SPRINGFIELD, MO. — Several
years ago, I met a young man who confessed he had become “infatuated”
with a woman other than his wife. Though he was not physically involved, he
knew he was flirting with disaster. He claimed he loved his wife and didn’t
want to hurt her or disobey God, but he said “an irresistible force”
had lured him into an unhealthy relationship.
“What do you mean by ‘an
irresistible force?’ ” I asked.
“Temptation,” he replied.
“I’ve had a hard time overcoming temptation.”
“As believers, we’re
not slaves to temptation,” I said, referencing 1 Corinthians 10:13:
“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” (NIV).
With defeat filling his face, he
said, “I know that’s what the Bible says, but I haven’t
been able to deal with it.”
Unfortunately, many believers today
feel defenseless when it comes to temptation — as if there is no way
out. Willpower alone has not delivered them from evil. Many acknowledge they
haven’t adequately prepared themselves for temptation’s onslaught
by consistently spending time in prayer and reading God’s Word.
But there’s another step
that believers must take in order to overcome temptation. They must draw the
moral lines they refuse to cross; they must determine the spiritual principles
they will not violate. For example, if one wrestles with pornography, he or
she should stay away from Internet sites. If one wrestles with marital infidelity,
avoid spending time alone with a person of the opposite sex.
God promises to do His part to
help us “stand up under” temptation, but He also expects us to
do our part by drawing the moral lines we will not cross.
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