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Temptation

By Michael Lane, Executive Director, Delve Christian Ministries
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You shall see neither hook nor line, much less the subtle angler himself, while he is offering you his bait. And his bait shall be so fitted to your temper and disposition, that he will be sure to find advantages within you, and make your own principles and inclinations betray you; and whenever he ruineth you, he will make you the instruments of ruin to others. - Richard Baxter

No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it. - 1 Corinthians 10:12-14

At Delve Into Jesus, we offer a section of our website where visitors can post prayer requests. In the last few years, I've been overwhelmed and deeply saddened by the vast number of prayer requests for shattered marriages. From this and other evidence we've compiled from visitors, I am firmly convinced that Satan is attacking marriages with a vengeance. While this is going on, Christians remain largely unaware of just how quickly a marriage can fall apart if the couple is not wise and careful, and how devastating it is for everyone involved if the union is not restored.

In the vast majority of cases, marriages fail because one spouse is abandoned in order that the other spouse may focus on another lover. That lover is usually, but not always, another person, however it can just as easily be overwork, gambling, pornography, drug addiction or any other sinful passion.

Marriages don't fall apart overnight. Rarely does temptation overtake someone suddenly and without warning. There are signs and warnings all along the way that must be willfully ignored if one is to reach that moment when temptation seems too much to bear and life-altering mistakes are inevitable. Few married men, no matter how committed they might be to their wife, could resist the seductions of a beautiful, determined woman in a secluded hotel room. However, it would not be the lack of willpower in the moment that would be his downfall, it would the choice to enter the room with her - a choice that he should have foreseen would lead to a terrible, devastating mistake. The sin of lust has already been committed when a married man has allowed a situation to develop to the point that he is alone in a hotel room with a beautiful and determined woman. At this point, almost nothing could draw such a man away from the power of temptation and prevent him from compounding this sin. Meeting the woman at the hotel would have been the last, but certainly not the only warning sign this man would choose to ignore. At the very moment he felt an attraction to this woman, he should have understood and acted upon that serious warning sign and taken appropriate precautions to never be alone with her.

For others, their lover is not of flesh, but takes the form of addiction or gambling. There are abundant warning signs here too, as one descends from casual drinking into drunkenness, or from playing friendly poker with friends to midnight bouts at the casino. The fatal blow to a woman's marriage might come at the moment she bets the couple's life-savings on a spin of the roulette wheel, and here also the temptation to make that bet might have been too much for her to endure. However, the real mistake was to enter the casino in the first place knowing what the outcome could likely be.

If we are to resist temptation and the devastation it causes, we have to abandon the notion that we are strong enough to overcome all temptation by sheer willpower. This is naive, proud and dangerous thinking and it denies the reality of how temptation enters our lives. It is not a guest which arrives unannounced or unexpectedly. Temptation usually slides a foot inside the door at our invitation and once inside, rarely leaves until it has been satisfied. Our best defense against temptation is to deny it an invitation. We do this by making decisions, well in advance, about what actions are not acceptable in any and all situations. Then, with the conviction that our marriages, families, jobs, reputations and spiritual health are all on the line, we choose to never engage in these activities no matter how hard or inconvenient it might be. For some, the decision might be made to never let alcohol touch their lips. Others may decide never to set foot in a casino. Every Christian man and woman should make the resolution to never allow any kind of pornography into their home in any of its forms. Married men and women should resolve to never be alone with someone of the opposite sex.

Unfortunately, once we've made these resolutions, our work is far from done. The Devil will look for ways to weaken our resolve and convince us that we simply must make an exception this one time. Consider the salesman who is showing a rich, important client around town. What to do when that client asks you to take him to the city's best strip club? What to do when the attractive, single co-worker asks you to come to her home to fix a broken computer? Even with our resolutions firmly established, it will be difficult and extremely inconvenient to make the right choice.

The apostle Paul reminds us in 1 Corinthians that God always provides a way out when when an initial temptation arises. For example, when the man is first introduced to the attractive co-worker, or the woman first realizes that she desires to gamble - those are the moments when we must look to God to guide us away from harm before it is too late. We need to recall and recommit to the resolutions we've established which are, in turn, based on the standards which God has established.

Often, we need to be a little creative and resourceful in order to get out of a sticky situation. For example, we could try telling the client that we don't know anything about the local clubs since we don't partake in that kind of entertainment, and recommend a nice restaurant or sporting event instead. We can ask the coworker to drop the computer off at work and we'll return it the next day. There are many ways to keep our resolutions without resorting to simply saying, "Sorry, I can't help you." There is no need to antagonize the client or disappoint the co-worker if there is a way to help them without compromising our values. If we are delicate yet resolute, others will respect our values rather than being turned off by them.

