There’s no ‘if’ about it. Temptations come.
Wouldn’t we fare better in our responses if we knew when temptations were on the way?
We can know—at least a lot more frequently than most people typically think.
Usually, temptations come when we’re experiencing some kind of pain or discomfort, whether emotional or physical, intense or subtle.
Why? Because temptation offers to medicate pain or help you avoid it.
Tempted to lust?
Tempted to criticize your spouse?
Tempted to eat too much pizza?
Tempted to have an affair?
My guess is somewhere inside you’re hurting in some way.
The difficult part is learning to live attuned enough to your mind, heart, and body that you’re aware when you’re hurting.
It’s difficult because . . .
- Emotions can be disruptive. It seems easier to ignore our feelings and get things done.
- We have a skewed belief that being hurt reveals a lack of strength, togetherness, or faith.
- We don’t realize some common emotions are in fact painful, or at least uncomfortable (a low grade form of pain): anxiety, frustration, and disappointment, to name a few.
- Some pain has been a part of our lives for so long, we no longer notice it’s there. But it is.
- We’ve unconsciously blocked some pain out, fearful it will overwhelm us if we “go there”.
In truth, God created us to feel, and when wounded, to feel pain. Not because God likes it when we’re hurt, but because pain is meant to urge us toward healing.
Or maybe better said, to draw us to the Healer.
So next time you notice pain or discomfort, duck. Temptation’s coming.
And next time you’re tempted, take a deep breath, and then take some time to figure out where you’re feeling pain or discomfort.
You’re in good company. Jesus Himself felt physical, emotional, and relational pain. (A thorough reading through the New Testament will cure us of any ideas to the contrary.) And He is near to you in your pain.
This strategy changes our battle with temptation completely. Without it, we’re more likely to find ourselves stuck in a pattern of getting hit “out of the blue” with strong temptations that threaten to overwhelm us.
Question: What are some healthy ways you deal with pain or discomfort that might help someone else? Leave a comment below.
The stress of having too many demands or tasks to accomplish creates discomfort that I don’t always notice but need to. My normal reaction is to work harder but instead I need to relax and realize everything will get done when it is supposed to. Jesus was busy but never in a hurry.
I like this article.
When I sense some emotional pain or temptation (when I’m on my game), I make a call to one of my small group partners or one of the leaders. when I recognize trouble REALLY EARLY and talk it out with a friend, then I am more likely to have a healthy-holy response.
Me, too, Darrell. There is something so powerful and good about bringing our real struggles into the light of the family of God.
My spiritual coach at regen has been teaching me to invite Jesus into my pain and/or discomfort. So I’ve been practicing – sitting on my comfy couch and asking Jesus to join me. I envision Him sitting next to me. I tell Him about my pain and He always listens. Then I ask Him to speak TRUTH to me. My pain is not always alleviated; sometimes, it remains. But I feel His presence and feel less alone in my pain. Feeling less alone helps to prevent me from turning to other things to medicate the pain. Thank you, Jesus, for being with us in our struggles 🙂
Wow, this is so good, Doreen. Thank you for taking the time to share it with all of us. God’s grace to you as you continue your good journey with Him.