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5 Steps to Shutting Down Temptation

When temptation comes knocking, you have more options than slamming the door and running away. In fact, fleeing can actually contribute to the cycle of sexual sin. Here are 5 Steps to Shutting Down Temptation.

So, let’s face temptation head on with feet firmly planted. In this episode, Josh offers 5 steps to help you shut down temptation. 

While the enticement can be loud and dizzying, you have options.

If your body is charged with the bait of temptation, let’s begin with a simple prayer: “Lord, bring your Holy Order to this disorder.”

Let’s dive in!

Highlights:

When you’re tempted take notice of your breathing and slow it down.

God has put you in a physical body and in the body of Christ

As you slow down, be curious why you’re feeling temptation.

Homework:

Take some time to write out the 5 steps on an index card.

  1. BREATHE in through your nose (count to 4) and out through your mouth (count to 8).
  2. CALL A FRIEND write down their name and number here
  3. OPEN YOURSELF TO GOD “Lord, bring your Holy Order to this disorder.”
  4. BE CURIOUS: What am I feeling – angry, lonely, rejected, anxious, stuck? Name it.
  5. TEND TO THAT PART OF YOU: now that you’ve named the feeling, how can you care for yourself?

A Prayer: “Lord, I need Your help right now. I’m really tempted. Lord you are here and I open myself to you. Enter in. Slow my heart down. As I breathe and try to slow down; I acknowledge that you are present with me and know all that’s happening inside of me – my thoughts, my mind, the thoughts of my heart. You are here. You are present and know what my body feels like right now. I open myself to you Jesus.”

Extras:

“Unwanted: How Sexual Brokenness Reveals Our Way to Healing” Jay Stringer

If you want to learn more, check out Josh’s latest musing on this topic at, When Temptation Comes Knocking

