Sexual Purity Posts

How to Resist Temptation’s Mirage Moment

Originally posted at: http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/how-to-resist-temptation-s-mirage-moment

Article by Jon Bloom

Temptation is not sin. We know this because Eve was tempted before she fell and Jesus was tempted, “yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15).

Temptation is a disorienting, defiling experience when evil is presented to us as good. Destruction comes dressed up to look like happiness. Sin only occurs when we believe that the destructive lie can actually grant happiness.

One key to resisting temptation is learning to recognize what I call the “mirage moment.”

The Mirage Moment

A mirage is that hallucination parched people sometimes experience in a hot desert. A real desire for water and the shimmering heat of the sand play disorienting games with the mind and emotions. A refreshing oasis seems to appear in the distance promising the happiness of a quenched desire.

A thirsty person might know that no oasis has previously existed in that location. But his desire to be happy, fueled by the hope that this time he just might find happiness there, or at least relief from misery, tempts him to believe the vision. If he yields, he discovers his hope was hopeless and his desire dashed because the oasis was a sham.

In temptation, the mirage moment occurs as we are tempted by a vision promising happiness. Some shimmering oasis of promised joy or relief from despair appears where God said it shouldn’t be.

The mirage’s appearance taps into our real desire to be happy. Our disoriented emotions begin to respond to this desire with a feeling of hope — hope that maybe this time, even if we’ve been disappointed many times before, the oasis will quench our desire. But we know that God has told us it is a false hope.

So we are faced with a choice between temptation’s compelling appearance and God’s promise. We are tempted, but have not yet succumbed to sin.

Learning from Eve’s Mirage Moment

The most notorious mirage moment in history is recorded in Genesis 3. And it illustrates a pattern consistent in all the temptations that we face.

The satanic serpent showed up in the garden and questioned Eve about the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Eve’s explanation shows that she clearly understood God’s promise and warning (Genesis 3:1–3).

Then came Eve’s mirage moment. The serpent replied:

“You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” So when the woman saw . . . (Genesis 3:4–6)

There it is: the mirage. Eve saw something she had not seen before:

[Eve] saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise. (Genesis 3:6)

Eve was experiencing the defilement of evil temptation. She was being told something very different about the tree from what God had told her, and so the tree suddenly looked different to her and she felt different about it.

God created Eve (and all of us) so that the meaning of her sensory impressions was shaped by what she believed to be true. Satan knew this. He knew that if he could change the meaning of the tree for Eve from the curse of death (Genesis 2:17) to the key to a happy life (Genesis 3:5), the tree would cease to look dangerous and begin to look desirable. It would tempt her to hope in something different than God’s promise and she might fall for it.

Satan manipulated Eve’s God-given desire to be happy and used it against her. He enticed her to corrupt this holy desire by pursuing it outside of God. And Eve indeed fell for it, which corrupted her desire by believing the mirage, which furthermore gave birth to sin and death (James 1:14–15):

[Eve] took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. (Genesis 3:6)

Learning from Jesus’s Mirage Moment

Satan employed the same tactic when tempting Jesus (Matthew 4:1–11; Mark 1:12–13; Luke 4:1–13). Whether using food (Luke 4:3), or a cross-less path to power (Luke 4:5–7), or a public demonstration (test) of his divinity (Luke 4:9–11), Satan was trying to corrupt Jesus’s holy, God-given desires.

Satan knew (as the apostle Paul later wrote) that “everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving” (1 Timothy 4:4). But he also knew that what made these things holy was “the word of God and prayer” (1 Timothy 4:5) and that “whatever does not proceed from faith is sin” (Romans 14:23). So Satan set before Jesus mirages to tempt him with faithless promises of divine happiness.

We who live with indwelling sin don’t know the levels to which the sinless God-man was affected. But we do know that what Jesus experienced were temptations. Jesus was given a choice between compelling deceptive appearances and God’s promises. And to each temptation, Jesus responded, “It is written. . . . ” He refused to believe Satan’s deceptive mirages or the emotions they roused. He kept food, power, the revelation of his divinity, and everything else holy by receiving them only through the word of God and prayer.

Recognize and Resist the Mirage Moment

Satan employs the same temptation tactics with us. And one key to not letting him outwit us (2 Corinthians 2:11) is to be on the alert to our mirage moments.

Identify the hope tempting mirages offer. The reason temptations are hard to resist is because hope is hard to resist. Temptations threaten us with missing out on happiness or less misery. We must ask ourselves what the mirage is really promising? Sometimes just saying it out loud breaks its spell.

Declare, like Jesus, “It is written” and take your stand on a promise God has made to make you happy. Don’t fight hope merely with denial. Fight false hope with true hope. Determine to hope in the God of hope (Psalm 42:11; Romans 15:13), not a shimmering hopeless mirage.

Expect the mirage to be tempting. God made you to want to be happy and the mirage has promised you happiness. So of course your emotions, which have responded to the initial deceptive vision, will want the happiness. They will feel demanding, but denying them won’t kill you. In this case, gratifying them just might kill you. Don’t allow your passions to be your dictators (Romans 6:12). Remember, emotions are gauges, not guides. They are indicatives not imperatives. They are to be directed, not to be directors.

