The more serious the temptation, the less we admit to it.
Ten years ago, Barna released a survey exploring the new realm of temptations. Sure, that loaf of bread we want or the dessert we gave up for Lent still calls our name, but temptations are different in our new age.
And perhaps different also equally if not more difficult.
What tempts you?
When confronted with this question, there’s a temptation (see, it’s everywhere!) to give a more light-hearted answer.
Had I asked the question yesterday in worship, I doubt seriously any of us would have jumped up and said,
“Hey, I’m addicted to porn. It’s how I fall asleep every night!”
“I am so tempted by the alcohol I keep some in many different locations and places, so I can never be without.”
“Gambling is getting the best of me. If I have a spare weekend, I’m off to the casino, and now, have even discovered online gambling! We can reduce our grocery spending because we are about to hit it big!”
“When I feel like crap, I go shopping. Buying things ALWAYS makes me feel better!”
“I know I need to stop taking those pain meds, I do not know how. I’ve changed doctors a few times now so that I can still get the meds I need to not go through withdrawals.”
“She/he is SO hot! I find myself daydreaming about them every day, and when I’m intimate with my partner, it’s xxxxx that I think about.”
I have to admit, it was a little fun to come up with those statements.
And no, they are not personal confessions in a very passive-aggressive way. Nor are they things I’ve heard from any of you. They are fictional (and maybe from TV)! But the bottom line is that I’m pretty sure some of those things are not far from what we think. But are far from what we admit.
We like to keep our confessions at a high level.
It would have been more awkward if we’d started having a verbal confessional in the middle of the message yesterday.
But how do you deal with the deep temptations that face us all?
Remember, Satan/Lucifer means “light bearer.”
And evil is never far away from shining light on things that will cause us to take the wrong twist or turn on our path.
Hiding our temptations and pretending they do not exist is not the answer.
We have a powerful example of Jesus being tempted and showing us how to withstand temptation. Each time he was confronted, he went within himself, relying on the power of God learned and expressed through the Hebrew Scriptures.
Click here if you’d like to read the passage from Matthew we read in worship yesterday that gives us insight into Jesus’ temptations.
What do you have within that will help you withstand temptation?
“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”
(1 Corinthians 10:13).
God always provides us with an escape plan.
We must be willing to look for it, find it, and use it.
What if one step in overcoming our temptations is committing the verse above to memory?
Nothing is bigger than our ability to overcome or withstand it if we are grounded and rely on God.
P.S. As promised to the in-person worshiping community, I wanted to share the most frequent message about temptation. Some of you guessed it; it is porn. Small rant – It is beyond me why so many religious leaders are hung up on the “sex” realm so much! If we put the energy into solving world hunger and breaking the cycle of poverty that we put into talking about and fighting about sexuality, the world would be a better place.