Click for Full Podcast Transcription

So recently I was online, scrolling through videos kind of mindlessly and I came across one that just struck a nerve with me. And what I mean by that is, I felt tempted by it. What do you do, when you’re tempted? What do you do when you’re in the moment where you experience sexual temptation, but this could apply to any kind of temptation. But I’m going to talk about sexual orientation today, when the electricity is going, and you can feel it in your body, when the tractor beam is pulling you in that direction, when your thoughts are racing, and you’re thinking about old things you’ve seen or done. And, and it just feels like you know, somebody just turned a switch on and things are fired up. And you, you want to do the thing that you don’t want to do. What do you do in that moment? What do you do, when those moments come? Because they do. Jesus give us wisdom as we unpack this a bit today. And I pray for every person listening that you would speak to them as they learn to deal with this part of their lives. In Your name, I pray Jesus, Amen. So I want to give you just five things I think that can help. First of all, first thing you can do is breathe. When you’re tempted, breathe, and I mean, literally, like, notice your breathing, slow, your breathing down. In general, slow down. So slow, down and breathe. That’s the first thing that you can do. Breathing deep breaths in and out, can actually help to calm you down, help to lower your blood pressure help to center you a bit. This is important, because a lot of us and I think this is part of the strategy of the enemy. When we start feeling tempted, is we want to run you know, there’s just things are like what I talked about the electricity inside, things are moving fast, and we don’t want to slow down. Some of us are afraid that if we slow down, we’re just gonna get overwhelmed pommel tackled by by the sexual sin by temptation. And we might even remember here, Paul’s admonition to flee sexual immorality. In first Corinthians six, Flee sexual immorality for all of their sins a person commits are outside his body, but the one who sins sexually sins against his or her own body, Flee from sexual immorality. But we have to remember Paul does not say, flee from yourself. He doesn’t even say, Flee from sexual temptation, I’m going to talk about that a little bit more in a minute. Fleeing can often be a part of the cycle and get it actually be contributing to the cycle. And I’ll explain why more in a minute. But for now, breathe, breathe, slow down and breathe. Second thing you can do is, is connect with an ally or a friend connect with somebody who’s on your team. Preferably somebody who knows about this area of temptation and struggle for you. You can call and just say, Hey, listen, I’m feeling an increase in temptation. Right now. This is where I am, this is what I’ve been thinking about doing. Would you pray for me? Can I connect with you, sometimes even just leaving a voicemail for somebody can really, really help in that situation, just, you know, take 60 seconds and leave them a voicemail. Now notice I said, talk to I know a lot of people who who text, it just doesn’t have the same, it doesn’t do the same thing. It just doesn’t. There’s something about calling that actually I mean, it’s a more vulnerable thing to do. Because if you text a group of people or text somebody, it’s kind of just common that you may or may not hear from them. And you don’t know necessarily if they’ve read what you’ve written. But calling you know that somebody on the other end of the line is either going to pick up the phone or they’re not they can talk or they can’t. And it’s just more personal that way. And there’s something about using your body more using your voice, you got to dial the number, using your voice to leave the words. And if somebody picks up, then you’re actually talking to their human being. And you’re not only using words you’re hearing them talk to you can hear the tone in their voice. There’s something more powerful about that than texting. So at least a phone call to to an ally, a brother, a sister, a friend, who is on your team can support you and at minimum pray for you. Huge, huge help. I’ve done this for 20 years. And I I can tell you that I just know unequivocally that people say there’s just nothing like a phone call, it actually does make a significant difference. One of the guys who used to be in one of my small groups would say you got to pick up that 100 pound telephone, it’s the last thing you want to do, but it actually is one of the most effective things you can do. So that’s the second thing is connect with a friend or an ally. The third thing, third thing is you want to open yourself to God. Now why didn’t I say that first? Well, because if you’re rushing, rushing, rushing, rushing, rushing inside and you’re not trying to slow down, if you and you’re not connected with another person Then, a lot of times when people try to connect with God, it’s kind of it’s half hearted. So yes, of course, connect with God right away. Don’t wait until you call somebody, don’t wait until you’ve slowed your breathing down, connect to them right away. But I just want to highlight the importance of those other things first, because I think sometimes we get overly kind of, I don’t know, pious, and we, we start with the connect with God thing, but we don’t do anything else thinking, just connecting with God will be enough for me. But God has put you in a body, your physical body, and he’s put you in the body of Christ. And so I would encourage you, slow down, connect with your body, slow down, connect to the body of Christ, as you connect with God, so connect with God, and I use the word open yourself to God, there’s a difference, because I think a lot of times, especially in moments of temptation, or high stress, we’re kind of just like, you know, sending our prayers out to God, you know, God helped me, help me, help me help me, which you know, amen. Do that do that God hears our prayers. But if we can slow ourselves down, to open ourselves to God, to seek to be present to him, and present to his presence with us, that’s a different kind of space. And you can hear all through these things. We’re trying to slow things down a little bit. So open yourself to him. Yes. You know, send it the cry of your heart. Lord, I need your help. Right now. I’m really really tempted. I need your help. Lord, you are here. And I opened myself to you enter in slow my heart down as I breathe. I breathe and try to slow down, Lord, I acknowledge that you are present with me. And you know, all that’s happening inside of me, my thoughts, my mind, the thoughts of my heart, you are here your present, you know, my body feels like right now, I opened myself to You, Jesus. And as you do that, don’t try to hide the reality of what you’re wrestling with. I know so many people feel this kind of embarrassment about talking to God about their sexual feelings. Well, guess what God gave you sexual feelings. So don’t be afraid to let him know the truth. You