I wish I could remember who shared with me this wisdom of truth in life.
With temptation comes pain.
I guess I was aware that there was pain associated with temptation, but when this person said it out loud I stopped to look at what tempts me and realized they were right.
We all are tempted. Each and every day, and we all have different things that tempt us. Some temptations are strong and some just annoy us. From lust, to envy, hate, gossip, gluttony, laziness, pride, idolatry and more – we have temptations that take away from our relationship with our Creator, Savior and King.
But I have learned one way to fight temptation is to realize there will be pain, and endure just a little while – without giving into the temptation.
The pain is going to come either way…
God gave me a picture that shows where pain comes in. I have shared it with some folks and it really makes sense to me.
Knowing we all have temptations we will take one of two paths – giving in to the temptation or denying the temptation.
Giving in to the temptation
If we are weak in the flesh and give in to the temptation, what immediately follows is pleasure. That’s what makes the temptation so strong is the thought, taste or feel of the pleasure. No doubt we enjoy the pleasure for a time. Sometimes it is short-lived and sometimes we really dwell in it, but we do experience the pleasure. But then comes the pain.
After we have squeezed all the pleasure out of that sin we face the reality that we have disappointed God. If that does not pain you then your relationship with Jesus should be evaluated. By giving in to the temptation and experiencing the sin, I experience some kind of pain. Sometimes just bothered by what I did, and sometimes grieved to tears. Some people even hold on to that pain for years without knowing how to get rid of it.
Of course what should come next is repentance to God and those offended by my actions. Even more pain!
Denying the temptation
The other option we have with a temptation is to deny the lure and not give in or experience the pleasure. That of course creates pain for us by not allowing us the pleasure that we know can come with the temptation. Here again, sometimes these pains are just a nuisance, but sometimes we have a really hard time saying no. By saying no I know that I will not get to experience the pleasure that was on the other side of the temptation, and that hurts.
The good news is that when we say no to the temptation and know that pain is coming we can prepare ourselves. For example I can say to myself – I know that if I hold my tongue for about 10 minutes I will not hurt anyone’s feelings and I will have avoided the temptation of hateful talk.
James 4:7 says Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.
Submit to what God says – do not sin. Take a little pain by denying the temptation. Then according to the Bible – satan will flee from you!
So – do I just need to deny satan one time and he is out of my life? No, that is not the case. We are told by Jesus in Luke 9:23 to daily deny ourselves (deny sin), get about the business He has in store for each of us, and follow Him.
Jim Rohn said “We must all suffer one of two things: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret.”
Choose the option of pain by denying temptation. In the long run your life will be more richer and satisfying!