Which side would win?
Using Excuses or Passing Blame
I read Does the Devil Make Us Do Things? No, and here are 5 Reasons Why Not. It speaks of how temptation isn’t a sin, but acting upon it is. It reminds me how often we mix the two without even realizing it. At some point in our youth, each of us fulfilled the lust of the flesh. As we mature in age, so does our spirit. Paul educates the Galatians on how to Walk in the Spirit and not fulfill the lust of the flesh. Read Galatians 5:19-23
Seen this meme? If you haven’t, where have been? It’s been hanging out on social media sites and the internet for years. It’s a good motto to live this life filled with fun, family and friends while growing spiritually. Unfortunately we also use it as an excuse to sin, whether major or minor.
We may even say pass blame on the Devil with, “The Devil made me do it”. Satan merely presents the option to sin. We decide if we want to walk through that proverbial door.
“I Corinthians 10:13 states: “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.”
What You Can Do When Temptation Presents itself
- Before you act upon temptation, stop to think about the long-term consequences.
- Years down the road, will you regret it? Imagine yourself going through your life review with Christ.
- Imagine you are watching a tug of War between Lust of the Flesh and Fruit for your Spirit. Who would win?
Real Example when I should have stopped to think
I was a typical youth in my early twenties focused on living for the moment rather than years down the road. I can almost see you nodding your head thinking, “Yep, been there.”
Part of my daily tasks at work was to send emails to branch managers several times per week. There was one man I met from out-of-state, let’s call him Tony. (name changed for privacy). I was single and Tony was married. One day, he was due to visit for a meeting. He asked if I wanted to hang out and have some drinks. Naturally I said yes because we became good friends and a bond grew between us.
The night arrived and the very second our eyes locked, something changed. This bond we developed was more than friendship, but neither of us considered it. It was a right out of a movie moment when everyone in the bar fades into the background. Still, we sat across from each sharing our lives, laughing, telling funny stories… you know, stuff friends talk about. At some point during our fun evening between growing up and his recent wedding, temptation kicked in. Good old Lust decided to pay a visit and dangle like a carrot to a horse. It was strong. Too strong.
Yes he was recently married, and yes it took three attempts before they walked down the aisle, but that’s no excuse. We couldn’t have known we’d fall in love as we built a friendship. I’d rather not get into details, but we gave into temptation with a two-year relationship.
Do we regret falling in love? No, because even if it was bad timing, we experienced the steamy love which comes around once in a lifetime.
Do I regret not stopping to think about our actions to prevent it from happening? Yes. Yes I do. Regardless if he was a newlywed, we shouldn’t have given into our feelings.
I made my peace with Christ and he helped me to never again covet thy neighbors husband. I grew stronger, and that strength benefited me in many areas in my life.
Thirty years have passed, and it took a while to shed my guilt. I hope he and his wife are happy somewhere and he’s found peace with it too. Don’t fall into the same situation we did. Learn from our mistake and take a moment before you walk through the door of temptation and sin.
Consider Who Else It May Affect
- Who might it affect?
- Why do you feel you want to do this?
- Don’t think about the now, think about possible regrets. Will you have any in the future?
Theft, an affair, gossiping, lies, anger: regardless of the temptation, there is always someone or some bodies on the other end who are affected. Remind yourself of Newton’s Third Law: For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. In the example above, “Tony’s” marriage, while not sturdy to begin with, became even more unstable due to our actions. Our behavior hurt an innocent person.
If you have ever been financially strapped and had to tighten you wallet, many of us stop and ask ourselves: Is this a want or a need? This is a tool we use to pause before we spend money.
- Do something else first. This forces us to stop and clear our minds and conscious. With a clear mind, we can determine if it feeds the spirit.
- Chat with a friend or family member. We can always consult our external conscious for feedback from a friend or family member. They love us no matter what. Because they know us, they become our sounding board or life coach.
- Talk to Christ. Tell him what you are going through and ask for wisdom and guidance.
What do you do to avoid Giving into Temptation?
These are a few examples I’ve used in the past and work well for me. Do you have examples and stories? Share in the comments below.
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Have a blessed day. 🙂