If you think you are standing strong, be careful not to fall. The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure. (1 Corinthians 10:12-13)
The attraction to do something wrong or unwise defines temptation. It is what steers our thoughts and directs our eyes and ultimately convinces our heart that the sin is good. That we can do what we should not.
This is a topic that I feel we often loosely ignore considering in our lives until it is too late. Until desire crosses paths with temptation and the sin occurs. At that point, we can look backwards and understand where we went wrong and where boundaries were not in place and where we were caught vulnerable to the enemy.
But why look back when we can look forward?
Why not now, understand what it is we may face and place boundaries around our heart so that we can fight against temptation. Paul tells us in his letter to Corinth that God will show us the way out and that he will not tempt us beyond our strength. But in addition to God being there to showing us the way out, we must know what form temptation may come in so that we can prepare for what will come. And it will come.
Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world. And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever. (1 John 2:15-17)
Body – The apostle John writes that the “world offers only a craving for physical pleasure”. Our cravings come in the form of food, sex, and other excitements that are inspired by movies, literature, and ads that we see. This is an area that is so hard to protect against. We are being constantly bombarded by the need to get our attention and drive us to seek what we see. To need what our eyes see and pay at all costs the price for our desires.
Soul – “A craving for everything we see” takes us on the journey to covet. Money, clothes, and many other material items drives this sensation to want more than we have. To want what others have seeking to have more value in our life. To find wealth in things instead of Christ and to collect what we cannot take with us.
Spirit – To desire and seek more will ultimately cause us to be prideful. For the world will offer “pride in our achievements and possessions” and we will be tempted to fight against this urge as careers and material things drive our decisions. Paul tells us in Romans 12, to “not think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us”.
We will all face temptation but if we know the forms in which it will come and we are honest with ourselves that it will, we can do our part and prepare for the battle. We can create healthy boundaries and focus on what pleases God, what honors our spouse, and what will give us life forever.