Temptation
Lysa TerKeurst

"The mouth of the righteous man utters wisdom, and his tongue speaks what is just. The law of God is on his heart; his feet do not slip." Psalm 37:30-31 (NIV)

I think I've discovered one of the biggest tricks Satan plays on us girls to get us to give into temptation.

"It's not fair." It's not fair that others seem permitted to have this, do this, act this way.

It's not fair that God won't let us eat of the fruit of the tree in the middle of the garden... one little bite wouldn't be so bad, right?

It's not fair I can't buy that new thing I really want... just a little debt wouldn't be so bad, right?

It's not fair that I have this body that I have to watch everything I eat when that girl eats junk and stays a size 4... one piece of cheesecake wouldn't be so bad, right?

It's not fair that we can't have sex before we're married when we're so in love... experimenting one time wouldn't be so bad, right?

Our flesh buys right into Satan's lie that it's not fair for things to be withheld from us. So we bite into the forbidden fruit and allow Satan to write 'shame' across our heart. Once you taste the forbidden fruit, you will crave it worse than you craved it before, giving temptation more and more power. And given enough power, temptation will start to consume our thoughts, redirect our actions, and demand our worship. Temptation doesn't take kindly to be starved.

I don't know what tempts you today. But, I do personally know this vicious cycle and I'm here to give you hope it is possible to get past it. Just typing that sentence gives me chills. Just a couple of months ago, I wondered if that would ever be true for me.

I've been on a very strict eating plan since April. Part of this plan is no sugar. Which doesn't sound so bad until you realize sugar is in just about everything we enjoy eating. Breads, pasta, potatoes, rice and not to mention all things bakery-licious.

It has been challenging at times that's for sure. But while I was on vacation recently and watching others enjoys an abundance of treats, I started to have a little pity party and those words crept into my brain: "It's not fair." In that instant, I squirmed in my chair and thought, "I'll just take one little bite... maybe two... I've been so good... this is vacation... everyone else is indulging ... OH MY STARS WHAT ARE YOU DOING LYSA!"

In that moment of extreme temptation, I realized me having a pity party was a clue I was relying on my own strength… a strength that has failed me before and would fail me again. I had to grab hold of God's strength and the only way to do that was to invite His power into my situation. I mentally gave God control of the situation by reciting truths I'd been banking up in my heart. "I'm more than a conqueror." "Lead us not into temptation but DELIVER us from the evil one." "The law of God is in his heart; his feet do not slip."

Soon, it was time to get up from the dinner table and walk back to our room. And I've never felt so empowered in my life. Had I said yes that first night of our vacation, there would have been more compromises in future meals. Compromise built upon compromise equals failure. Instead, resisting temptation allowed promise upon promise to be built up in my heart, which equals Holy Spirit empowerment!

Like I said, I don't know what you might be struggling with today but I can assure you God is fair and just. There is a reason we must face this. The struggle may be painful in the moment but it is working out something magnificent within us. As James 1 promises, "This testing of your faith develops perseverance and perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature, complete, not lacking anything."

Oh sweet sister, that is the cry of my soul. My taste buds lie as they make empty claims to satisfy me. Only persevering with God will make me truly full, complete, not lacking anything. Press on sister. Press on.

Dear Lord, help me to see my sacrifice in light of Your truth. The truth is, this sacrifice is a necessary part of me seeking You - the only true fulfillment and satisfaction of my body, mind and soul. Give me strength, Lord. Remind me to rely on Your truth and Your Spirit to empower me moment by moment. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Click here to visit Lysa TerKeurst’s blog for more Scriptures that will encourage you and empower you to find victory over whatever is tempting you. Lysa wants to hear your thoughts on this. Dialog with her today through her blog.

Be one of the first to receive Lysa’s new book! Pre-order her newest release, Becoming More Than A Good Bible Study Girl.

What Happens When Women Say Yes to God by Lysa TerKeurst

Application Steps: Write some of the verses Lysa gives here and on her blog on 3x5 cards and carry them with you. Recite them over and over when you face your temptation, and persevere in resisting.

Reflections:
What does this statement mean to you personally: "Compromise built upon compromise equals failure. But promise built upon promise equals success."

Power Verses:
Psalm 73: 26, "My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever." (NIV)

James 1:15-16, "Then after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin, and sin, when it is full grown, gives birth to death. Don't be deceived, my dear brothers." (NIV)

© 2009 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

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11 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like what you said about feeling empowered once you resist the temptation. I know that feeling, but so often I forget it and give in to temptation. I need to remember it!

On a side note, I was on a no-sugar, no-grain (except brown rice) diet for over a year (for other health reasons besides weight). It is a HUGE challenge at first, but I found that the more I stayed with it, the less I really needed the sugar and sweet flavors. But once the diet ended, it was amazing how quickly I got used to sweets again. Sugar is so addicting! Not to say that eating sugar is a sin, but you can draw a comparison with sin sometimes -- it can be easier to avoid it altogether than to eat just a tiny bit and then try to stop yourself from eating more!

