How to Resist Temptation
By Joanne Highley
When dealing with homosexuality and other sexual addictions, one of the most important lessons is how to resist temptation. Most people who come to our ministry know they want to be free of this bondage, but the confounding reality is, if they have not worked their issues, they keep returning to the sin after they have repeatedly cried, prayed, fasted, read the Bible, put on the full armor of God, journaled, counseled and truly wanted to stop this sinful behavior. This can bring a person to many false conclusions: God does not care for He has turned a deaf ear to me. God has given up on me and I am hopeless. God is not doing His part while I am killing myself to do my part. God is punishing me for my sins. I am a dirty sinner who is beyond hope. I was created this way so I might as well live in it. I am going to hell anyway, so go for it.
These are all ungodly reactions to pain which we go into because of years of feeling bad about ourselves and also because of being tired of trying and failing. Many people feel the awful pressure of seemingly having everyone else move on with families and houses while they are stuck in the same condition. All these pressures make the person more driven to get out of homosexuality, but the pressure makes the desire for release greater, so the person returns to the easy “fix” that does nothing but enhance the problem. So this can go on for years unless the lies are turned from and the fight is waged from the position of the true motor of this temptation, which is the ungodly reaction to emotional pain.
There is no question that you have to prepare for the temptation when you are in a cool state and not in the presence of the tempting influence. There must be a firm decision as to what you will do when the temptation arises. The Bible encourages us to flee from temptation, which means to get out of there and go home where you can think straight and pray for God to give you the truth and not the emotional reaction. It is so important that we go to God and not to our old idols. We must smash the idols and grind them to powder like Moses did. Do not sit around and fantasize about your temptation because that will cause the desire to fester rather than be cleaned out.
One man who had learned how to resist temptation said to me, “You must fight the temptation at the moment it comes and not be deceived into thinking that if you have prayed and read the Bible that day that you can resist.” We are not at all putting down Bible reading and prayer which are essential for your Christian growth. But we must not think that will be enough in itself, when the temptation is being driven by very strong emotions from childhood, which if we do not get in touch with and begin to see them for what they are and renounce them, will drive us to do things that we are not in agreement with spiritually, but desire in our ungodly emotions.
Many people have told me that right after church or after devotions or the day before counseling, they fell into sin because when they see the person or other object of temptation, such as pornography, there is a change of identity because of the lying emotions. You can feel helpless, weak, want protection, want to control the person or situation through sexual activity, want revenge, want a “high” from sex, want to feel “connected”, want approval or attention, become frozen as when you were molested or incested, become passive, turn off your mind , feel lonely, feel you are inadequate, feel angry and want to force acceptance, want to hurt or be hurt physically. These are some of the many ways you let the old emotions take you to early childhood ungodly reactions. If you want to resist temptation, you must work to see which of the above reactions you go into and plan a way to resist the lies. There is no help, protection, control, revenge, high, connection, approval, attention, relief from loneliness or any other “answer” in homosexual sex. It is a deceiving, demonic counterfeit that promises you these things and delivers sexual abuse, torment and death. Do not fall for it. Ask the Lord to reveal to you what the driving force of your temptation is, write it down and resist it. Pray against it, write the truth from God and have your counselor pray it out of you., It will break and you will be able to resist temptation. Especially if you will not speak to the person who is tempting you and reject the lie of homosexual connection, go home and work with God to fill you with His truth and light.
You must remember that addiction tells you the desire is too strong to resist. That is a lie! You and God are more powerful than the addiction. We must stand on that truth.
You will need to avoid areas of temptation so you can be strengthened. Turn from old places and people who take you into the temptation. Keep your feet where they will not slip, Make level paths for your feet. Do not turn to the right or the left. Let your eyes look straight ahead, let you gaze be directly before you. (Proverbs 4:20-27) This means do not look back to see if someone is looking at you. Settle that at home. Teach yourself that even if he or she is looking at you in that lustful way, this is not acceptance or attention. This is a desire to use you in a sinful attempt to cover old emotions from the past with sex. It is abuse—do not fall for it. We all need to open the stored emotions and deal with them. Then homosexuality loses its grip.
The most important aspect of resisting temptation is your attitude in regard to God and who He is. In your pain from childhood you got a false concept of God. You need to see what your concept is honestly. He understands how you got the lying ideas about Him and He wants you to get in touch with them and confess them as sin. You have used these false concepts of Him as an excuse to sin. Now you need to see Him as who He says He is. In Exodus 34:6-7, God reveals Himself to Moses in this way:
The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet He does not leave the guilty unpunished; He punishes the children and their children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation.”
I know that the part about punishment for the sin of your fathers is upsetting, and it truly seems to be out of line with the scripture in Jeremiah 31:30, which states, “ Instead, everyone will die for his own sin.” I found through a study of comparative versions of the Bible that this is not the translation of the King James, the American Standard or the Amplified versions. Their translations of that passage all read in the second half of Exodus 34:7:
Who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children’s children to the third and fourth generation.
Iniquity is not just sin, but a bending and twisting of truth that is passed down or imposed (visited) on the generation. An example of this is seen in the following: sex with a prostitute is sin, telling your son he needs to have sex with a prostitute to try out sex is iniquity. Drinking excessively is sin, telling your son he is not a man if he cannot hold his liquor is iniquity. Having sex outside of marriage is sin, what that does to your wife, children and grandchildren is iniquity. Homosexuality is sin, saying it is good and should be approved is iniquity.
But the truth about God is that He does love us all—the whole world—and He is working through His Son, Jesus Christ and His atoning sacrifice on the Cross for all to come to Him. He is slow to anger, full of compassion and mercy and abounds in love and faithfulness toward you, He forgives your wickedness when you confess your sin and cleanses you with His precious blood. He maintains His love toward you and forgives your rebellion and sin. He even forgives blasphemy as He did with St. Paul, if we repent. He puts our sins in the ocean of His forgetfulness when we come to Him to confess our sins. He stays after us as the Hound of Heaven because He created us for Himself and to be the Eternal Companion of our loving Bridegroom, Jesus Christ, His Son, our Savior and Lord. Come to Him in full assurance of His love and compassion.
As you see God for who He truly is, and uproot the old lying ungodly concepts of Him, you will be able to resist temptation. You will see the sin not as love or friendship or as something beautiful, but as God sees it—abomination and filth which will take you out of the Kingdom of God. It will be good to memorize this scripture and say it every day:
I will proclaim the Name of the Lord,
O, praise the greatness of God!
He is the Rock, His works are perfect
And all His ways are just.
A faithful God who does no wrong.
Upright and just is He. Deuteronomy 32:3,4
There is a very effective way to resist temptation and it does work. Stand firm against old emotional lies and stay away from people and places that tempt you. Most of all, look at this work not as simply learning to resist temptation and sexual sin, but as building a new pure life that will enable you to use your gifts to glorify God.