Our R.E.S.T. support group met tonight… it was so good to spend time with the girls and talk openly!!
We talked about temptation and addictions. The things we’re tempted with are linked to our insecurities and the false identities we take on…. to cope with the lies we are told and to face our insecurities, we give in to temptation and then we try to justify it and force ourselves to believe that things are fine. We begin to develop false identities ourselves based on the lies we buy into and when this happens, our decisions are not based on who we truly are. We start by saying we’ll give in to the temptation only once, and convince ourselves we have things under control. Giving in to the temptation eventually becomes a coping mechanism that we get comfortable running to, and when this happens it can become such a part of us that it’s hard to resist, let alone identify as a problem. Giving in to temptation only provides us with a sense of temporary and false fulfillment. We will be left feeling empty and more unhappy afterwards, and extremely confused about who we are.
Many temptations are clearly not going to be good for us including overindulging in food, abusing alcohol or substances, lying to others, or giving in to sexual temptations and being unfaithful. The list goes on! Other times the temptations are disguised as good things, but what makes them dangerous is that they come to us at the wrong time. For example, sex in itself is a beautiful thing, but when done at the wrong time and outside of God’s plan for us, it can be harmful. Or we may decide we want a boyfriend/girlfriend or make a commitment to get married, and then we end up in a tough relationship that could have been avoided if we just would have waited for God’s timing. Some of us may be presented with the opportunity to make more money for our family, then we find ourselves wrapped up in work as our family fades away. These temptations and many more can all come as blessings in disguise. This is one of Satan’s oldest tricks.
No matter how much you know about temptation, how long you have avoided it, or how close you get to God, you will always be faced with them… you should always be on guard and never assume you’re exempt from old or new temptations. Even Jesus was tempted. Although He resisted, when Satan left Him we are told he planned to return at a more favorable time to tempt Jesus again (Luke 4:13). This is a reality of the world that we’re all faced with. No one is exempt…no one! But Jesus offers us hope because He displays freedom and victory despite Satan’s attempts to destroy Him. Anyone who accepts Jesus is given this same power and authority… sometimes we just need God’s help to activate it.
Freedom is being able to move out of temptation as you reinforce who you are in Christ… being comfortable in your addictions and repeatedly giving in to temptation is enslavement. I’m not saying that freedom is in perfection, because none of us is perfect and we all fail, including me! What I’m trying to say may sound a little backwards, but freedom is actually found in the act of recognizing our weakness, and choosing to ask God for help… that is what brings you to a place of freedom, a place where temptation looses it’s power.
How do we fight off temptation?
- Acknowledge your struggle and stop justifying, avoiding or playing the victim. Realize that Satan is a real force trying to take you out and he’s not playin’, so you shouldn’t either!
- Get connected to a support group or recovery group, and reliable people you can be accountable to. Be willing to talk about your struggles and temptations with a person or a group you trust. Be sure your accountability partner(s) are accountable themselves!
- Next, don’t even allow yourself to entertain the thoughts and possibilities of acting on those things that you know you have struggled with in the past. As soon as a temptation enters your mind, pray and ask God if it is something He wants for you. If it is something that will push you farther from God, it can’t be anything good!
- Quickly try to identify your insecurity/area of weakness that relates to the temptation, what lies you believed about yourself to make you insecure, then seek the truth about who you are… not who you think you are, but who GOD says you are. This truth will help you dismantle the insecurity.
Some examples of lies rooted in false identity/insecurities could be the temptation of an affair stemming from a feeling that you are unloved or unwanted. This is a lie and probably relates to an insecurity you developed in your past. Or you may be tempted to go on a shopping spree, but it could be rooted in the lie that your beauty is based on your outer appearance. The desire to drink or do drugs may come from a place of self-loathing and the insecurity that no one will have fun or enjoy being with you – again, this is rooted in a lie!
Dig deeper and ask God to reveal to you what false identities lie beneath the temptations coming your way, and more importantly, ask Him how He really feels about you! After all, He is the one who really matters… and to Him you are amazing!