Yet, if it comes to that, we must be prepared to simply say no and explain the faith which informs our choice, even if that means risking that the client or the co-worker may not understand. We cannot let anyone become more important at an uncomfortable moment than our commitment to God and our families. We cross the first warning barrier at our peril, for the surely the next one will be even easier to ignore.
 

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Comments


thank you
3/2/2009 4:42:46 AM - anonymous


Our resolutions must be remade daily for them to remain firm. Temptation takes no holidays!
3/5/2009 8:29:45 AM - anonymous


Very helpful thanks
3/19/2009 2:50:42 AM - anonymous


Thank you. I needed this.
3/20/2009 10:49:48 AM - anonymous


Thanks, I needed that!
3/23/2009 12:38:05 AM - anonymous


Thanks - great devotional. Exactly what I needed
3/24/2009 12:04:16 PM - anonymous


very good, much needed advice
3/24/2009 10:05:52 PM - anonymous


Thank you for the advice. It was something I needed to hear
3/25/2009 9:41:44 AM - anonymous


I am glad that I read this.. Thanks!
3/25/2009 10:21:18 PM - anonymous


I came to work today struggling over a temptation that I been dealing with for over a year. I had a dream last night that had me really tempted and confused and resolved to start doing devotions for the first time in a long while and this is what I found. It was so timely and nescessary. Thank you ever so much!!!
3/27/2009 9:01:29 AM - anonymous


thanks so much for more insight on temptation, this day i truly needed to read this! thank you JESUS, he knows all things! amen
4/2/2009 11:52:05 AM - catina, Member of Delve into Jesus since 5/19/2008


Thank you very much, I agree with you 100. We should try to avoid any situation that might put us in TEMPTATION. I don't agree with married man getting advice from anyone from the opposite SEX. A man should seek advice from another male, Even if you're christian. It's like a person which is recovering from alcohol addiction, should this person hang out at bars and liquor stores. absolutely not. STAY away from those things that make you fall, they can be people, places and things....
4/6/2009 5:58:33 PM - anonymous


right on time thanks for gods word my only way out
4/9/2009 7:46:30 AM - anonymous


The key thing that I have learned to pray is, Lord deliver me from temptation and make a way of escape. This has saved me from making very bad decision. On my own I would have been sucked into very wrong thinking. Temptation starts with a thought. The Bible says to cast down thoughts and everything that exalts itselft against the knowledge of God, and submit yourself to God. The Bible says that there will be temptations , but he would deliver us from them and make a way of escape.
4/15/2009 10:35:45 AM - anonymous


24 year old male... That was good encouragement you a young man working hard to win throught Christ. Thank you - God bless
4/16/2009 9:31:55 PM - anonymous


thank you God, thank you. i found myself in a very tricky situation, left with no answers and frustration and sadness only. thank you Jesus, thank you. as i find it hard to stand up for myself, i found this very helpful as i can now give this to my partner to read.
4/17/2009 5:04:35 AM - anonymous


I only wish my ex husband and I would have had this information a few years ago!
5/5/2009 2:17:43 PM - anonymous


I am glad that i read this.. thanks!!!
5/6/2009 12:29:44 PM - anonymous


This has hit home for me. I'm struggling with this as I speak. I'm trusting in the word of GOD to deliver me and reading this lets me know that there is a part that i have to play in bring this to past. Thank You and GOD Bless
5/10/2009 7:42:29 AM - anonymous


Thank you i needed to know a verse in the bible for temptation!
5/11/2009 8:07:33 PM - anonymous


This was very good!
5/12/2009 5:11:47 PM - anonymous


thank you.. it make sense forme
5/26/2009 2:31:41 AM - anonymous


Thanks; a poignant reminder, and very timely for me, of God's love and mercy in my weaknesses
5/27/2009 6:12:42 AM - anonymous


Thank you very much I was looking for something about temptation to read and it has helped me I will also share it with others because we are in a time where many are falling and as saints of God we need all the encouraging we can get to stay in this race and also knowledge of God's word.
7/9/2009 7:52:19 AM - anonymous


I really needed this , thank you. Gods timing is amazing!!!
I dont know how , when or why i came to this website - but i do know now that i have to trust God and his plan for me.
8/12/2009 10:43:10 AM - Bert, Member of Delve into Jesus since 8/12/2009


So very helpful, just what I needed to read and be reminded of. Thank you.
6/24/2010 12:15:05 PM - JaeJae, Member of Delve into Jesus since 6/23/2010



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