Four Things You Should Know About Temptation.

I was recently encouraged by some dear friends to address the issue that men face concerning pornography.  I haven’t said much about it directly mainly because I was not sure how strong I wanted to be about it.  In the last ten days or so, I have been studying and reading quite a few statistics.  Covenant eyes recently released a report containing a lot of statistics about online pornography.  64% of Christian men view online pornography at least once a month.  15% of Christian women view pornography at least once a month.  To me, this is alarming.  While I think there are many Christians that are concerned for the direction of their country and are praying for their country, I think this may be hindering the prayers.

2Ch 7:14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

We all face temptation in some form or another. It comes to every single one of us. Even Jesus faced temptation.  Now when any temptation shows up, it tells us a few things.

  1. The first is that we are dealing with something that we know is wrong and we know that we shouldn’t eat it, say it, do it or view it. The word Tempt comes from a Latin word that means “to try” as in “to be put on trial”. That tells us that the temptation doesn’t originate inside. It starts when you are put on trial. Think on that for a minute because it means that you are being baited from the outside.
  2. The second thing it tells us is that there’s something in us that wants to go forward into it, otherwise it wouldn’t be a temptation. There’s something on the inside of you that is attracted to the temptation. Now I want to stress something here. There are some people, who would look at a man being tempted to view pornography and condemn him for the temptation itself, but I have to stress this, temptation is not sin. It isn’t right for anyone to be persecuted or punished just because they are tempted. The Bible is very clear that even Jesus was tempted. The Bible says in Hebrews 4:15 that Jesus can understand and feel our weaknesses because He was tempted in ALL POINTS like as we are. It finishes the verse though by saying that He is yet without sin. That means that temptation is not a sin. Sin only happens when we yield to the temptation. When we “Enter” into it. It’s the yielding to it that’s the sin. Being tempted doesn’t mean you have failed or that you are a bad person.
    Dealing with what’s inside.
    External rules and restrictions may stop the manifestation of the problem but will not address the real issue. The real issue is a heart issue and a man doesn’t necessarily need pornography to sin. The sad truth is that our society offers a variety of visual triggers that can send a man’s imagination down the wrong path. That’s why the real change will need to come from inside. With the decision to change and the continual maintenance of the thought life – (See Rom 12:1-2). A person will find it a whole lot easier to resist when they are continually renewing their mind with the Word of God.
  3. There is a third thing that the presence of temptation tells us.  1 Corinthians 10:13 tells us: There is no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tested above that you are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that you may be able to bear it. That means that you are not alone in being tempted.  In fact, what you are experiencing is common to mankind.  There are boatloads of men who are dealing with the same thing.
  4. God didn’t intend for you to bear up under the temptation. He intended for you to escape it.  Think about Joseph for a minute.  Potiphar’s wife was hot for him and day after day she was throwing herself at him and day after day he refused.  One day he went in to the house to do business and everyone was gone but her.  She really put the pressure on him that day.  She grabbed him and began to really press him to have sex with her.  Joseph knew that at that moment, it was not time to set down on the edge of the bed and talk this thing out.  He RAN, and she held on to his coat, so he ran out of it and left it behind.
    When temptation comes, it’s important to not allow yourself to be deceived into thinking that you are stronger than you really are.  If you think this way, you will fall over and over and over again.  You have got to have an honest and humble estimation of yourself and realize that in order to stand, you sometimes need to flee.
    God is faithful and He will not allow you to be tested above what you are able. Many people do not believe this. They think that the temptation that they experience is an irresistible temptation. That can not be true. To say that is to say that God is not faithful.  This level of ability to resist and escape is not the same for every person though. Not everyone can resist and escape the same level of temptation.  Because of that, God does not allow certain temptations to come on certain people. He knows that they do not have the capacity to resist it.  That tells us something very important. If you are facing a temptation, it’s because you ARE ABLE to handle it, resist it, and escape it. God will not allow a temptation to come to you that would cause you to immediately cave under and fall. If a temptation shows up on your doorstep, it’s because God knows that you are mature enough to face it and win! You have inside you the grace that it takes to be victorious. That’s why when we fall, we are without excuse. Sadly though, too many people aren’t used to resisting at all when temptation comes. It’s not the standard operating procedure for most of us, but the simple truth is that really walking by faith is a walk of continually denying the flesh what it wants.  The flesh wants to freak out when things go wrong, or when you’ve stumbled, but walking by faith means “Holding fast to the profession of your faith without wavering, for He is faithful that promised” Heb 10:23.  When you need that profession of faith in your mouth the most is when you’ve fallen.

There is a lot to say about this and I want to talk in the coming weeks about practical ways to stand & not fall when it comes to temptation.  Let’s just consider this the beginning of the conversation.  I would love to hear your thoughts about this topic.  Please join the conversation & leave a comment.  Also, consider sharing this post if you found it helpful and know someone else who might be helped by it also.

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3 Responses to Four Things You Should Know About Temptation.

  1. Mary says:

    A very timely message, and well written. Thanks.

  2. T says:

    Thank you again for your teaching on this. I wish everyone could read this! (Not sure if I left a comment on this yet)

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