Questions Girls Ask: How Do I Resist Temptation? Part 1
When I say I can’t begin to count the number of weddings that I have been-in, I am not exaggerating. 27 Dresses? … Please!! Amateur! I’ve worn my share of taffeta and danced as Beyonce’s “Single Ladies” played while some over-zealous groomsman ushered (or rather, pushed) me to the dance floor for my all-time favorite event (insert eye roll) — the humiliating bouquet toss. I’ve now worn every color in the rainbow as a bridesmaid and read most of Paul’s epistles in my new preferred role, the “official” Scripture reader. Yet, in all of my wedding memories, one moment will always standout as the “i-can’t-believe-that-just-happened-to-me” moment of all.
A good friend decided to have her wedding in beautiful Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. Attending this one was a no-brainer. Seriously, three days of sun and sand was not a big sacrifice for this girl. So I boarded the plane for Cabo, with my maid-of-honor check list and a beach bag full of mindless reading in tow. Girls, the wedding was breathtaking: white sand, crystal blue water and the bride absolutely stunning as she stood before her groom at sunset. Yet, all of these things are not what truly captures my memory.
Oh-No… Just hold tight to your taffeta, do I have a story for you.
So there I stood…feet aching in my three inch heels, holding my bouquet at my belly button, poised next to the bride as the tide rolled in just steps away from us. Taking in the seriousness of the covenant ceremony, I listened intently as the pastor spoke about our awesome God, who is Creator of all things…oceans, stars, animals, the birds of the air, and of course, marriage.
I kid not, at the precise moment the pastor said, “the birds of the air”— a huge sea gull, as if hearing his cue, decided to be a tad bit dramatic and interrupted the ceremony by swooping down and perching himself right onto of my perfectly coifed chignon.
Bird Attacks Bridesmaid News at 11!
I so wish this was fiction. Alas, it is not. For some reason, Mr. Angry Bird picked me out of everyone to sink his talons into. I can only assume that he confused the mounds of bobby pins and hairspray for a suitable nest, or he just really wanted a front-row seat for the exchange of vows. Whatever his reason, I’m pretty sure that the most memorable part of the wedding for all in attendance is their mental image of me wildly flapping my arms and dancing around in order to shoo the bird off my head.
I tell you this story in order to answer a question I often get asked by women: How do I resist temptation? By now, most of you might be scratching your heads and trying to make a connection between an unfortunate encounter with a bird and the daily temptations we all face. I divulge this very embarrassing tale because this experience perfectly illustrates a famous teaching about temptation. The great reformer, Martin Luther once compared temptation to a bird in the air by saying, “You can't prevent a bird from flying over your head, but you can keep them from building a nest in your hair.”
Luther’s point is this: everyone is tempted to sin. Temptation itself is not sin, but acting upon it is.. Just think about it. I did nothing to cause or to invite that sea gull to come after me during the wedding, but I did have a choice…it was up to me whether or not Mr. Angry Bird could build a home in my updo. As Christians, we have a choice whether or not we will yield to the temptations we face.
In this first teaching on resisting temptation, we must begin by answering the all-important question: What is temptation? Pastor John MacArthur said, “Every temptation, directly or indirectly, is the temptation to doubt and distrust God.”
This has always been Satan’s M.O. (mode of operation.) Just as Satan tempted Eve in the Garden with lies about God’s character, he tempts us in the same manner with a thought or an idea, a lie that says, “God cannot be trusted.”
In temptation, Satan insinuates that obedience to God’s commands will keep us from the longings and desires of our hearts and that our true happiness will be found in disobedience.
“Sin comes to us, taps us on the shoulder or tugs at our shirttail and whispers in our ear: “You deserve better than what God has provided. He’s holding out on you. You deserve to feel good about yourself. I’ll affirm you in a way no one else can. Why live in misery any longer? Come to me. I’ll give you a sense of power you’ve never known before. I’ll expand your influence. I’ll fill your heart with a sense of accomplishment. I’ll nourish your soul. You’ve never had a physical rush like the one I’ve got in store for you. Obeying God is boring. It’s a pain. He’s always telling you to do stuff that’s difficult and burdensome and inconvenient or ordering you to forsake the few things that really bring you happiness. Come on. You’ve only got one life. Obedience is ugly. My way is fun. My way feels good.”-Sam Storms
Although we can’t stop these birds over our heads, God does give us the power through His Spirit and the direction through His Word as to how we can resist and stand firm when tempted.
For example, consider the woman who struggles with sex
Our first step in resisting temptation is to RECOGNIZE where, when and how we are tempted. This week, I challenge you to stop and take an inventory of your life.
- What sins do you consistently struggle with?
- How are you tempted to find life, happiness, or fulfillment in a way that is outside God’s will?
- What are the specific thoughts or ideas that tempt you to sin?
- Sam Storms writes, “Temptation is often strong because it comes in the form of an enticement to satisfy legitimate needs through illegitimate means.” What legitimate desires are you seeking to satisfy through illegitimate means?
Take time to pray. Journal your thoughts and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal the specific lies you’ve believed and how the enemy is seeking to deceive you.
In our next Questions Girls Ask Blog, we will continue this discussion and look at specific ways we can “resist” temptation. In the meantime, take this encouragement from God’s Word: Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. James 4:7-8 Precious Redeemed Girls, never forget, God ensures us victory when we resist the devil and choose to draw near to Him.
For His Glory,