Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Dealing with ual Temptation

Dear Pastor Lawyer,

Before I was a Christian I had a terrible time with a -filled thought life. Now that I’m a Christian, married, and have 3 children I’m having difficulty with the same kinds of things. Can you help?

Doug in Seabeck

Dear Doug,

Many Christians have this same problem. Here are some answers that might help. There are several passages in the Bible that tell us to get new minds after we come to Christ. In general, this is a process, but it is a process that can be speeded up by our desire to change. The first thing you need to do is to cultivate a closer walk with God. This begins with prayerful Bible study. You need to the TV off (if that is what is distracting you) and spend a lot more time communing with God in his word. You need to pray that as you read and study God would change the way you think to line up with the way he thinks as revealed in the text. Your goal should be to allow his Holy Spirit to transform your mind so that you think about everything with the same thoughts he has.

Second, you need to realize that sin almost always has two sides. When the Bible tells us to not do a thing it also tells us to do other things. Let’s take a look at your example: The Bible says that is ery. It tells us not to commit ery. It also tells us to love our wives as Christ loves his church. We are to lay down our lives for our wives by treating them with great love and devotion. We are to work hard to help our wives to be holy, beautiful in God’s sight, and to be women who are highly regarded by those around them. When we after another woman, then, we break not one command (Don’t commit ery), but two commands (Don’t commit ery and love your wife). Every sin I can think of works this way. We are both doing something wrong and not doing something we are supposed to do at the same time.

Third, this double whammy has a good side to it. In the same way that every sin is really two sins, the solution to the problem, or the means to avoid the sin is inherent in the sin itself. Back to our example: the way to stop committing ery is to love your wife. Every time you see a woman dressed in a scanty outfit it should cause you to remember your wife. It should cause you to remember that you need to be thinking about ways to love her better. If you do this, you won’t have time to after the inadequate dresser. As soon as you see her, you should immediately begin thinking of ways to make your wife a more beautiful woman.

This does not mean that if you want to love your wife better you should run out and fill your head with ographic images. The Bible also tells us to avoid putting ourselves in situations where we will be unduly tempted. We need to plan our lives better and to avoid situations where we will be put into tempting situations. Sometimes this will mean making some drastic changes in our lives. But if you are thinking the way God thinks this will not seem all that drastic.

Let me give you a couple of scriptures that can help: “Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.” “God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life.” “…the grace of God…teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age.” “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you.” Notice that in each of these passages you are to turn (sometimes, run) away from one set of evil behaviors and turn to another set of godly things.

As you concentrate on your relationship with God, and as you obey him, he will transform the way you think and he will transform the way you live…All for his glory and honor. I hope that helps,

Pastor Lawyer

No comments: