temptation

Image

Why has sex become man’s chief stumbling block?’ But has it? Or is it only the most recognisable of the stumbling blocks? I mean, we can mistake pride for a good conscience, and cruelty for zeal, and idleness for the peace of God etc. But when lust is upon us, then, owing to the obvious physical symptoms, we can’t pretend it is anything else. Is it perhaps only the least disguisable of our dangers. At the same time I think there is something in what you say. If marriage is an image of the mystical marriage between Christ and the Church, then adultery is an image of apostasy. Also, all the sexual vices have this unfair advantage that the very temptation is itself pleasurable: whereas the temptations, say, to anger or cowardice, are in themselves unpleasant”.

C.S. Lewis

 In this writing C.S, Lewis explains why sexual sin is so attractive.

It is pleasurable.

Other sins can cause immediate negative consequences but in most cases the unpleasant effects of sexual sin show up later. He goes on to say”If marriage is an image of the mystical marriage between Christ and the Church, then adultery is an image of apostasy”. Think of it this way:

When we commit adultery in regard to our spouse we are “abandoning our previous loyalty” to them.

When we give in to temptations that leads to sin we are committing spiritual adultery and “abandoning our loyalty” to Christ.

This is the scheme of the enemy to draw us further and further into sin so that over time through the hardening of our hearts we abandon true faith and loyalty altogether.

It is this abandonment of loyalty that leads to apostasy (a willful falling away from, or rebellion against Christ) that Paul speaks of in 1 Timothy 4:1

But even so, the Spirit very clearly tells us that in the last times some will abandon the true faith because of their devotion to spirits sent to deceive and sabotage, and mistakenly they will end up following the doctrine of demons.

The enemy does not care what method he uses to deceive or sabotage only that he be allowed to gain entry and allowed to remain. If he can convince us to proclaim our faith but not live it out we are on dangerous ground.

Sexual sin although prevalent in the church as much as outside it is one temptation or entry ways Scripture gives a strict warning us to avoid.

Run from sexual sin! No other sin so clearly affects the body as this one does. For sexual immorality is a sin against your own body.                                                                                         1 Corinthians 6:18

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 2:22

But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people.                                                Ephesians 5:3

It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality;                      1 Thessalonians 4:3

Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.                                                                               Colossians 3:5

 

Sexual sin first and foremost is an intimacy issue, a problem of the heart.

An article on the desiring God blog by Harry Schaumburg says this:

“As sinners we are created with desires for intimacy and for delight.

Yet the sexual sinner, finding no pleasure in real intimacy with God, ultimately finds no pleasure in false intimacy. Real intimacy has both pain and pleasure; false intimacy offers the illusion of no pain, but in the end there is no real pleasure! A part of exchanging the “truth about God for a lie” (Romans 1:25) is that you end up with pleasure now, pain forever!

But the real problem is hidden deep within. The least bit of lust is an indication of vast corruption in the human heart.

When one is held in the grip of sexual sin, there is no hope of self-reform or self-efforts, for those living according to the “passions of their flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and mind” (Ephesians 2:3). To put it bluntly, those living in habitual sexual sin are “dead in their trespasses and sin” (verse 1).

Dead, in a loss of spiritual life.

Dead to finding satisfaction with God.

Dead to living for his purpose.

Holiness is dead.

Wisdom is dead.

Purity is dead.

Love is dead.

Loyalty is dead.

 

Two men one of the wisest that ever lived Solomon, and the one who God said was a man after his own heart David, fell because of the temptation of sexual sin. David with Bathsheba, Solomon because of his many wives.

The following are some things to consider if you are being tempted or if you have given in to the temptation.

Understand the seriousness of sinFor you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure . . . has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God” (Ephesians 5:5).

Repent. It is better to avoid the sin altogether but for many of us that bridge has already been crossed. But it is not too late to repent, to turn away from sin. Not justify it or make excuses. 1 John 1:9 promises “But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness” Not just feeling sorry about our sin, but changing our mind. Romans 12:1-2 “Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”

Realize the freedom God has provided for us- Colossians 1:13 You have rescued us from dark powers and brought us safely into the kingdom of Your Son, whom You love and in whom we are redeemed and forgiven of our sins [through His blood].

Thought control-the battleground is the mind- 2 Corinthians 10:4-5 We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments. We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ.

Hope:Post-script

Image

In the weeks leading up to Easter this year I have sensed the Lords presence in a very special way.

Many times as I was writing and reading scripture, tears would come to my eyes and at times I felt overwhelmed by His love for me.

That He suffered all that He did for me. That He won the victory for me.

And the hope that I have is to know that victory.

Victory over my weaknesses, my fears, my thoughts, my circumstances and sin.

 But when I compare my experience to His or even to the dictionaries definition of victory

“to vanquish, to completely and utterly defeat, ultimate decisive superiority, to have success”

I come up way short…

I see this when-

I don’t give in to temptation (and sometimes when I do) the desire is still there

I am jealous of others

I am angry and spiteful

I am unkind to those I love

I am unkind to my wife, my children

I question if God will come through this time

I am afraid and not courageous

Does freedom or victory define my life? No!

 I am not alone in this. Someone long ago said

” I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate”.I am absolutely miserable! Is there anyone who can free me from this body where sin and death reign so supremely”? Romans 7:15-17

 Is there anyone who can free me?

I am thankful to God for the freedom that comes through our Lord Jesus, the Anointed One! Romans 7:25

The hope for freedom which leads to victory is in Him.

Jesus.

Yes I have a responsibility to be obedient to what I know, I must be willing to change, to live life differently.  I must have faith in the promise He makes

And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns. Philippians 1:6

 But it is not now nor has it ever been about what I can do on my own.

Understanding this brings the beginning of freedom. Freedom from self.

It is not all up to me.

 And as I trust in this, the old me begins to pass away day by day along with pride and self-sufficiency.

I begin to experience His power, His love, a relationship with God, and Father, a friend that sticks closer than a brother and I will not be the same.

And Scripture will be proved right when it says-

This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” 2 Corinthians 5:17

 Victory in Jesus! Our Savior forever!

 The song many of us learned long ago is still true

“Jesus loves me this I know,

for the Bible tells me so!

Little one to Him belong,

they are weak , but He is strong!