Anyway, thanks for this.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you Lysa!

The Holy Spirit spoke into my heart.

I struggled with thoughts/desire to (no-sugar) have sex! I feel strongly attracted to a wonderful (single-Christian) man and I find myself alone having thoughts of being married with him and enjoying a sexual act in my heart and mind.
It’s been six years since I got separated and divorced. I don’t want to get married again just to have sex; neither do I want to have sex outside of marriage. I see a vision of being in a honeymoon with the man God has in mind for me, but I do want to remain pure and holy for God.
I know I have sinned in my heart and thoughts. I repent and I give the desire of my heart to God. He knows my desires to remain pure and holy and I don’t want to break His heart.
Please pray for me and God bless.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh Lysa, this spoke to me today.
I find myself comparing myself to others and saying "it's not fair". "Why do they get this or that? Why not me?" One such instance was 6 years ago and me not being able to get pregnant. There started my "why not me"? We adopted 2 children a year ago and will be adopting their 3 older sisters this year or next. The reason "why" in this instance, is now so very clear. As you said, "the struggle may be painful in the moment but it is working out something magnificent within us", and this is the truth. I would have never thought I would be the mother of 5 kids! Now I know "why not me".

One of the main things God has recealed to me recently is that a big temptation that I had fallen into since my miscarriage is wanting to know the whys and wherefores of everything before I trusted anything ... and this was true of God and His ways. I wanted an explanation and proof that He could be trusted. That desire - although natural and understandable - overtook my life and my faith for 4 years and became a Baal for me.
I now understand that I was re-enacting the original sin: wanting to eat the fruit of the tree of knowledge - just like Eve had.
I still don't have answers but I choose to believe and trust God and have been led away from that temptation.
God is good, God is love.

Anonymous Jessica said...

please pray for me!This was great. I know that I needed it! Thank you so much!

Blogger Dani Joy said...

I am so excited to have found your devotionals today. I have been in a sort of a slump between studies and am so excited to start a new. Of course I have been reading but not with huge purpose.

Praise the Lord, for His strength and that we don´t have to go it alone! I pray, as I write these verses out that they will start coming to mind as I am tempted to live in the flesh.

Thank you for your words of encouragement! I too am on a no refined sugar diet. ;) Been working on it since Jan. 09 and the Lord has strengthened me through it. And has enabled me to lose 25lbs! Praise His Name!

God bless you and your ministry.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am also one who struggle with weight. I easily fall back to eating the wrrong foods. I pray for strength so that I overcome all weaknesses and break all strongholds of the Devil!

Anonymous Philip Kledzik said...

Thank you for this. We've been doing a low calorie diet to jump start our weight loss. I've also been doing some exercise by once a week riding a horse. I've used the excuse, well I've been burning so many calories I had better take in more than I'm supposed to in order to off set the horse riding. In fact I'm just wanting it, and giving in. Thank you for your blog today. He used it to set me straight.

Blogger Claudia said...

This devotional spoke directly to my heart. I am found in a very hard situation at the moment where sexual temptation is knocking at my door all the time. I have previously given in to that sort of temptation and though didn't have consequences such as a pregnancy or an STD my consequence was much greater I felt my separation from my Lord. Its not that he ever left me but I left Him, like Eve in the garden, I hid for some time feeling so guilty for continuing on the pursuit of my own desires. But God is so great he doesn't leave any of His children behind. Now I found myself in a situation where I find myself being tempted and the prayer on this devotional is so very true for me at this time I wrote it down on my devotional journal. Thank you so much for the great encouragement and the word of wisdom that are very much needed.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I saved this link on my "Favorites" months ago & haven't visited since then. The Holy Spirit lead me here today & this devotion was exactly what I needed to hear. I am a 38yo virgin who promised GOD (when I was about 15/16) that I would save myself for the man HE would send me. Like Anonymous, I also have fantasies about my honeymoon with a God sent husband & FINALLY being able to give of myself & enjoy a man. Sometimes I think my head will explode from the Spiritual thoughts battling with the fleshly thoughts. I will definitely try the 3 x 5 index cards. Just a suggestion, "Every Woman's Battle...Discovering God's Plan for Sexual and Emotional Fulfillment" by Shannon Ethridge has been a great help to me. Maybe it will help someone else.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lysa,
Lifestyle changes aren't easy esp. in today's times. When I was in the restaurant business 30 years ago, running 3-4 miles 3x week and still gaining weight I made up my mind to break the pattern with the following jingle & thought process.
Hopefully they will help someone else as they have helped me maintain at 145#s, 5"7" at age 55.

Two seconds on the lips,
twenty years on the hips!

Is it a need or is it a want?

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