Forgiveness achieved. Soul ties broken. Deliverance received. The only thing left is the inevitable pressures of temptation. Well, how then can we deal with temptation? Firstly, we have to understand that temptation will always be a part of our lives. Temptation is simply just a reminder that we are human beings in an imperfect world, yet striving to be pleasing to the Lord. Temptation also reminds us that there is a war going on for our souls and we have to choose where our loyalty lies.
Ways of handling temptation
Before I re-dedicated my life to Jesus I would go to parties, get drunk, and get it on with any guy who made moves on me. This is how my mind was programmed; that at parties you just get drunk and allow any man to take advantage of you, all in the name of “fun”. So, because of this, after rededicating my life to Jesus I avoided parties altogether. I was scared that I was too weak to handle the pressures of guys showing interest in me for the night, or my friends pressurizing me to drink alcohol. Many of us do this but how long are we going to run away? I’m not encouraging you to now go to parties and get drunk, I’m just encouraging you to practice self-control wherever you go and in everything you do. We had a mini-sitting with my housemates last weekend, where we had a fire and cooked “poitjikos” in a three legged pot which was pretty cool. My housemates brought their guy friends over and there was a particular one whom I found really attractive. I had to battle with feelings of lust and refuse to see any man as a kind of a sex object. For the first time in a long time I was challenged to get comfortable with the opposite sex and not expect the end result to be getting up naked on his bed in the morning. I was challenged to control my feelings, to practice the fruit of the spirit- self-control. We get tempted but God has given us the will power to refuse falling into that temptation. There is no easy solution but to practice your God-given gift of self-control and depending on the grace He gives. When I went back to my room later on that evening I felt so humbled that through God’s grace I can actually have healthy relationships with the opposite sex, without our form of communication being physical affections or flattery. For some this may not be a big deal but for others it is, especially when they were programmed to think that every chilling session with the opposite sex should always end up in sex. You will never understand the strength that lies within you until you are faced with an opportunity to practice self-control. When you don’t allow yourself to get into situations where you exercise self-control, when you keep running away, the moment temptation knocks on your door you are most likely to give into it because you have not had opportunities to exercise your God-given strength. I fell into fornication months back because I had suppressed my feelings, I avoided going out altogether, I avoided the difficult situations, and when the opportunity to sin arrived, I dived right into it like a hungry lion which has just been released out of a cage.
I guess the question to ask yourself is, “Why should I not fornicate” instead of just telling yourself that you’re not going to fornicate because of something you read. I write this blog for people who struggle with sexual immorality yet yearning for freedom, not for those who do not understand. Chances are; those who don’t agree with what I write are just going to criticize and hate me, assuming that I am just being judgmental. Honestly, I pledged for purity not because I was told by someone that sexual immorality is wrong. I encountered a moment with Jesus who revealed my worth clearly to me. When you get to understand the purpose of your body or your life, you won’t need anybody to tell you to stop harming yourself with sin; rather you will glorify God in all that you do. Go out if you want to go out, but if you feel convicted by the Holy Spirit then don’t go out. Masturbate if you want to masturbate, but if you feel convicted by the Holy Spirit not to masturbate then don’t do so.It's no use going around asking people if masturbation is wrong when you know that its wrong. Stand by your conviction, obey the Lord. Remember that in everything that you do, you will have to deal with the consequence of the choices you make. For instance, if you choose to please your flesh through masturbation, you might have to bear the consequence of not having a healthy sexual relationship with your spouse which may lead to unnecessary problems. You might get caught and be embarrassed too. And frankly, you cannot be God’s vessel if your flesh has priority over your spirit. The point I’m trying to make is, don’t do something because somebody told you not to do it that would be pretense and hypocrisy, and in the long run you will return to who you truly are and the bitter fruits will show. Do something because you have a personal revelation from the Lord, if you don’t have it then pray for it. When I’m totally honest with God He helps me overcome temptation. I tell Him, “Father I’ve read blogs, books, I’ve heard people preach, they tell me to stop masturbating, but I still don’t understand why masturbation is wrong. I don’t want to stop masturbating because people tell me not to do it? So tell me why.” And He reveals my body’s worth to me. He reveals that I was not created to constantly please my flesh, but to worship God through my body. He reveals that He’s got a greater purpose for me that’s more fulfilling than seconds of pleasure pleasing my flesh. It’s not about people. It’s not about trying to prove that you can go long periods without having sex. It's not about proving your theology. It’s about obeying what God has personally revealed to you and practicing self-control, believing that even in temptation God is still sovereign.
