I just read a book that is helping me with my struggle with loving food too much. Guess what book I read? “When Good Men Are Tempted” by Bill Perkins. Did you know that men’s struggle with lust is so closely related to a woman’s struggle with food that it’s fascinating? See if you can relate. (No matter where you struggle)
The Temptation Cycle: 1. Preoccupation: Boredom can lead to depression. Depression can lead to becoming vulnerable to something that would create a mood swing to make us feel better. 2. Ritualization: Rituals are activities that put feet on our fantasies. They’re a process we repeatedly perform before we act on our compulsions. When something excites us, we do it over and over again. It’s crucial for you to know that once you start a ritual you will act on your compulsion. It is certain. 3. Acting Out: This is when we give in. 4: Shame: How could you? 5: Repeat Performance: When the pain of boredom or depression or stress returns, so does your preoccupation with your struggle, your tendency to perform rituals and your certain repeated fall into sin followed by a new wave of shame.
Four Steps to Freedom: Step 1. Know who you are in Christ: In Christ our new man has freedom from the power of sin and it’s lustful appetites (Rom. 6:1-14). Paul wrote, “We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?” It’s important to note that Paul didn’t say that our sin, or lustful appetites died. He said we died. We are indwelt by Christ. Does sin have power over Christ? Or course not! Since that’s the case, it also has no power over you. Paul wants us to realize it’s inconsistent for us to allow our lustful appetites to control our lives, since we’ve died and been raised with Christ. We’re new men/women, identified with Christ. The risen Lord of the universe actually lives in us! Step 2. Believe you live with Christ: Because you’ve been dominated by your flesh and it’s lust for so long, you may not feel it’s power has been broken. You may not feel like a new man/woman in Christ. Regardless of how you feel, you need to know that Christ has shattered the power of the old man with it’s sinful appetites. You no longer have to give in to your lustful desires. Knowing that the power of sin has been broken enables us to live above the downward pull of lust. Believing we “will also live with him” (Rom. 6:8) enables us to move forward with our lives. Paul exhorts believers to “count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 6:11) Step 3: Give yourself to God: Romans 6:13 tells us to give the members of our body to God as “instruments of righteousness.” If you see yourself as a slave to sin, unable to say no to your sinful desires you’ll probably obey the commands in your head. If you see yourself as free from the power of sin, you’ll present yourself to God and walk away from the temptation. The next time your lust whispers in your ear, turn away from it and look to Christ. Don’t struggle with your lust yourself. Don’t resist it by saying, “I can’t listen to it.” Instead turn to God and say, “Father, thank you for delivering me from my lustful appetites. Thank you for giving me the power of Jesus. Right now I’m trusting in him to enable me to live according to my true identity and experience victory over sin.” If you try to fight against your lust in your own power, you’ll lose. It’s too strong. Instead allow Christ to fight for you. By faith we believe that Christ has delivered us from sin and lust. Our union with him is the source of our self-control. We must believe that we’re identified with him and that he is the source of our victory. We need to accept his victory in our minds and spirits. Step 4: Don’t give lust a foothold: There’s more to victory over lust than knowing we’re identified with Christ and have victory in him. The battle against lust isn’t won by understanding alone. Nor is it assured because we have access to the power of Christ. We have to be diligent in our refusal to give lust a foothold in our life. Paul wrote, “When you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey – whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness. (Rom. 6:16) It’s easy to believe that lie that says, “One little sin won’t hurt.” Paul’s message is clear: “No way, Jose!” One tiny sin leads to enslavement. Ultimately you determine by your choices who will be your master. If you give your lust a small snack – it will demand your life. It will become your master. On the other hand, if you give yourself to Christ, he will be your master.
Three Elements of Victory: Perspective: I’m a new person. I see lust differently. I’m united with Christ, and the power of my sin and it’s lustful appetites has been broken. I don’t have to obey it’s commands any longer. The next time I’m tempted I’m going to thank God he delivered me from that temptation. I’m going to reflect on the fact that I’m in Christ and all that’s true of him is true of me. Jesus wouldn’t give in to the temptations I face, and in him I won’t either. Presence: I’m not alone in my struggles. There is One within me who knows my weakness and accepts me as I am- Jesus Christ my Savior. The next time I feel alone, I’m going to remember that Christ is with me. Rather than looking to something else for my need I am going to look to Christ. Power: I have the power of the risen Christ living within me. I don’t need to argue or fight with my lustful appetites. I don’t need to vow to resist their enticements. When I’m tempted, I can turn to Christ and trust him to infuse me with his resurrection power.
Taken from: “When Good Men are Tempted” by Bill Perkins Excerpts from Chapter 4 and Chapter 13.