begin to notice that you are putting more effort and energy to do something or to be with someone else outside of your spouse, temptation is taking root. Cut off any excess effort and provide no energy to pursue a source of lust and temptation will be starved. Keep one account for everything. Let your spouse know your passwords to your internet pages. Give them access to every “private” thing. No extra effort. No extra work. No excess energy. In fact, turn the extra effort and energy in loving and helping your spouse. Burn off the steam of temptation by pouring in work into your marriage.
The mind is the great battle field of the soul. Enticement begins in the mind. The mind is where we entertain the dangerous. The the mind is the soil of temptation. When there is increased time thinking about a source of temptation, you’re acclimating yourself to the prospects of falling. Temptation takes root in the mind. There are some mind changing tactics and techniques taught by many people that can help you stop thinking about something but nothing beats a God-delivered mind. Renewing of the mind in Christ Jesus stops the fight of temptation: the thing you use to love, you begin to hate. If you’re a believer: spend increased time in prayer and reading the Bible. Go to a church conference. Now everyone can do this: Fill your mind with positive thoughts of the future of your family with you as its agent. Read Philippians 4:8 and follow it.
When you married your spouse it is because you preferred him/her above all other. In fact, he/she became a healthy dose of desire. When you begin to prefer someone else or something else above your spouse, you are in the throes of temptation. When you prefer the fake over the real, you’re under temptation. When you prefer work over home, you are being tempted. Know this: all temptation is a selfishness issue. When you begin to prefer your source of temptation over your object of commitment, you are being drawn away by your lust. In reality, you’re not preferring your lust source, you are preferring yourself over others. The way to fight this is to: pray, proclaim and promote. Pray ceaselessly for God to help you continue to prefer your spouse above all else. This will help center your thought. Proclaim your love and fidelity to your spouse and family. This will focus your heart. Promote your spouse above yourself. This will get your actions inlined with your commitment.
As temptation builds something breaks in the tempted: you begin to tolerate actions/thoughts/things that you have never before. Thoughts of cheating, chasing and committing actions that you once dreaded to even think about are now given room. You tolerate extra work just to be around someone or something. You tolerate lack of sleep. You tolerate lack of money. If increased time is the water, then tolerance is the seed of temptation, it’s just a matter of time before it grows. Look for accountability among other men/women of faith and of known faithfulness to help you “root” out temptation. If there is something to tolerate, tolerate time with faithful people and couples with healthy marriages.
When you begin to change your schedule to accommodate someone or something that is a source of lust, temptation has begun to bud. Be careful when you reschedule times with your family and/or spouse so you can talk to someone or meet someone or be somewhere or do something at a certain time – you’re accommodating your lust. Become accountable with your time. When you know your heart wants to give way to lust, turn your attention to your family and your spouse. Starve that spirit of accommodation by communing with whom you have committed your life with rather than the one you are lustfully drawn to.
Drug dealers, from what I’ve heard, are experts in this concept: try it “just” once! Many people fall into temptation when they allow themselves the liberty to tinker. At this stage of temptation, you give justification for what seem to be a simple, “one time” action. Unfortunately, the blossoming of temptation is right here! People make statements to themselves like, “It’s just a lunch. Who would that hurt?” Or “I’ll just text him/her ‘hello’ so I can find out if he/she is alright.” This allowance attitude to tinker with a lust source can easily become a struggle, an affair or an addiction. Ask anyone who is or was addicted to anything before – from drugs to porn to hate – it took tinkering before it got them hooked. The Bible says in multiple places: “A little yeast make’s the whole dough rise.” That means that a little is enough. The best way to not fall prey to this aspect of temptation is not to start. Don’t tinker with things or persons that you know you have a lustful attraction to. Share your thoughts of tinkering with a pastor, marriage counselor or a trusted, faithful friend.
When you get to this stage, you are now consistently accommodating your lust. If you have not yet fallen, it’s will be just a matter of time. This aspect of temptation feels like a high school crush – everything is exciting; the prospect of falling gives you a high. He/She is also entertaining you as much as you are entertaining him/her. Your time is being consumed not by your spouse or family, but by your lust source. The Biblical answer for this issue is consecration. It’s time for you to set apart time for your spouse and yourself alone loving on each other. This is a “high” killer. It will tear you apart – a tell-tale sign that you are truly involved and about to fall into temptation. Cut off all communication with your lust source. If you love your spouse and family and your lust source is in your job, quit. Do something drastic. Chain saw the growing monster of infidelity and lust. If not, you’re onto the next stage of temptation.
It’s now just a matter of opportunity. You are now open for your dangerous, life altering business. You are acting like a shark. A predator. The high that you have been nourishing for some time has now made you obliviously to what you’re about to lose or the damage you can cause. The only thing holding you back a bit is the notion of being caught, but you have gotten it almost figured out if not already. This is a critical time. Even without yet falling, you must admit to yourself that you have fallen already for openness is an emotional/spiritual form of cheating. Take a long hard look at your spouse and your children and your legacy: Is this what you want to be known for? Is your name, what you worked for, who people deem you to be, the future you had thought to build worth fleeting moments of pleasure with your lust source? Count the cost. Literally write down what you would lose. This seems a ridiculous exercise of futility, but just the fight that will go on in your heart and mind – as well as your physical body – can make you shake at the possibility of losing what you initially loved the most.
You’ve fallen now but there’s still time to get out! (Especially if you’ve not yet done the real deed.) The problem is you think fondly of the prospect of falling and are now neglecting everything else that was once important. You’ve lost sight of what’s right. You are only concerned about fulfilling your “wonderful” daydreams. You have counted the cost and your lust source has outweighed your current life. As you move around in your make-believe world, you neglect to see the needs of your spouse and family. Your responsibilities at home or at work seem mundane compared to a time in ecstasy. In fact, you have justified your lust. You feel empowered by your “new found love.” Get a hold of yourself! You’re an idiot! You’re heart has deceived you! If your lust source is edging your spouse out of the picture, he/she will do the same to you at some point. And, no, your imagined “soulmate” is not “perfect”. If they’re willing to fall to temptation as you are, they are wicked as you have been for some time now. It’s time for full repentance and renouncement of what you feel is better than your marriage. Go down memory lane with your spouse. Visit the place of your honeymoon. Get nostalgic with your current life and neglect your lust source. This will be very tough. But you are made to fight temptations. And, if you’re a believer, then greater is He that is in you that he that is in the world! You can do it. You can win!
One wonderful thing: temptation is built to be difficult to fall for. All 10 aspects of temptation have got to be in operation in order for you to fall. One broken link in the chain of temptation can make the whole thing stop. Find your weak link. And run with it until it’s over, you’ve resisted and have overcome. God bless you in your fight.
If this post has been beneficial to you, kindly share it with your spouse, family and friends. Let me know what you think. If this has helped you or someone you know, please comment below. Thank you.