When temptation calls, many singles make a half-hearted effort to resist it

when temptation calls

What's your reaction when temptation calls?

Are you frightened? Angry? Ashamed? Confused? Discouraged?

Maybe you're all of the above. We singles are especially prone to Satan's snares because we're often home alone. With no one to keep track of us, we sometimes do things and go places we shouldn't.

Let's get one thing straight from the start: Satan is real, he does have helpers (demons, or fallen angels), and he won't stay away from us just because we're Christians.

The danger of rationalizing

Sin is a word you don't hear much any more. Entertainment outlets (radio, TV, movies, music, magazines) never mention it, leading some people to believe it's an old-fashioned, obsolete concept.

Except that's not what God thinks, and he is who really matters.

We rationalize that some sins are not as bad as others--stealing a pen from the office is not as serious as murder--and while petty theft doesn't cause as much pain as murder, God has no tolerance for any kind of sin.

Once we recognize all sins for what they are, deliberate offenses against God, we've made a big step forward.

Learning from your past

When temptation calls, most of us give up too quickly because we haven't learned anything from our past. If we reflect on what we did the last time we gave in to a particular temptation, we can spot a response that didn't work. Why keep responding the same way if it hasn't worked before?

Avoidance is a proven defense. If you have a friend who enjoys verbally trashing people, tell her you don't want to do that any more, and if she won't stop, avoid her until she does. If you get drunk every time you drink alcohol, don't think you'll be able to stop after one drink. Avoid it altogether.

In the past you may have thought, "Oh, a little bit won't hurt me." Satan's been using that lie since he entrapped Eve.

Jack's truths for thriving.

Sin is like heroin. There's no such thing as a harmless amount.

When temptation calls, adopt that attitude and you'll understand that compromise is not an option.

Do what Jesus did

We read in Luke 4:1-13 that Satan tempted Jesus when the Lord was at his physical weakest, after having fasted in the desert for 40 days. When temptation calls, it usually strikes at one of our weaknesses as well.

Jesus answered every one of Satan's lies with the truth, a quotation from scripture. Inherent in every sin is a lie, and usually that lie is, "Nobody will get hurt." The truth is that you will get hurt--maybe not immediately, but there are consequences to sin.

You may not have memorized scripture verses, and you can't whip out a Bible every time you're tempted, but you can stop and think. Often just stopping can expose the temptation for what it really is.

By not making your response automatic when temptation calls, by stopping instead, you short-circuit the process.

You're never hopeless

You may have fallen so many times that you think there's no use trying to fight any more. You may think you're hopeless, bound by this sin forever.

That's another of Satan's lies.

Addicts and people who have long histories of wrong behavior get so down on themselves that they think change is impossible. Never ever feel that way about yourself.

The Holy Spirit, the great Counselor, is always ready to support you and show you the truth.

When temptation calls, you always have a choice. Don't let Satan convince you you're boxed in. Remember changes you made successfully in the past. Remember difficult tasks you learned. Remember, especially, how God helped you when you needed him.

But if you should fall, confess it to God immediately and ask his forgiveness. He will never withhold his forgiveness from you.

None of us will ever be perfect in this life, including you and me. But God isn't looking for perfection. He desires obedience, honesty, and perseverance. If you ask him for help, you can be sure he'll develop those qualities in you.

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