I used to think that good people don’t get tempted to do bad things. If you’re tempted, that must mean you’re a bad person. Needless to say I didn’t have a great opinion about myself, as I was faced with so many temptations. I would often wonder what was wrong with me, because no matter what I did, the temptations just didn’t go away. In fact, it felt like there were more and more everywhere I looked. What a horrible person I must be! I’m sure other people don’t feel the same way.
It took me a long time to realise that it’s not about whether we will be tempted or not. We will. It’s about how we deal with temptations. Do we give in, finding a good enough excuse to make ourselves feel better or do we do our best to resist it?
I find this verse really encouraging: “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation He will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” (1Co 10:13)
This verse not only shows that we’re all dealing with temptations, so nobody is an exception and we’re all in the same boat, but also that if we seek God, He will help us. We are not tempted beyond our own ability to overcome to temptation. This makes me feel better as I know that just because I get tempted, that doesn’t say anything bad about me, it just means I’m human like everyone else.
The tricky part is when you feel like you can’t overcome the temptation you’re facing. And even worse, when we really want to do something we know we shouldn’t, and we try to look for excuses to do it, or even support from others that “it’s okay” and “nobody will get hurt anyway” or even “everyone else does it, so why shouldn’t I?”
I’ve been down this road many, many times. At first I would feel guilty and then, depending on my mood (and the need to comfort myself), I would go as far to encourage myself (or seek others’ support) which would lead me down the wrong path. “It’s not a big deal. It’s just this one time.” It’s amazing how quickly you can make yourself feel better and let go of the guilt.
But you don’t really feel better, do you? At least that’s my experience. While the guilt might be temporarily gone, it always come back afterwards, accompanied by anger. How could I have been so stupid and weak? Was it really worth it? No, not really. I know better, I should do better.
My biggest problem used to be that I tried to deal with temptations alone. Sure, it works in some cases, but what if the temptation is too big to handle? What do you do then? I’ve learned to turn to God and just be honest with Him. It makes no sense to try to hide anything, as He knows it all before I even say it. By being honest and admitting I need help shows that I actually want to do the right thing. It’s still not easy and I still fail, but I keep on trying and I keep asking for help. “For nothing will be impossible with God.” (Luk 1:37)
“For because He himself has suffered when tempted, He is able to help those who are being tempted.” (Heb 2:18)
Can you relate at all to this? Share your thoughts below and what you do when you get tempted.