To be tempted is not a sin. To yield to temptation is sin. Temptations are never truly as strong as they feel. Their power lies solely in the false hope they produce in us. Remember, it is hope that is powerful. God created us to hope in him (Psalm 43:5).

In temptation, Satan is just trying to use our God-given desire for hopeful happiness against us. If we can identify his false promise of hope, declare the true promise of hope, and expect to weather some disorienting emotional urges, the mirage will dissipate and our hope in God’s promised happiness will strengthen.


More from Desiring God

  • How to Endure Common to Man Temptations | Our most common temptations are generally the most dangerous temptations we face, because Satan knows us and aims at where we are weakest: our profound, pathological fallen selfishness.
  • Your Emotions Are a Gauge, Not a Guide | Remember, your emotions are gauges, not guides. Let them tell you where the spiritual attack is being made so you can fight it with the right promises.
  • Can Jesus Really Understand My Temptations? | John Piper responds to a listener’s question, “Can Jesus really identify with me when he doesn’t know the experience of indwelling sin raging war against the Spirit?”

Jon Bloom serves as author, board chair, and co-founder of Desiring God and has penned three books, Not by Sight (2013), Things Not Seen (2015), and Don’t Follow Your Heart (2015). He lives in the Twin Cities with his wife, Pam, their five children, and one naughty dog.

Humor, Sexual Purity Posts

What if Recovery Were Like Social Media?

Would we actually help one another? 

Those who have seen The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King will understand this meme.

Sexual Purity Posts

Men of the Bible – Samson

Samson

His name means: “Little Sun”

His work: To deliver Israel from the Philistines. His character: Samson’s erotic attachments to foreign women eventually led to his death. A man of mythic strength, he was inwardly weak, given to anger and unfaithful to his Nazirite vows. His prayers as well as his actions against the Philistines seem to have been motivated by the desire for personal vengeance. His sorrow: To have been blinded and imprisoned by his lifelong enemies. His triumph: To have killed more Philistines by his death than he had while living. Key Scriptures: Judges 13-16

A Look at the Man

One of the first Bible stories children hear is the story of Samson, the man who defeated his enemies with a superhuman feat of strength. But it is such an unsavory story that we find ourselves leaving out certain details, for example, Samson’s boasting, his visits to prostitutes, or his murderous rage. Even the man’s prayers were selfish, focused as they were on his own desire for revenge rather than on God’s glory.

Why would God, knowing the future, choose such a person to play such a role, even sending an angel to announce his birth? The question is not easily answered. But it is certainly true that Samson would have been a better man had he paid attention to the call God had placed on his life. Instead, he seems to have squandered the promise of his life by living it in a self-centered, self-directed way.

Ironically, the pattern of his life formed a vivid picture of Israel’s own unfaithfulness during a period when it seemed incapable of resisting the allurement of foreign gods. And so the people God had set apart and called his own, the nation he intended to build up and make strong, grew progressively weaker in the land he had promised.

Samson’s story reminds us of God’s faithfulness, of his ability to deliver his people regardless of the circumstances and despite their sins. It also reminds us of what can happen when we allow ourselves to become attached to things and people, however enticing, that might end in our own self-destruction.

Reflect On: Judges 16:23–31 Praise God: For his sovereignty. Offer Thanks: For God’s strength working within you. Confess: Any promises you have made to God and not kept. Ask God: To make you a person who is strong on the inside.

Today’s reading is a brief excerpt from Men of the Bible: A One-Year Devotional Study of Men in Scripture by Ann Spangler and Robert Wolgemuth (Zondervan). © 2010 by Ann Spangler. Used with permission. All rights reserved. Enjoy the complete book by purchasing your own copy at the Bible Gateway Store.

Sexual Purity Posts

Don’t Take Ownership For Your Mate’s Life

Galatians 6:2-5 – “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves. Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else, for each one should carry their own load.”

When you marry someone, you take on the burden of loving your spouse deeply and caring for him or her as for no other. You care about how you affect your spouse; you care about your spouse’s welfare and feelings. If one spouse feels no sense of responsibility to the other, this spouse is, in effect, trying to live married life as a single person. On the other hand, you can’t cross the line of responsibility. You need to avoid taking ownership for your mate’s life.

The law of responsibility in marriage is this: We are responsible to each other, but not for each other. The Bible teaches it this way in Galatians 6:2-5: “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ” and “each one should carry his own load.” The word burden indicates a backbreaking boulder, such as a financial, health, or emotional crisis.

Spouses actively support each other when one is carrying an overwhelming burden. The term load, however, indicates one’s daily responsibilities of life. This includes one’s feelings, attitudes, values, and handling of life’s everyday difficulties. Spouses may help each other out with loads, but ultimately, each person must take care of his own daily responsibilities.

Two extremes occur in marriage when the law of responsibility is not obeyed. On the one hand, a husband will neglect his responsibility to love his wife. He may become selfish, inconsiderate, or hurtful. He will not consider how his actions affect and influence his mate. This is being irresponsible to a spouse.