don’t need to pretend or posture before God. And so if you find in yourself a desire to connect with him and to leave your sexual sin behind and not give into temptation, tell him that. But if you find your in yourself a desire to kind of, you know, hang up the phone on God and say, God, I, I, you know, and run to your sexual temptation to let him know that to most likely you’re going to be in a place of conflict. If you’re actually trying to open yourself to God, then most likely you’re feeling some level of conflict, Lord, I want the sin I can feel the desire for my sin, my body. But I don’t want that. I want you, Lord, I want you enter into that space. When one of my colleagues Bob Regan, has prayed this prayer, Lord, bring your Holy Order into this disorder. Bring your Holy Order into my chaos. I’m in conflict, bring bring your unity, bring your peace into this place. So that’s number three. Number four, be curious. Be curious as you slow down. Be curious about why you’re feeling temptation right now. Now, I mentioned a situation where I ran across something as I was scrolling through videos. But if you if we slow that down a little bit, what was I doing scrolling through videos mindlessly? I was I was dissociating, I was binging. Why was I doing that there was something else going on? Be curious about the situation. Very, very, very, very rarely will you be triggered and find that kind of electrical charge and that that significant pool of temptation, just because you ran across something. We run across stuff all the time you encounter people all the time. But most likely, there’s a reason you’re more vulnerable in this situation, to be drawn into temptation. So be curious about that. So Jay Stringer, in his book unwanted uses this example. He says, When you’re curious about your temptation, you’re not inviting the temptation into the house, you’re not. But temptation is showed up on your doorstep. And so you’re cracking the door open, and you’re having a conversation with temptation, while it remains on the doorstep. It’s not allowed to come in, you know, you keep the door bolted if you need to. But you’re curious about why it’s there. Do not let it in. And you recognize there’s a difference here as we’re trying to be mindful and curious. There’s a difference between toying with our temptation, kind of beginning to fantasize and think about it a little bit. That’s not what we’re talking about here. We’re being curious about what’s happening inside of us, and why we may be drawn to the thing we’re being drawn to. And the lines here can get blurry. I acknowledge that. And this is a place where you’re going to want to grow in self awareness. Am I fantasizing here? Or am I actually being curious, it’s another great reason to be connected to the Lord in this for the light of his conviction in his clarity, and be connected to it to an ally or a friend who can help you with this. If you got an ally or friend who can actually be curious with you all the better. All the better. So be curious. So imagine like this, something inside your house Something inside of you made a phone call to temptation and said, You got to come get me. You know, I need sexual center. And so where was that what room of your house made that call? I mean, temptation came knocking, you’re ringing the doorbell. It’s answering a call. What inside of you made the call? And I’m not talking about trying to vilify or be angry at some part of you. This is about being curious. Curious. So again, if you haven’t heard me say this in the past, often when temptation arises for us, it’s because we’re in some type of a physical or emotional pain or distress or discomfort, some type of physical or emotional pain, or distress or discomfort. What part of you might be feeling that right now? Are you feeling angry? Refilling lonely? Are you feeling rejected or vulnerable? Are you feeling scared or anxious about something? Are you feeling frustrated in some area? Are you feeling helpless or stuck? Explore that be curious about that. Temptation showed up on the door, and shut the door and temptation and say, Hey, everybody, you turn back to us? Who are the pizza, you know, like, I mean, who called for temptation, and talk to me what’s going on. And that leads to number five. The last thing on the list, tend to that part of you tend to that part of you. When you find out, I think that temptation is stirring right now because I’m feeling lonely, then tend to the loneliness. Honor that part of you. This is not the time to, you know, like, I just use illustration, like who ordered the pizza, you don’t yell at that you shouldn’t have done that. That’s not the time for this. We again, we’re trying to slow everything down here. So we don’t need to be in a flurry of action or activity or anger. What we can do right now is we can tend to that part of us you feeling lonely? Talk to me about the loneliness? Why am I feeling lonely? And how do I tend to loneliness? Well, again, go back to that, you know, call it ally, a friend. And now if you’re on the phone with an ally or friend, and you realize part of what’s going on for me is I’m lonely. You tell the friend that feeling lonely? Would would you be up for chatting for a while? I’m feeling lonely? Would you be up for a FaceTime call? I feel lonely. Would you be willing to get together for coffee? Sometimes this will happen in the presence of other people. I didn’t experience not too long ago, where I was feeling lonely and helpless. And I noticed that I was pushing myself away from people in my house in my family, my literal house. My wife literally asked me she’s like you, you seem stressed? Can I help in some way? I was like, no, no, I’ll take care of I’ll take care of it. I went into the next room. And I was like, Why? Why? Why I need help. I do need help. So I turn around. I said, Honey, actually, I could use your help. I’m really feeling stressed right now. Can you help me, we want to tend to the place that’s in need. And sometimes we can do that on our own. Sometimes we need to reach out to other people. Sometimes we need to reach out to God. Usually it’s all three. It’s all three. So those are the five things. We want to we want to slow down and breathe. We want to connect with an ally or friend. We want to connect with God by opening ourselves to Him. We want to be curious about why temptation is coming knocking why we’re feeling so strongly right now. And we want to tend to that place that called out for temptation is calling out for for sexual, some type of sexual connection. There’s a lot there. If it’s all new to you. Let us know we’d love to walk with you and help you learn how to do that more on your own. But do those five things grow in those five things? It’ll make a huge difference for you as you’re trying to battle temptation. So Lord, You commanded us to pray, Lead us away from temptation and deliver us from evil. So I pray that for myself, and for my brothers and sisters listening right now. And then the Father, Son, Holy Spirit, Amen.

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