Living on Purpose: How Do We Respond to Temptation?
Posted at 2:00 p.m. on Wednesday, October 26, 2022
By Billy Holland
The painful truth about any kind of addiction and temptation is that there is an introduction and a personal deal to entertain it. They knew it was wrong, but made a conscious decision to accept it and a cognitive desire to continue. I have never known anyone trying to recover from an addiction to trip over and fall headfirst into a bag of cocaine and relapse. Do those with a history of drug addiction accidentally stumble upon heroin syringes or don’t they realize the dangers of taking oxycodone? No. They gave up their power of resistance, bowed down to their new master, and became slaves to the persuasion of darkness.
I have never heard of an alcoholic who accidentally opened and drank hard liquor, thinking it was a carbonated drink. People know exactly what they are consuming. When a person walks into a bar or liquor store, they certainly know why they are there. Individuals do not inadvertently become involved in sin. They willingly choose what they want to do. Whatever the situation and no matter how long it has been going on, people are looking for relief to dull the agony of reality. To become numb to the truth, to drown out the voice of conviction and guilt, to avoid, to flee and to hide from God. Some will never face their fears until it is too late and would rather live in emotional and spiritual captivity than allow God to set them free.
The same principle of free will occurs when someone becomes extremely obese. Yes, we have compassion, like anyone struggling with any kind of problem, and we can’t imagine the cycle of discouragement they go through every day. We also realize that some people have hormonal issues and other health issues that aren’t their fault, but others just never said no to their cravings. For whatever reason, food can become a powerful anesthetic that brings temporary relief by trading feelings of euphoria for chains of bondage. A lack of accountability and self-discipline has serious consequences, to say the least. Again, no one has ever forced another person to overeat; they do it because they want to.
I spoke with a woman the other day, and she was talking to me about taking care of her four grandchildren. The girl and her husband became drug addicts and divorced. Shortly after, the girl brought her children to this woman and her husband, and they haven’t seen her since. It was four years ago. These grandparents have full custody but struggle to raise these beautiful children as they have limited income. Sadly, many parents have abandoned their little ones, and far too often drug addiction and incarceration are part of the equation. It’s a heartbreaking scenario, and we wonder how anyone could love a certain type of desire more than their own children or anything else. It’s actually the same answer that applies to every decision we all make moment by moment. Free will to choose. When Sinatra sang “I Did It My Way,” he was making a rebellious statement to most of the human race. It is the arrogant and aggressive proclamation of not caring what God says about sin. I live by my own rules.
Most of us know someone who is enmeshed in some type of habit, craving, fixation, weakness, compulsion, or addiction. These behaviors result from the way individuals attempt to deal with whatever seems to overwhelm them. We realize that we humans are vulnerable to urges, but we always have a choice to resist or accept them. It’s not how often we are tempted. That’s how determined we are to oppose it. Every idea, thought and suggestion will receive one of two reactions, yes or no. The enemy of our soul has had the opportunity to persuade us to make destructive decisions. Yet, with the strength of God, we can learn to control our emotional impulses, which is what God intended. If we refuse to develop perseverance to free ourselves from our destructive cycles, our carnality will control us and cause even more misery and disappointment. Although we may try to help others become victorious, each person must realize that trusting God is the key that can open the doors to their own prison. Those who do not want to help themselves cannot be forced to change.
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