Ten Helps for Fighting Sexual Temptation part five

22 May

How can you deal with the tremendous pressure you face to constantly be feeding your sinful desires at all costs?

Because it is unrelenting.

Paul in Ephesians 5:3ff gives a number of helps. We have walked through seven so far.

1. Pursue a self-sacrificial lifestyle.
2. Commit to taking a radical approach.
3. Develop a deeper appreciation for your new identity in Christ.
4. Practice thanksgiving.
5. Speak the truth into your own life and have friends who will do the same on a regular basis.
6. Be an idol smasher.
7. Remember and delight in the inheritance that God has for you in Christ.

8. Don’t let yourself be fooled.

Quoting Paul, “don’t let anyone deceive you with empty words.”

In other words, you have a responsibility not to be an idiot. Sinful desires like sexual immorality and greed come with arguments, but if you look very closely at the arguments they make, you will find that they are actually empty, in other words, not based on substance or connected to reality.

Think about greed for a moment. What does it promise? Satisfaction. I must have this to be content. But watching children for about ten minutes will make it very clear that desires like that are fickle beasts. A child can be so passionate about a toy, crying even if he doesn’t have it; get it, and five minutes later be crying that he doesn’t have something else he wants, having totally forgotten about the toy he wanted only a little while before. Obviously, getting what you want doesn’t produce contentment. How many examples of discontent rich people do we need to meet before we realize maybe the answer isn’t found in material possessions. We have known that for a long time, but yet, you know what, when you want something badly enough all of the sudden, those empty arguments sound kind of tempting. Or security. Doesn’t greed often promise security? But how is it on delivering? The results aren’t nearly as impressive given the fact that Rockefeller and every other really insanely rich person of his era is dead.

Sexual sin, too. The world is definitely making arguments as to why you should give in to every single desire you have ever had. In fact, the person who says that sometimes what we want is wrong, evil even – is labeled a bigot, harsh, unfair, wanting people’s worst. But think! Sometimes the noise from the world is so loud it is difficult to remember what God’s saying. It helps me though to remember who’s giving me the advice. For the most part, incredibly self-centered people. It is a little hard to trust people who are spending their lives focused on themselves when they give advice. But God. It is much easier to trust someone who gave up His life for me!

When Paul commands us not to allow ourselves to be deceived, he is telling us that we have a responsibility to make sure we aren’t allowing our lives to be guided by the misinformation we are receiving from the world. Instead, we must work hard at studying the gospel and the Word of God in order to understand what the will of the Lord is. In other words, we need to think about what we are thinking about. Sin does its worst when we aren’t thinking in ways that are true. When you begin to feel overwhelming desires to do something that you know is wrong, stop and look at what excuses you are giving yourself for doing it. Often, if you are honest you will see that those excuses are lies, and what’s worse, not even very convincing lies at that!

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