On the other hand, a husband may take on responsibility his wife should be bearing. For example, his wife may be unhappy, and he may feel responsible for her happiness. Perhaps he feels that he isn’t making enough money, showing enough interest in her activities, or helping enough around the house. So he tries and tries to make an unhappy person happy. This is an impossible project. While a husband should be sympathetic toward his unhappy wife and take responsibility for his own hurtful behavior, he shouldn’t take responsibility for her feelings. They are hers, and she must handle them herself.

Couples have a duty to set limits on each spouse’s destructive acts or attitudes. For example, if a husband has a gambling problem, his wife needs to set appropriate limits, such as canceling his credit cards, separating their joint accounts, or insisting that he get professional help, to force him to take responsibility for his problem. The law of responsibility in marriage means that spouses refuse to rescue or enable the sinful or immature behavior of their partners.

Today’s content is drawn from Boundaries in Marriage by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend. Copyright 2002 by Zondervan; all rights reserved. Visit BoundariesBooks.com for more information.

Sexual Purity Posts

The Empty Chair

I pray that Anthony Weiner gets the help he so desperately needs.  May God grant him serenity.

Originally posted at: http://time.com/5011148/anthony-weiner-sexting-prison/

Anthony Weiner to Begin His 21-Month Prison Sentence For Sexting a Minor

by Eli Meixler

(NEW YORK) — A sexting compulsion that cost Anthony Weiner his seat in Congress and a chance to be New York City’s mayor is about to cost him his freedom too.

Weiner, a Democrat, is scheduled to surrender by 2 p.m. Monday at Devens Federal Medical Center in Massachusetts to serve a 21-month sentence for illicit online contact with a 15-year-old girl.

The facility in Ayer, about 40 miles (64 kilometers) west of Boston, has over 1,000 inmates at the medical center and over 100 more at an adjacent minimum security satellite camp.

Weiner was sentenced in September by a judge who said Weiner’s crime resulted from a “very strong compulsion.” A tearful Weiner said he was undergoing therapy and had been “a very sick man for a very long time.”

Amid a sexting controversy involving women, Weiner resigned his House seat in 2011 only to have new allegations doom his 2013 run for mayor.

Last year, a criminal probe into his sexting with a high school student intruded into Democrat Hillary Clinton’s bid for the White House. Then-FBI Director James Comey announced in late October 2016 that he was reopening the probe of Clinton’s use of a private computer server after emails between Clinton and Weiner’s wife, Huma Abedin — formerly Clinton’s closest aide — were found on Weiner’s laptop computer.

Two days before Election Day, the FBI declared there was nothing new in the emails. But in a recent interview, Clinton called Comey’s intervention “the determining factor” in her defeat.

Abedin and Weiner are in divorce proceedings.

At sentencing in Manhattan federal court, Weiner attorney Arlo Devlin-Brown said his client likely exchanged thousands of messages with hundreds of women over the years and was communicating with up to 19 women when he encountered the teenager.

Humor, Sexual Purity Posts

Porn is so Unrealistic….

General Meeting Information, Sexual Purity Posts

LAST DAY TO REGISTER! – Castimonia’s Paratus Retreat 2017

CASTIMONIA’S PARATUS MEN’S RETREAT 2017

Today is the LAST DAY to register for the retreat!  If you want to brotherhood with other men and learn more about tools for your recovery like protecting your family online, then you should register for this retreat.

Retreat Scholarships are available!

Also, as an added incentive, our ministry founder will be signing up men without sponsors to start an 18-month journey through the 12 Steps on Saturday mornings before the 10am meeting.  Sign up FIRST at this retreat!

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/castimonias-paratus-mens-retreat-2017-tickets-36664868609

Here is some information on the retreat.  I pray that the Lord uses this retreat to help men in their sexual purity journey.  The link to register for the retreat will be available later this Summer.

Friday, November 3rd – Sunday, November 5th

Castimonia’s Paratus Retreat is a retreat for any man who struggles with any type of sexual purity.  Paratus is Latin for equipped.

If you are wondering about whether to attend this retreat, ask yourself these questions:

  • Are you fully equipped for the spiritual battle that is raging around us right now?
  • Are you a man who strives for biblical sexual purity?
  • Are you a man who struggles with maintaining that sexual purity?
  • Do you want a circle of brothers helping you in your sexual purity journey?

Join us for a weekend dedicated to equipping adult men of all ages, all walks of life, and various levels of struggle with the tools necessary to wage this spiritual battle and emerge on the other side as the sexually pure men that God intended us to be.

At the retreat, we will discuss strategies for equipping ourselves with tactics necessary for battling the enemy. We will discover the true meaning of brotherhood and fellowship. The leaders of the retreat will set the example of vulnerability and accountability. We hope to pave the way for all men to be fully equipped to wage war against Satan’s tempting assaults and emerge VICTORIOUS.

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/castimonias-paratus-mens-retreat-2017-tickets-36664868609

Regular Registration  October 1st – November 1st – $200