Temptations are all around us. Focus on your heart instead.
I’ll never forget the time I was speaking at a men’s conference when the speaker before me was explaining how men can deal with pornography’s powerful temptations. He shared how he packs a tool belt with him whenever he is on the road so that he can dismantle the TV set from what anchors it to the wall in his room. Then he brings the television set to the front desk of the hotel.
Bravo — no more porno movie temptations.
Upon hearing this, I couldn’t help but utter that horrible three letter word — Wow! While all the men cheered this speaker when he told this “wow” story of his actions to combat his lust, all I thought was: “What about your laptop computer?”
Jesus said; “For out of the heart come evil thoughts — murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. These are what defile a person; but eating with unwashed hands does not defile them.” – Matthew 15: 19-20
When fighting temptation, we often start off at the wrong spot. We tend to skip past our hearts where Jesus reminds us all our evil thoughts live. Instead, we jump right into obedience mode and do irrational stuff like take TV sets apart from hotel rooms and drop them off at front desks. Not only is this crazy, but it’s embarrassing when the front desk staff ask you why you are behaving like a nut bar, and you have to tell them it’s because you don’t want to watch a porno film. Or, worse yet, you actually feel you are “Super Christian” because you did such a heroic act in order to remain pure.
Bottom line — all of us are surrounded by technology that accesses pornography at the press of a button. Listen to Jesus — the issue lies in your heart, not in the TV, laptop or your cell phone. It’s a heart issue.
So how do we deal with our hearts as we struggle with any form of temptation? There are two ways:
1. Work on your love relationship with Jesus.
Jesus said: “If you love me you will keep my commandments.” – John 14:15. Living a victorious Christian life starts with our relationship with Jesus. In my life I have discovered that if I am taking time out each day, opening my heart to Jesus — to listen to him, confess my sin to him, hear his voice and allow him to tell me how much he loves me, and to read his Word — my heart for Christ grows.
It is in these sacred times of loving Jesus and letting him love me, that I am able to see any form of evil that lies in my heart, and I can give it to him to take away so he can refill me with his Spirit. As my love for Christ grows, the allure of pornography decreases, and all I can say is that it is because I start with my heart. As Jesus says: If we love him we will obey his commandments. It starts with our love for Christ first, right there in our hearts, then obedience follows.
2. Get a godly brother to walk with you.
King Uzziah was only 16 years old when he became King of Judah. We read in 2 Chronicles 26 that, “He did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, just as his father Amaziah had done. He sought God during the days of Zechariah, who instructed him in the fear of God. As long as he sought the LORD, God gave him success.” – 2 Chronicles 26: 4-5.
The above verses tell us that he sought God “during the days of Zechariah”. Unfortunately, there came a time when “the days of Zechariah” ceased (he died) and Uzziah no longer had a godly brother who walked life with him. 2 Chronicles 26: 16 – 23 tells us what happened to Uzziah when he tried life without a godly brother alongside of him, and it’s not pretty.
The simple lesson here is that we can’t live the Christian life solo. We need help — we need Zechariahs in our life.
Temptation comes in various forms. Just ask King David who stumbled upon a nude Bathsheba while he was minding his own business on his roof top (2 Samuel 11:1-27). But for us, we have Bathsheba’s all around us on our laptops, TV’s, movie screens and cell phones. We must prepare for this reality and its alluring powers over us. So meet regularly to share the struggle with a godly Zechariah-like friend who can strengthen you by walking life with you and bask in Christ’s loving presence. It’s in these actions of the heart where the victory lies.