Archive for the ‘Temptation’ Category


 The Bible says in Proverbs 4:23 “Above all else, guard your heart for it affects everything you do.”  Enduring change in your life it starts from the inside and works itself out.  You don’t focus on your behavior.  You don’t focus on willpower.  You don’t even focus on your emotions at first.  You focus on what’s causing those emotions.  It always starts on the inside.  If you really want to break a bad habit you need to stop today and do an EKG of your heart.

  1.  What is your physical condition: Am I more physically exhausted or am I more energetic and in shape?
  2.  How about emotionally?  Am I emotionally discouraged about my life?  Am I pessimistic about my future?  Or am I more encouraged and optimistic about my future? 
  3.  How about mentally, the third one.  Am I right now mentally bored or discontent with my life, my job, my relationships?  Am I bored and discontented?  Or am I more challenged and contented in my relationships, my job, my career?
  4.  How about spiritually?  Right now, am I spiritually dry and empty?  Or am I more spiritually growing?  I’m on the cutting edge.  I know things are right with God.  Where are you between spiritually dry and empty and spiritually growing and on fire with God? 

Notice what the Bible says in Ephesians 4:27 “Do not give the devil a foothold.”  What is a foothold?  It’s when the devil finds a crack in your life’s security system.  He hangs on to the space so he can grab more because he wants to control your life.  It’s like soldiers in a war taking over an island.  They first establish a beachhead.  They just barely get on to the shore, but once they’re there they just keep pushing, pushing, pushing to capture more and more of the island.  And the devil wants to establish a little foothold in your life once he’s got something there to hold on to.

What is the number one foothold that Satan gets in your life?  It’s any negative emotion – when you’re physically exhausted, when you’re discouraged, when you’re bored, when you’re spiritually dry, when you’re insecure, when you’re deeply wounded, when you’re secretly bitter, when you’re sad, when you’re alienated.  Any of those things can allow the devil to get a foothold in your life. 

Let’s say you’re worried and insecure and angry and hurt.  The devil’s going to come along and start saying things like this, “You deserve a little pleasure in your life.  You deserve a little comfort in your life.  I know this isn’t right but there are so many bad things happening in your life you need something for comfort, for relief.  You deserve a little excitement.  You need something to calm you down.  Because everything’s bad in your life right now you really need just a little bit of good pleasure.” 

He doesn’t tell you it’s only going to make it worse in the long run.  You have to know the condition of your heart.  “Guard your heart,” the Bible says.  If you allow these emotions to dam up in your life you are more apt to say “yes” when you should be saying “no way!”

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The Bible gives us a five point pathway to freedom from those temptations that we struggle to defeat.  I encourage you to take a piece of paper and write in large, bold letter your area of weakness.  You probably already have it in mind or you wouldn’t be reading this.  The first step in the path to freedom is this…


 What do I mean by that?  Everyone has a unique profile in life.  You have a unique thumbprint, fingerprint, and palm print.  Your voice has a unique voice print.  I did not know this until recently but your heart has a unique heartbeat unlike any other heartbeat in the world.  You also have a unique temptation profile.  There are certain things that tempt you and certain things that don’t.  There are things that tempt other people but don’t tempt you.  There are some things that will make you stumble almost immediately and some things that don’t bother you at all.  And that’s unique. 

Satan is a profiler. He knows exactly what trips you up.  He knows exactly when, where and how and he’s always looking for a way to trip you up.  So it would be wise if you figure out your temptation profile. 

If you can figure out where you’re most likely to stumble then you can predict where that’s going to happen and you can plan in advance to avoid it.  So the starting point in breaking really ingrained bad habits in your life is to ask five questions:

            1.  When am I most tempted? 

I’m talking about the day of the week and the time of the day.  Which day of the week are you most tempted?  Are you most tempted to be depressed on Monday?  Are you most tempted to be lustful on Friday night?  Are you most tempted to be irresponsible on Saturday morning?  You should know the days of the week and what kinds of temptations get you on certain days. 

You should also know the time of the day you tend to be weakest with certain temptations.  Is it morning, early morning that you’re the most grumpy and grouchy and short tempered with people?  Is it mid morning?  Is it lunchtime?  Early afternoon, late afternoon, dinner time?  Is it early evening?  Is it after everybody’s gone to bed at night that you turn on that cable channel? 

In my case, when it comes to food, my worse time is after everyone else is in bed.  In those hours, when snacks arise, game-set-match to the enemy!  I can handle any diet until noon.  I can go without food until noon.  It doesn’t tempt me.  But the longer the day goes on the more I want to eat.  You need to know when you are most tempted.

