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.