What do you do in moments of intense temptation?
When I was struggling with strong and frequent temptations to view porn, a friend of mine gave me this counsel: “If you want to show God you love Him, obey Him.”
His advice was both unarguably true and utterly unhelpful.
I wanted to love God with a love that would choose Him instead of sexual sin. I just didn’t know how to get there.
To me, when I was in a place where I could access porn, I felt like a man in the ocean getting pulled under by a powerful current. Except it didn’t feel dangerous, but more like being pulled by a tractor beam toward something blissfully wonderful and otherworldly.
I wanted to love God and I wanted my sin.
It helped me tremendously when I began learning God knew my predicament and instead of scolding me for not loving Him fully, He wanted to help me. Instead of pulling away from me until I loved Him more than my sin, He was (and is) willing to draw near to me right there, in that place I need Him most.
If you’re finding yourself repeatedly turning to sin instead of to God, you need Him right there, too.
Instead of trying to give yourself to God in obedience, open yourself to God who is giving Himself to you in the midst of your temptation.
How do you say no to temptation when you don’t want to? These three truths about God will help:
- God is with you even when you’re tempted by things that stir your heart away from Him. In fact, if you notice even slightly that you’re facing a choice between following God or not, that’s a sign the Holy Spirit is stirring within you. His power is for you even while you still feel you want to sin. Even while walking on water, the winds and waves may not die down.
- He knows everything about you. So be open and honest with the God who loves you about what’s going on in you, even when it includes things like, “I don’t want to talk with you right now,” or “I feel like I want this sin more than I want You.” Telling Him is simply a way to open these parts of yourself to Him.
- He’s willing to help you even with the parts that don’t want Him. So ask boldly for His help. “Jesus, I don’t feel the desire to stop. Please help me,” or “Jesus, I don’t want your help. Help!” These can be prayers of great faith. Remember, He came not for the healthy but for the sick, not for the righteous but for the unrighteous. If you find sick or rebellious attitudes toward Him in you, He came for you.
The good news of “God with us” means we don’t have to be on our own in battling even the fiercest of temptations. And we don’t have to be alone in battling our love for temptation either.
Leave a question or comment below about what helps you in that moment of choice. I’d love to hear from you.