The Third Week of Sex – Lust vs. Temptation

This is distinctively a “guy article.”  The vast majority of women will not understand . . . cannot understand the nature of temptations to which a man is subject.  They are wired with “pink sunglasses and hearing aids” while we guys are wired with “blue ones” per Eggerich’s book referred to last week.  Of course, there are degrees of this, some women experiencing the same level of temptation from the same sources, but we are mostly different; not better or worse; equal, but not the same.  Equal, not in the sense that four equals two plus two, but equal in the sense of chocolate or caramel; both delicious, but different.

Devil Made Me Do It.jpgThere are three sources of temptation and none “make you do it,” as the comedian used to say, “The devil made me do it.”  No, I am afraid we must face it that “each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire.” (James 1:14)  However, the temptation may not originate with the self, as in Jesus’ case in Matthew 4 and Luke 4.  He was “led by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.” (Matthew 4:1)

In other cases, temptation may come from without, but not necessarily from the devil to whom we often give too much credit.
 “There are six things that Yahweh hates, seven that are an abomination to him:
1) haughty eyes, 2) a lying tongue, and 3) hands that shed innocent blood,
4) a heart that devises wicked plans, 5) feet that make haste to run to evil,
6) a false witness who breathes out lies, and 7) one who sows discord among brothers.”
(Proverbs 6:16-19)  There is no demon mentioned in this passage which is couched between Solomon’s warnings about adultery and fornication. (See Proverbs 5 to 7.)  Rather, these are temptations that come from other sources in the world.  Granted it is a world corrupted by the evil one, but every detail of corruption is not to his credit nor blame.  He is neither that smart nor attentive to trivia.

World, Flesh and DevilThus, our three sources of temptation are the world, the flesh and the devil.  However, the crux of it is our human nature makes temptation tantalizing.  It is our lack of self-sufficiency, our need for outer sustenance, or our desire for physical human comfort that appeals to us and makes us susceptible.

This was true even of the God-Man, Jesus, who was God in human form; the Eternal Son of God, coequal with the Father and Holy Spirit, eternally pre-existent before the creation of the world, and through whom the world was created (Colossians 1:15-19; Philippians 2:5-8; John 1:1-3)  We will not go into the nature of the trinity (see June 4, 2018), but just note that Jesus was fully God and yet, fully human.  And the human side of Him could get hungry, needed to sleep, would wake with a hard-on, had human longings, could bleed and feel pain.

“We do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.” (Hebrews 4:15)  This verse reveals three important things to remember about temptation:
1.  We are not alone when facing temptation!
2.  Temptation is conquerable!
3.  Temptation is NOT sin!

Not only did Jesus face the same temptations, every man you know, every man you see, every man who has ever lived has faced the same temptations that you and I face (1 Corinthians 10:11-13).  Bottom line is: I am not that special!  And neither are you.  This is important to remember, especially in the context of sexual temptation, distinctively a “blue sunglasses” temptation.  Most guys feel special when a woman pays them attention.  Most women can be made to feel special by a guy’s attention, but a woman’s sexual temptation is different from a man’s.

However, it is only in the committed faithful relationship of a husband and wife that specialness is true.  It is when he said, “You are the only woman for me,” and when she responded, “You are the only man for me,” that each of them became truly special.  Any other “specialty” is a certain road to Sheol (Proverbs 5:5).

No matter what the source of temptation, internal or external, the battle is finally fought in one’s own heart and mind.  This puts it within the range of victory!  The truth is that it is up to me if I am willing to be suckered into believing a decoy for joy.  It is also up to me to reject the artificial for the real.

The hardest part for most men to discern is when temptation becomes sin.  The old adage is, “You can’t stop a bird from flying over your tree, but you can stop it from building a nest!”  Most of us will feel guilt over the fact that we feel temptation, but this is a misplaced sense of fault.  Only you can tell when you have stepped across that invisible line into letting the bird start his nest, but there is no need to feel guilty about it flying overhead.

