If you Google the word “temptation” and read the Wikipedia entry, you will find the following definition: “A temptation is an act that looks appealing to an individual. It is usually used to describe acts with negative connotations and as such, tends to lead a person to regret such actions, for various reasons: legal, social, psychological (including feeling guilt), health, economic, etc. Temptation is also described as coaxing or inducing a person into committing such an act, by manipulation or otherwise of curiosity, desire or fear of loss.” Temptation in itself is not sin, but yielding to it is.
I have struggled with various temptations like the rest of humanity has for a long time. Fortunately, I have found some answers to dealing with it, de-fanging it, and defeating it, thanks to the wisdom of Scripture and the power of the Holy Spirit. Here are four lessons to remind you of the dangers of temptation and some solutions.
1. After we have yielded to temptation, we become blinded to its consequences. We all know that you can see a bigger picture of something when you’re standing a good distance from it. Likewise, we can’t see something as clear when we’re standing too close to it. This is true of temptation. We can only see the consequences of temptation before we yield to it because we’re standing on the outside of it. But after we have entered into temptation, we become blinded to the consequences. This is definitely true when it comes to matters dealing with the opposite sex. Remember wisdom’s instructions in Proverbs 2.
2. The pull of the temptation increases the closer we get to the forbidden fruit. Sadly, many of us want to play with temptation as long as we can, thinking we can walk away from it at any time. But the closer we get to the temptation, the more pull it has on us. Temptation is not a game to be played with. Cutting off the temptation by killing the thought at the beginning is the key to breaking free from temptation’s allure.
3. Forbidden fruit is never as sweet as you have been told it will be. Without getting explicit, for those who have given in to sexual temptation, almost every one I have talked to admit that they felt regret after. It’s a terrible lesson to have to learn, but if you’ve been there and done that, you know what I’m talking about. Hindsight is always clearer. The worst thing about giving in to the forbidden fruit is even though it doesn’t truly satisfy you, if you keep giving in to it, you can become addicted to it. Trust me, it isn’t worth it.
4. When we are full of God’s fruit, we won’t be hungry for forbidden fruit. The reality is that temptation is a need to fulfill a legitimate God-given drive in an illegitimate way. Did your mom ever say, “It’s never a good idea to inspect forbidden fruit, especially on an empty stomach?” You can apply that idea to any temptation you’re facing. If we don’t fulfill our desires in the right ways, we will constantly look to fulfill them in the wrong ways. And if you’re wondering what God’s fruit is, check out Galatians 5:22-23: …love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, self-control…fruit God wants to grow in you.
I know you will face temptation as a college student. I hope you will consult the smartest person of all time for His answers. Read and memorize Psalm 119:9, 11, 1 Corinthians 10:13, and 1 John 1:9. Through God’s Word, it is possible to resist temptation. Walk wisely. Jesus wants to empower you to stand up under it and have victory.
Love is a verb,