Tempted by­sexPart 2

Jamaica Gleaner - - FAMILY & RELIGION - DWIGHT FLETCHER Pas­tor of Trans­formed Life Church. Send feed­back to fam­ilyan­dreli­gion @glean­erjm.com.

LAST WEEK, we looked at nav­i­gat­ing the temp­ta­tion of sex. We said that God cre­ated sex and has wired us to de­sire it, but that His view of sex is that it is a sa­cred and pri­vate gift to mar­ried cou­ples.

We also looked at the three se­duc­tions that can ruin us, i.e. suc­cess, in­vi­ta­tion, and op­por­tu­nity and iso­la­tion. By look­ing at Joseph’s ex­pe­ri­ence in Ge­n­e­sis 39: 6-14, we saw that it is pos­si­ble to deal di­rectly with sex­ual temp­ta­tion tri­umph over it.

This week, we con­tinue with some prac­ti­cal lines ac­tion we can take to ex­pe­ri­ence sim­i­lar break­throughs in our lives.

Con­sider these steps to nav­i­gat­ing the land­mine of sex­ual temp­ta­tion: 1. Agree with God’s plan for sex­ual pu­rity.

God’s plan for sex is for it to be a gift shared be­tween a man and a woman within the con­text of a life­long com­mit­ted mar­riage. God will give you the strength to live up to that, but it’s up to you to agree with it. In 1 Thes­sa­lo­ni­ans 4:3 (NLT) the apos­tle Paul writes, “God’s will is for you to be holy, so stay away from all sex­ual sin.”

Joseph was ob­vi­ously com­mit­ted to God plan, and he was con­tent with God’s pro­vi­sion for him at the time. He might have wanted more in his heart, but un­til God pro­vided the per­son, his com­mit­ment to God and His pro­vi­sion en­abled him to re­main pure.

DEAL WITH IT

2. Ad­mit where I am tempted In our lives, we must deal with the ar­eas where we’re tempted the most, what­ever that may be – whether it is view­ing pornog­ra­phy, an at­trac­tion to a mar­ried woman at work or a boyfriend with whom you can’t stop hav­ing sex de­spite your com­mit­ment to God. You need to ad­mit that it’s a prob­lem if you keep telling your­self that you can stop, but you never do. Be hon­est with your­self and God. This was the prayer of David, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test my thoughts ...” Psalm 139:23 (TLB).

3.Ag­gre­sively guard my mind, my heart, and my free time

All sex starts in the mind, for both male and fe­male. “Be care­ful how you think; your life is shaped by your thoughts.” Proverbs 4:23 (GNT). You have to con­trol the im­ages, words, and sounds that come into your mind, or you’ve al­ready lost the bat­tle to temp­ta­tion. Also, guard your heart and your free time. We fall to our big­gest temp­ta­tion when we’re feel­ing lonely and our mind be­gins to wan­der. “Turn your back on lust­ful thoughts and give your pos­i­tive at­ten­tion to good­ness, in­tegrity, love, and peace.” 2 Ti­mothy 2:22 Phillips.

4. Avoid un­known temp­ta­tions and look for God’s outs

The first step to de­feat­ing temp­ta­tion is to avoid the things that you know tempt you.

In 1 Corinthi­ans 6:18 (NLT), the Apos­tle Paul says, “Run from sex­ual sin!” He doesn’t say, “Stand and fight.” He says, get away from it! “No other sin so clearly af­fects the body as this one does. For sex­ual im­moral­ity is a sin against your own body.” Run from that sex­ual temp­ta­tion be­cause it’s go­ing to keep God’s bless­ing for your re­la­tion­ships from flow­ing into your life.

5. Ask con­tin­u­ally for Je­sus’ help to over­come temp­ta­tion

Turn to Je­sus when you’re fac­ing temp­ta­tion, “Be­cause He Him­self suf­fered when He was tempted, He is able to help those who are be­ing tempted.” He­brews 2:18 (NIV). Be­ing fully hu­man, Je­sus ex­pe­ri­enced the temp­ta­tions we do in much the same way. Be­ing fully God, He was wise and pow­er­ful enough to guide us and help us de­feat those temp­ta­tions, so we don’t have to fall to them again.

We all suf­fer from temp­ta­tion, but God wants noth­ing more than for you to ex­pe­ri­ence His for­give­ness. We fall to temp­ta­tion be­cause we’re not strong enough, and if we try to de­feat temp­ta­tion just through willpower, we will fail. But, when you pray to God, Je­sus who is 100 per cent God and has the power to help us over­come, is strong enough to see us through.

Maybe you’re ex­pe­ri­enc­ing the con­se­quences of liv­ing out­side of God’s best plan for your life. To­day is not about guilt or for you to feel judged. God isn’t mad at you. He loves you. In­stead, feel free and ex­cited about what it could mean for your life if you were to live by God’s plan, no mat­ter what your past looks like, no mat­ter what mis­takes that you’ve made.

He wants you to have a fresh start and to help you learn how to nav­i­gate sex­ual temp­ta­tion. All you have to do is agree with His best plan for your life in ev­ery area.

wor­thy of praise.

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