Never Let Your Guard Down
Last night was rough. I’ve been up since 2:00AM with stomach problems. Running on little sleep and feeling run down, I crawled into the office, and lit up my computer to begin the day. I have Skype installed on my PC, and noticed there was a message alert. Although I have the software set so that I can’t receive messages or calls from persons who are not on my contact list, one somehow got through this morning.
The avatar of the caller showed a full body figure of a woman in seductive pose and clothing, with an invitation to receive their video call. I knew what would happen if I clicked “accept”: a pornographic video would then load on my screen.
In my weary state I knew what was going on; the timing of this temptation was no mere coincidence. Our enemy looks for ways to hit us when we’re running on fumes or otherwise off balance to gain any advantage he can. I took a deep breath, carefully clicked “decline,” and then “report as spam” so I wouldn’t get further intrusions from that person. Temptation over.
A lot of guys fall flat on their face because they go into pride mode, thinking “I’ve got lust licked.” They assume that because they have months or years under their belt that the game is easy now, and saying no to lust will be a piece of cake from this point forward.
As long as we have this wicked, evil flesh that we’re stuck with, and an enemy who knows how and when to strike, that’s not happening this side of eternity. There are plenty of times when I get tempted and my flesh starts pulling … “Please… just one look… one look won’t hurt. No one else is around.”
Famous last words.
When the pull hits, I often go to God with a prayer that goes something like this: “Lord, You know that there’s a part of me that would really like to look right now… please help me to say no.” God shows up, the pull dies, and then it’s over.
Humility is key. I’m broken and flawed because of this ugly flesh (AKA self) within. But I’ve also got the Holy Spirit. It comes down to a choice: Am I going to feed my flesh, or the Spirit? Which one is going to fade away and die this moment, self, or my relationship with the Lord?
In every victory over temptation there is a death that takes place; I must die. Something rises within me and wants its way; I have to say no, and then my flesh withers. It’s like saying no to a two year old who keeps coming back and demanding more teeth-rotting sugar. The two year old pouts and doesn’t like being told no, but it doesn’t have a choice in the matter. It never has to win, or get its way.
There’s a death to self that takes place in every victory. The more we put self to death, the more we give way for the Spirit to reign in our life. It’s always a choice between death and life, pride and humility, and self and God.
Never let your guard down. In this war, all our enemy needs is to win 1% of the time to gain an edge. Once we open the door to pornography again, it gets harder to close. Every inch of ground we yield puts additional strain on our defenses; the flesh screams louder and the Spirit is quieter. Once we start listening to Self and negotiating with it (“Maybe just one look”), we’re seconds away from a fall.
Seconds matter; before the battle takes place we must resolve up front that we will turn to God as soon as we’re hit. Men who don’t make a firm resolution to reject lust ahead of time are more than likely playing games.
It never feels good when self dies, but the peace, freedom, strength of character, and our relationship with God are always worth it.