Be still and know that I am God. ~Psalm46:10
Stay connected to the Vine
One day I was sitting on my bed and I had such a strong desire to masturbate. The desire was so intense that already in my mind I felt defeated. When I considered the feelings of guilt I was going to experience thereafter, I decided to pray. Our struggles draw us closer to God. He knows that you get tempted but He also knows that if you call unto Him, He will give you the power to overcome. One day when we get the victory over sexual thoughts, masturbation, fornication, pornography, we would know that if it weren’t for God’s grace we wouldn’t have made it. A few months after re-dedicating my life to Jesus I had temporarily mastered the technique of not giving into sexual immorality. However, it was in my own strength therefore I boasted about it. I would announce and write that I no longer think about sexual stuff, but I was boasting. Now I understand that I’m not strong, I’m not even going to try in my own strength. I am just going to go down on my knees and call out to my Strong Tower. I’m going to cry out to Him and say, “I don’t understand but here I am down on my knees again, surrendering all.” Every single day of my life I come to a place where I realize that I can’t do it. I come to a place where I want to fight with all my strength the sexual pressures I face, but I don’t have enough strength, I want to make a difference but I don’t have the energy. Every day I come to a place where I fall on my knees and say, “God I can’t do it. I give up!” (And He said unto me, “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. 2Corinthians12:9). Therefore I will boast about my weaknesses, for when I’m weak, then I’m strong!!! When I chose to pray about the temptation rather than giving in to it, I felt so uplifted. I realize now that God is more interested in a relationship with us more than anything else and the temptations we face are ways to connect us back to the True Vine.
What will make me fall into temptation?
I always go back to the time I fell into fornication. Before the deed I had achieved great things like losing 4Kg’s in a month, getting tested negative for all kinds of sexual transmitted diseases, coping with my school work and so forth. I had achieved the most intense fast I’ve ever been on, I felt really good about myself and my achievements. We are more likely to fall into temptation when we have achieved something great forgetting that it is God who gets the credit, not us because we wouldn’t have been able to do it by might nor by self-power. It is good to achieve great things and feel good about your achievements but the best thing is to always remain humble. Humility is the key. If you are proud and arrogant of your achievements, you push the Holy Spirit aside and He cannot assist you in your spiritual walk, hence you fall. Jesus clearly states that we can do nothing without Him. He also says that He will send us the Holy Spirit who is our guide, comforter, the One who directly reveals God’s thoughts to us. I’ve had achievements but they were temporary because I did not learn to remain humble during the process. We are most likely to commit sexual sin, particularly fornication when we feel clean and strong in our bodies and somehow we want to share our “cleanliness” with somebody. We fall when we feel pure about ourselves or when we've read many books and think that we have all the knowledge we need. Remember though that there’s always room for improvement. If you keep yourself pure in and out of season imagine the wonderful gift that you will present to the man whom God gives you? When things are going well for you, when you feel sexually pure, stay humble do not boast about your achievements lest you fall. My prayer is for God to change me where I couldn’t change myself, turn those temporary highs into permanent success. I pray that my Father will change me, and years from now I will look back and think, “If it wasn’t for the Lord on my side I wouldn’t have made it!”
Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the Lord our God! ~Psalm20:7
Remember that the fact that you face temptation doesn’t necessarily mean that you have committed the sin already. Many times we beat ourselves up when going through a moment of weakness and already feel unworthy. Temptation is inevitable, just don’t give into it. You have the power of Christ within you to refuse anything that causes stagnancy in your spiritual life. The Holy Spirit is always an ever present help during the temptation period, He will keep you holy. You will gain victory the moment you understand your worth. There will always be somebody of the opposite sex showing sexual interest in you but you won’t be overwhelmed by their sexual advances because you understand that your worth is not defined by the number of people who show interest in you, but by the God who resides in your body. You are His temple, remember that.
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me! Philippians 4:13