Tuesday, November 24, 2015

The Ongoing Lure of Sexual Temptation

Taken from

By Craig Groeschel

"...the fact is that lust and sexual temptation are not one-time events. Sexual images, temptations, and pleasures surround us 24/7 in our culture. Not only do most people find no shame in indulging in them, it's expected. If you're a "real" guy, then you're supposed to be a sexual beast, a stud, a leader of the pack, a stallion the ladies can't resist---right?


You're supposed to be a man stronger than his physical urges or emotional responses. You're supposed to be a warrior who's willing to fight for something more important. And that's a battle that's fought one temptation at a time. ...

...how do guys who seem destined for greatness end up on that path to destruction? It's pretty easy, actually. It starts with just one step. One day. One evening. That's all it takes to get the ball rolling. One day you make one bad decision. Then you keep putting one foot in front of the other, and you don't make any course corrections. You keep it a secret. Cover it up. Ignore the warning signs. Each step turns you slightly off the good road you were on, turning you more and more, until inertia pulls you into a downward spiral.

Nine times out of ten, the bad times start when a man goes someplace he's got no business being in the first place.

...Sometimes we go to great lengths to try to fool ourselves, working hard to deny that we're risking everything for a few moments of pleasure.

Why would anyone do something so obscene and for so little payoff? That's a great question. We should probably take a poll and ask the guys around us. Because the sad truth is, men still do it today, every single day. We'll see some guy who seems to have a good marriage, a successful ministry, integrity to spare, and a booming career, and he risks everything for a sexual hit, a quick high. It's just not worth it. Why do it? ...

No man plans to ruin his life. I've never met even just one guy who said, "You know what? My ten-year goal is to become a sex addict. I want to get so locked into my own little fantasy world of pornographic lust that it consumes my waking thoughts. I want to get myself to the point where I can't have any kind of legitimate, meaningful, intimate relationships because the only way I can ever see any woman is as some kind of sexual object."

That's never what happens. Here's how it really goes down: A guy is just on the computer or playing on his phone, minding his own business, doing his work...when some ad with a picture of a hot babe suddenly appears at the edge of some web page. He thinks to himself, Hmm. Well, isn't that interesting? Free---really? No harm in checking it out.

Click. Now he's on some website that was the farthest thing from his mind just ten seconds ago. But now, on this page, there's another "interesting" thing to click on, something a bit more provocative. Click. He feels that familiar rush. His heart beats faster. He forgets about his wife, his children, his faith. Then, almost like he's on autopilot, it turns into click, click, click, click, click, click, click, click. Over time, he ends up in a bad place. And he didn't get there all at once; he got there one step at a time.

I've never met a guy who said, "You know what would be cool...? I can't think of any goal more worthy than to have to file for bankruptcy one day." It doesn't happen like that. He sees some other guy with more than he has and thinks, Why couldn't that be me?


He wants the car, the house, the golf clubs. And the loan terms make it all seem so affordable.


But then once he starts falling a little behind on payments, he starts scrambling around for solutions. Step. Maybe some gambling, maybe some multilevel marketing scheme. Maybe a cash loan on his credit card to cover another bill. Step, step, step. All I need is one big score to get back on track. This guy who couldn't even balance his checkbook starts a business.

Step, step, step, and one day he wakes up in big trouble.

I've never met a guy who said, "I have a really great marriage. My kids love me, and everything seems to be going really well. I think I'll blow it all with an affair." It's not like he was just walking down the street one day and he slipped and fell, and when he landed he was on top of a naked woman on a bed in some hotel room.

No, it starts with one step. An attractive coworker touches him on the arm, just once, and he thinks, What? Is there something there? She is pretty cute.


Another time, he says something kind of flirty. Step. She responds! Step. He thinks about her at night. Step. He puts on an extra squirt of cologne just in case he gets close to her. Step. He sends her a text. Step. He puts his hand on her back one time when they're looking at a project together on her computer. Step. They innocently go to lunch one time. Step. One thing leads to another, until they both find themselves emotionally involved. And entangled.

Step, step, step. His marriage and family life are blown apart in a nuclear explosion of pain and betrayal.

A man doesn't ruin his life all at once.

He does it one step at a time.

...we don't mess up our lives all at once. We do it one step at a time. We doom ourselves...when we rationalize our sin, and then when we assume that our disobedience isn't going to cost us anything. We forget that our sin always takes us farther than we want to go and costs us more than we want to pay.

...Are you stepping away from God in any way? Are you on step number one? Or step number 56,249? Or somewhere in between? No matter how many steps you've already taken, there's a simple and profound solution. It's so basic, so commonsensical, that if you're not paying attention, you just might miss it: turn around.

That's it. Turn around. Go the other way! It's not too late. It really is that simple. Fight the momentum of moving toward sin and go the other direction. And when you turn around, who will be right there waiting for you? Your God. Because he is that good.

...So what's it going to be? More secrets? More fear? More hiding? Or are you finally going to tell the truth? If you're going the wrong way, stop. Stop now. Fall on your knees and fight like a man. Cry out to God. Ask him to forgive you. Embrace his grace. Receive his forgiveness. Get up. Turn around. And walk the other way.

...Remorse is a common response to failure, but there's a much better one: repentance. Instead of turning inward or deflecting outward, you turn upward. Instead of allowing yourself to get stuck, you stop and then let God move you through it. You drop the guilt, the regret, the anger, and the self-pity and return to the Lord. Repentance means owning up to your mistakes and accepting responsibility:

"This was my fault."

"I've had this coming for a long time now."

But ownership gets you only so far. Repentance requires action. "I didn't do what God entrusted me to do, but now I'm going to turn away from what I did wrong. I'm going to move back toward what I know is right." If your steps are heading in the wrong direction, turn around. That's what repentance is.

Remorse is a feeling based primarily on guilt (a selfish emotion), keeping our attention on the past. Repentance is turning away from that wrong, turning away from the past, and turning our attention to changing our future. Remorse builds an emotional monument to our sin, then stands there gazing at it while we feel bad. Repentance is turning one hundred and eighty degrees away from our sin and then walking away from it. With each step, repentance moves farther away from that sin. And it doesn't look back.


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