Today’s world has made it almost impossible to turn on the television, watch a movie, walk through the mall, or even drive down the street without being exposed to some type of advertisement, commercial or ad that places a beautiful woman or man with little to no clothing on a sign or billboard. The purpose of the alluring gaze, the chiseled abs and the enticing smile is to say one thing: “Come in,” or simply, “Welcome.”
This clever advertisement is true even with the foods we choose. Words such as: gluten free, “0g trans fat,” all natural, sugar free are all labeled with 2 goals in mind. 1) They ultimately want you to buy their product, but 2) they want a second look. The second look leads to possibility and leads to desire, which turns into justification, which leads to a battle to make a decision – we are not talking about food any; we are talking about sexual temptation.
Men and women experience this same struggle and the issue is only rising. While society and culture pushes the limits, men and women push the secret of their struggle further and further down. However, there is a way towards freedom. There is a path away from sexual temptation and sexual sin. According to Patrick Carnes, there are 4-step cycle to sexual addiction/sin that intensifies with each repetition:
- Preoccupation – the mood or “trance” that completely consumes the mind with sex. This creates an obsessive search for sexual stimulation.
- Ritualization – special routines that lead up to the sexual behavior. This intensifies the preoccupation, adding excitement and arousal.
- Compulsive Sexual Behavior – The actual sexual act, which is the end goal of the first two steps.
- Despair – the feeling of guilt and hopelessness about their behavior and their powerlessness.
You may be thinking – I don’t have an addiction – or – I don’t think my husband has an addiction, but I am worried it is a problem – or – I don’t want to continue living this way. There is good news! There is a way out, but it is not without effort from the one struggling with temptation and sin.
It begins with a prayer and a “cleansing of the mind.” 2 Timothy 2:21 states, “Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work.” James writes, “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you…” (James 4:8).
Paul goes on in 2 Tim. 2:22, “So flee from youthful passions (lust) and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.”
Paul also writes in 1 Corinthians 10:12-13:
Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall. No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”
This leads us to our 7 truths to overcoming temptation:
- Do not think for a minute that you cannot fall – Paul is telling those who believe they “have it under control” or those who stand tall to be cautious and take into consideration of the possibilities of temptation.
- Temptation’s desire is to overtake you – Temptations are not out there for you to find and try. Temptation will not only find you, but it can overtake you. Your temptation may not be sexual in nature, but this holds true for every man and every woman. The goal of temptation is to overtake and defeat.
- Your temptation is common to man – This statement Paul writes should fill you with hope. Everyone of us is tempted. You may think, “I’m the only one who struggles,” but Paul tells us that your struggle and temptations are common and you are not the only one.
- God is faithful – This is great news! He will surely not leave you in the midst of your temptation.
- God knows what you are able to bear – We face trials and suffering because God knows how much each of us is able to stand and bear in our lives.
- God makes a way of escape in every situation – Think back to your last temptation – how many opportunities for escapes presented themselves and said, “STOP!” It can be as simple as a thought, a picture, the ring on your finger, a phone call, etc. God gives us a way to escape… Look for it!
- God will help you bear it – You will be tempted, but you surely will not be alone. God is always with you and will be with you in midst of the fight.
You may be a spouse reading this in search for an answer for your marriage. you may be a husband reading this wondering if your sexual temptation has gotten too bad. You wonder if you can ever tell you wife, your children, your family. Regardless of your situation, you are not alone. Carry God’s word within your heart and have the courage to stand up to temptation. Psalm 119:9-11 states,
“How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word. With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments! I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.”
You may have questions and I would love to answer those questions for you. Please feel free to send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 317-474-6448 x 112.