Temptation of JesusRemember even Jesus felt temptation!  He really was hungry when Lucifer invited Him to short-circuit His redemptive path and turn rocks into bread; haven’t you and I lusted after a donut or piece of pie that we thought would satisfy?  Jesus really wanted to show the world that He could do us all good; all He had to do was jump from the Temple’s top and everyone would believe in His miraculous power, right?  Jesus reeeeeally wanted to rule with justice, mercy and grace; and what a wonderful benevolent Master He would be!  All He had to do was worship the “prince of the power of the air.” (Ephesians 2:2)

But in each temptation there was a deception that Jesus called out.  And in every temptation we face there is a hidden lie that the world, our flesh or the devil will try to hide.  If we can identify the bald-faced lie this will remove the temptation’s power.  “That donut really will not add that many calories; that money will not be missed by a big corporation; that woman/man would be so nice to be close to; no one will know about this porn.”  But the temptation is NOT sin!  It is the yielding to it that is.

“Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16)  Mercy is not getting what we deserve; grace is getting what we do not deserve.

Mistaking that I could cover this topic in one blog, next week will be our fourth week of The Three Weeks of Sex.

31 Things to Do in 2018

I made one New Year’s resolution that I have faithfully kept since 1969, of which I am very proud.  Pretty awesome to make one almost 50 years ago and still be kept?!  Well, my 1969 New Year’s resolution was “I will never make a New Year’s resolution again.”  Not so awesome anymore, huh? 😉

While resolutions may have some benefit, especially if they motivate you to lose a few pounds, bark less at your wife or kids, drive more sensibly, the fact is that most NYR’s are over before the end of January, and we’re back to our old habits.  Like they say, “Old habits die hard.”   So it is not the making of a New Year’s resolution that matters; it is the KEEPING of the resolution.  To resolve is to deal with a matter conclusively; i.e., it should never come up again!  Like wedding vows, like joining the army, like contracts to do business.  To resolve is to settle the issue once and for all.

2018 CalendarCrossway came up with a pretty cool list last week of things that can be done in 2018, not so much as a New Year’s resolution, but as a motivator to living for God more effectively.  The list is posed as a series of questions rather than a list of “resolves.”  With 31 of them you may want to parcel them out one a day for every month with 31 days: January, March, May, July, August, October, and December.

Read over the whole list and think about taking one of these each day this month.  No guilt trip over breaking your New Year’s resolution, just an encouragement to find the Presence of God in your daily life.

“You are never too old to set another goal or dream a new dream.”  C.S.Lewis

  1. What’s one thing you could do this year to increase your enjoyment of God?
  2. What’s the most humanly impossible thing you will ask God to do this year?
  3. What’s the single most important thing you could do to improve the quality of your family life this year?
  4. In which spiritual discipline do you most want to make progress this year, and what will you do about it?
  5. What is the single biggest time-waster in your life, and what will you do about it this year?
  6. What is the most helpful new way you could strengthen your church?
  7. For whose salvation will you pray most fervently this year?
  8. What’s the most important way you will, by God’s grace, try to make this year different from last year?
  9. What one thing could you do to improve your prayer life this year?
  10. What single thing that you plan to do this year will matter most in ten years? In eternity?
  11. What’s the most important decision you need to make this year?
  12. What area of your life most needs simplifying, and what’s one way you could simplify in that area?
  13. What’s the most important need you feel burdened to meet this year?
  14. What habit would you most like to establish this year?
  15. Who is the person you most want to encourage this year?
  16. What is your most important financial goal this year, and what is the most important step you can take toward achieving it?
  17. What’s the single most important thing you could do to improve the quality of your work life this year?
  18. What’s one new way you could be a blessing to your pastor (or to another who ministers to you) this year?
  19. What’s one thing you could do this year to enrich the spiritual legacy you will leave to your children and grandchildren?
  20. What book, in addition to the Bible, do you most want to read this year?
  21. What one thing do you most regret about last year, and what will you do about it this year?
  22. What single blessing from God do you want to seek most earnestly this year?
  23. In what area of your life do you most need growth, and what will you do about it this year?
  24. What’s the most important trip you want to take this year?
  25. What skill do you most want to learn or improve this year?
  26. To what need or ministry will you try to give an unprecedented amount this year?
  27. What’s the single most important thing you could do to improve the quality of your commute this year?
  28. What one biblical doctrine do you most want to understand better this year, and what will you do about it?
  29. If those who know you best gave you one piece of advice, what would they say? Would they be right? What will you do about it?
  30. What’s the most important new item you want to buy this year?
  31. In what area of your life do you most need change, and what will you do about it this year?
    1. Repeat: “You are never too old to set another goal or dream a new dream.”  C.S.Lewis