I often get asked how one deals with temptations. It could be addictions (alcohol, drugs, cigarettes, sexual, workaholic, shopping addictions….) or it could be obsessions and fleshly desires (selfish ambitions, greed, materialism etc).
At a Young Adults camp back in Canada, the speaker gave a useful illustration. The speaker asked the participants to think about a blue elephant and went on to describe the elephant that he wanted them to focus on… I love Dumbo the elephant – a cuddly large elephant with large flapping ears and bright twinkling eyes. Do you see it? You do? Great!
Now whatever you do, don’t think of that large cuddly blue elephant with large flapping ears and bright big twinkling eyes. Just don’t think of that cute blue elephant. What do you see? I’m sure if you are honest and focusing, you will still see that blue elephant.
However, now think of a pretty pink elephant, small and cuddly… with a little pink bow on its tail and endearing wide eyes. Imagine the eyes that look right into your soul and touch your heart, eyes of a pink elephant. Now what do you see? The pink elephant right?
To say YES to something, we need to say NO to something else. Life is full of CHOICES and God has given us free will. So if you don’t want to think about the blue elephant saying I won’t think about it is still thinking about it. However if you begin to think of a pink elephant which is quite different from the blue, then you will soon find you don’t think of the blue elephant.
We read of Joseph – the Bible not even once mentions that Joseph was ‘tempted’. His boss’s wife was throwing herself at this handsome man trying to entice him. He resisted her advances. One fine day however she caught him by his shirt and he ran out leaving the shirt in her hands. Of course she twisted the story. Joseph didn’t care that he had to lose his job and he didn’t regret being thrown into prison as a result of it. He stood firm.
Flee from sexual immorality – 1 Corinthians 6:18
Jesus didn’t take things lightly…
If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell – Matthew 5:29
He was demonstrating His heart and to do whatever it takes to get out of it.
No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. 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 endure it – 1 Corinthians 10:13
God is faithful and He WILL also provide a way out.. not may be, but will… Are you opening your eyes to the way out or you REJECTING it?
Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a PURE HEART – 2 Timothy 2:2
God gives us godly people as a way out – but often people who would prefer to wallow in temptation and send out false cries will reject the godly people God has placed in their lives and replace it with the things that are pulling them down. God is not a God who forces His will but gives us free will. Then there is no point crying out why God why? What will you do if Jesus returns tonight? Where will that leave you?
A lot of single guys who are ‘believers’ are commitment phobic and then struggle with sexual temptation. We need to remember David was not where he was supposed to be, he was at the wrong place and then his eyes wandered and the lust kicked in.. then one sin after the other to conceal and to get out of it…
Paul urges believers:
But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion – 1 Corinthians 7:9
No, a number of men prefer to ‘fight’ temptation, not flee from it, to stay single and burn with passion and succumb to temptation – avoiding godly relationships and avoiding the perfect plan of God. God made it clear that it is not good for MAN to be alone and thus He created WOMAN, a comparable helper.
- What is the way out in your situation? What are the vices or avenues that are leading you into temptation?
- When you say NO to your temptation, what are you going to replace the YES with?
Whatever the vices or avenues or social media platforms are drawing us away from being a holy vessel unto Him, ask God to help you re-evaluate what is really necessary and what you need to refrain from? Where is that you are meeting ungodly friends whom the enemy uses to tempt you? Are you willing to run away from those areas? Are you willing to burn the bridges behind you in those areas? Who or what do you need to ‘block’ from your life today?
Remember not everyone has the same weakness so there is no need to judge others in what they are doing. Each one to his/her own. So focus on the area of your weakness and replace it with godly thoughts and godly ways. Is it of any wonder then that Jesus urges us to love God with ALL of our heart and ALL of our soul and ALL of our mind and ALL of our strength… If we were doing that, how easy would it be to fall? We may stumble a bit but would be drawn back on track as our heartbeats resonate with what God’s. Our hearts are open to conviction which doesn’t allow us to stay in our fallen state. We spring right back up.
Ask God to help you be realistic and honest about your areas of weakness and to help you draw some boundaries in life.
without holiness no one will see the Lord – Hebrews 12:14
As believers to say NO to the ways of the world or the schemes of the enemy or the pull of the flesh, we need to say YES to the ways of God. We spend more time in prayer, in studying His word, in maintaining godly relationships with whom we can share openly about our issues yet who will not judge us but replace our thoughts with godly thoughts and keep drawing us back to the heart of worship, God HIMSELF!
Soaking in HIS love is always the best way to keep us on the right path! Trust me, it works 🙂 When you love someone with your ALL, you just wanna please HIM at all costs!!!