            2.  Where am I most tempted?

Is it at work?  Is it in the kitchen?  Is it when you’re in a meeting with your boss and tempers are flaring?  Where are you most tempted?  Is it in front of a computer?  You need to not only know “When?”  You need to know “Where?”, and when you know when and where you can kind of avoid those places.

            3.  Who is with me when I am most tempted?

Some of you are most tempted when you’re alone.  But others of you, that’s not the problem.  You’re most tempted when you’re with all your buddies and they all want to do the wrong thing and you think, “I’ll just do it too.”  Some of you lose your temper with certain people – a child, a husband/wife, your boss, a co-worker.  Some of you are most tempted when you’re in a crowd of strangers and you think no one’s watching.  Some of you are most tempted when you’re at home with your family.  You need to know that so you can figure it out.

            4.  What temporary payoffs do I get when I give in? 

There’s always a payoff for giving in to temptation.  Nobody would do sin if it wasn’t for the payoff.  In fact the Bible even says so.  Hebrews 10:25, “There is pleasure in sin for a short time.”  Even the Bible says sin is fun.  If it were an electrical shock you wouldn’t want that.  But the fact is there is a payoff.  But it’s a temporary payoff.  There is pleasure for a short time.  There’s a kick then there’s a kickback.  

The problem with temptation isn’t that it’s not fun but it’s fleeting fun.  It’s temporary gratification with long term pain.  That’s the problem: temporary satisfaction but long term consequences.  So you need to think what is the payoff when I tend to fall in this habitual area that I’ve dealt with for years and years or maybe all my life.  Is it comfort that I feel?  Is it release that I feel?  Is it excitement that I feel?  Is it a false sense of confidence?   Why do I eat that extra donut?  Is it because you feel better about yourself when you do that?  You need to look at the payoff, what are the consequences (size 38 waist instead of 32!) or you’ll never be able to understand temptation.  And you’ll also know that when those things happen you’re getting ready for a temptation. 

            5. What are my emotional triggers?

Do you get tempted when you’re frustrated?  Do you get tempted when you feel lonely?  Do you get tempted when you feel unloved?  When you get depressed?  When you’re worn out?  When you’re weary?  You need to know the triggers that move you into temptation.  The truth is for some of you, you’re tempted when you’re bored.  You need to know the answer to “How do I feel right before I get tempted?”

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Do you ever wake up in the morning and think, “Today is going to be different, only to realize that by lunch you have fallen back into those same old ways of relating to people and those same old bad habits.  You feel like there’s a tug of war going on inside of you.  You feel like your life could be summed up in one word – disappointment.  I have tried everything from prayer, to resolutions, to self-help tapes and even hypnosis.  But you end up frustrated because you can’t seem to stop making the same mistakes? 

Have you ever felt that way?  The truth is good intentions are never good enough to change us.  It takes more than just desire to change.  If desire was all you needed to change I’d wear size medium shirts and size 32 waist pants right now but it takes more than desire and it takes more than good intentions to change. 

We get stuck in a cycle that goes like this: Good intentions – Failure – Guilt – Good intentions – Failure – Guilt – Good intentions – Failure – Guilt … and round and round and round the Merry-Go-Round we go!  We can all relate when Paul talks about this in Romans 7:  “I don’t understand myself at all for I really want to do what is right but I don’t do it.  Instead I do the very things I hate.”  He says, “All the things I want to do I end up not doing and all the things I know are wrong I end up doing.  I’m a mess”

If you’ve ever felt that way then you are going to be very thankful you found this blog this week.  This week I am going to share with you a plan that will help you defeat those stubborn, persistent, lifelong temptations that keep dragging you down.  Those struggles that no matter how much you’ve tried to stop, no matter how much you’ve tried to change they just keep coming back and coming back.  And you’ve struggled with them all your life.

The Bible gives us the pathway to freedom but before we look at this five point plan I am going to ask you to prepare the ground of your heart to receive them.  Sometimes we get so used to the Merry-Go-Round that we would rather stay in the cycle than risk what is outside the carnival of pain and slavery.  So today’s assignment is to:

  1. Ask yourself if where you are is where you want to spend the rest of your life.  Most people won’t risk change unless the pain of the present is greater than the fear of change.
  2. Pray that God would empower you to act on what you learn.  The power for change comes from the same One who supplies the power for salvation… God.  You say yes and He says let’s go!
  3. If you know of someone who is trapped in the cycle mentioned above, direct them to this blog this week.  Friends who care share (Hey, that’s pretty good.  I may have to share that again!).

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