By Brad Currie
James 1:14-15: “..but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.”
At Life Line, we are a group of courageous men who are authentically connected with each other and are willing to engage honestly about pursuing sexual integrity in a culture that promotes the complete opposite. We explore our own character defects caused by the wounds that we all have from our families of origin.
Sometimes we quickly blame our temptation on the enemy and the culture. Does temptation arise from these sources? Yes. But often our temptation originates from within. It begins when we are dragged away and enticed. This means that our focus shifts away from what matters most, and we become distracted with what fulfills the least.
Our memories of activities or previous relationships can entice us. When we engage those thoughts and memories and allow ourselves to fantasize about them, we are being dragged away. Or to use James’ language, we are dragging ourselves away. Where will that lead us?
Sometimes temptation occurs as a form of dealing with our emotions. We have learned that emotions such as anger, insignificance, loneliness, rejection, fear, failure and disappointment can be numbed and soothed by engaging sexual thoughts. Unfortunately, it is easier to engage those thoughts and medicate rather than deal with the emotions appropriately.
It is difficult to accept this truth and to learn to deal with emotions in healthy ways. It is especially difficult to learn how to process emotions with other people. We want to keep it all bottled up and want people to think we have it all together; the truth is: we’re all needy and sometimes we have to get needy out loud. When we numb feelings by engaging these thoughts or images, we are giving birth to sin and ultimately, that gives way to death. We need to own our self-temptation and be willing to engage our neediness and surrender ourselves to God.
At Life Line, we wrestle with these issues together, and the result is that we support and encourage each other along the right road to health and healing.
A couple of questions to consider:
- In what ways do you tempt yourself, effectively dragging yourself away to be enticed?
- Have you turned these things over to God and others? If not, how about telling God and others about it today?