Foundation #4: Learning to Stand

“Now go and sin no more.” John 8:11

Ok, Jesus, I’ll try. But you know that I am weak so I can’t guarantee anything… 

I used to not be able to comprehend “freedom”. My experience was that I would make it for some time without breaking any black and white rules. But then, all of a sudden, I would fall. I couldn’t guarantee that that wouldn’t happen again. What about when life got hard, when I felt down, when I couldn’t see Jesus in those moments, and temptation came along? What then?

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” Galatians 5:1 

Freedom was learning how to stand in the midst of desires, loneliness, societal pressures, bio clock fear.
Freedom was realizing that when the enemy came my way during an opportune time of frailty, I did NOT need to lie down powerlessly beneath his sneer and accept his temptations and lies.
Freedom was when those temptations and trials became a training ground, resulting in seeing more and more and more of how God really is all I need, and I can trust Him to the utmost.

I used to refuse to sing any song about freedom, because I thought ‘I still struggle. I’m not free’. But this is surely freedom.

To Him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by His blood, and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve His God and Father – to Him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen. Revelation 1:5b-6

What can we learn about temptation from the Bible? 

  • The devil prowls around, looking for opportune moments (of weakness/vulnerability) to come with temptation (Luke 4:13; 1 Peter 5:8)
  • Sin desires to have us, but we can master it!
    • “…sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it.” Genesis 4:7b
  • Being tempted is not a sinful or shameful thing. Jesus was tempted! (Luke 4:1-13)
  • Jesus helps us during temptation. 
    • “Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.” Heb 2:18
    • “To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy—” Jude 24
  • We can overcome, because the One who is in us is greater! 
    • “You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” 1 John 4:4
    • “Keep your servant also from willful sins; may they not rule over me.” Psalm 19:13a
    • “They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.” Revelation 12:11
  • God is faithful and will provide a way out. 
    • “So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” 1 Cor 10:12-13
    • “But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one.” 2 Thes 3:3
    • We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin; the One who was born of God keeps them safe, and the evil one cannot harm them. We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one. We know also that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true. And we are in him who is true by being in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.” 1 John 5:18-20

Tips for resisting temptation (Practical tips for mitigating your weakness for temptation):

Side Note: I do not consider my sex drive on its own to be a temptation. For me, the temptation comes with what I will do in the midst of sexual desire. Will I turn away from God in that moment? Will I turn towards lust? Or will I turn towards God, trusting Him through it?

  • Watch what you’re watching… STAY AWAY from viewing sex scenes. Whether that’s porn, your own memories, or even just regular television in 2020 (! – lately the only shows I feel are totally safe from sex scenes or sex-talk drenched comedy are cooking shows or interior decorating shows!).
    • These scenes only fuel desire, and make my sex drive harder to master (like a horse that is being trained, it makes the horse buck wildly, and makes it hard to get it back under control). I have been celibate for over TEN YEARS, but sometimes if I see a sex scene, my body remembers everything like it was yesterday.
    • Be conscious about what you are seeing… if you are scrolling instagram and seeing so many love-love posts, or watching too many romcoms, it is not constructive to nurturing contentedness.
  • When you’re single and you’re so tired that it’s hard to think straight, go to sleep!
    • It’s easier to open doors you don’t really want to open when you’re tired (open doors to masturbation, open doors to contacting an ex, etc.) or watch things that aren’t constructive to letting your desire (sexual desire or desire for love) sleep. Learn when to run, like Joseph did (Genesis 39)!
  • If you’re dating someone, or you’re engaged, and you’ve made the decision to not sleep together outside of marriage, set yourself up for success to keep to your commitment. 
    • Know your ‘Cinderella hour’ – the time of night when it becomes difficult to make good choices, and say goodbye far before that time!
    • Hanging out alone in an apartment especially for extended periods of time, especially in the evening – tricky! French kissing – tricky! Talking about each other’s body parts sexually – tricky! Know why you want to say no to sex – know the reason for the boundary of wearing clothes and not letting someone enter you outside of marriage.
    • The very best context for sex to occur is in a loving, committed, safe relationship, where your heart is secure in God, and where the man you are with treasures your heart, understands your value, and honors you above himself. This cannot be created before a relationship is built. This cannot be created before there is a promise not to leave you the next day or the next month. 
    •  An engagement is not a marriage commitment – I am just one of many who broke up during engagement. “Crossing boundaries before marriage feels like the opposite of what we expect it will feel like… We expect it will bring us closer, but it actually builds a wedge between us.”
  • Don’t open up old doors when you’re sad. Find the door God has opened for you into His heart in those moments.
  • Know that you are not alone. DO NOT BUY INTO THAT EVIL LIE.
  • “When I don’t understand, I will choose You, when I don’t understand, I will choose to love (and trust) You.”1
  • If your heart is feeling insecure, drop everything, and go to Jesus with your heart, and don’t leave Him until you know your heart is secure again. If you’re at work, and can’t physically go away to be alone with Him, He is able to reach you, even at work, in the secret place of your heart! Don’t turn to any other source in those moments, go to the One who holds your heart!
  • Listen to that still small voice. He will always give you a choice to choose Him, and always provides a way out. 
  • Stand on truth – on the Word of God. The Bible is FULL of truth to run to and stick in the face of the enemy as a shield when he comes with lies. What did Jesus do when He was faced with temptation? He simply replied to the temptation and the lies with the Word of God, the Truth.

I learned one huge way to fight against temptation is to run into God’s goodness. When the father of lies tries to get you to doubt God’s character, His timing, run fast to the Truth!
Flee temptation. Resist the devil. Run to God. Run into His fortress. When I don’t understand what You are doing or where You are, I will just choose to trust You!

“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy is a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings. And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. 1 Peter 5:8-11

“Keep me free from the trap that is set for me, for you are my refuge.” Psalm 31:4

Standing firm in the face of temptation IS possible.
Standing firm and not being shaken IS possible.
Standing looks like running to God who is the Strong Fortress, and waiting for Him.

1 Chorus from “I Breathe You In, God” – Katie Torwalt