“When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each of you is tempted when you are dragged away by your 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.”
When I first read this, it stuck out to me. I underlined it and moved on. But in returning to it a few times, it really spoke to me about what temptation is. First, it is very clear that temptation does not come from God. Second, it says “but each of you is tempted when you are dragged away by your own evil desire and enticed.”
You are tempted when you are dragged away by your own evil desire. So, to me, that says that we are not tempted, then we lose the fight and decide to give in. But we first drag ourselves away from God, away from his protection, because we want to give in, then we are tempted.
This what the thought I had, but then I thought, “wait a second, this can’t be true. what about when Jesus was “tempted” in the desert?”
So I looked at the passage. And the greek that we have always heard as tempted is actually translated as tested. The Devil is only testing Jesus, not tempting him. It also says at the beginning of that passage that Jesus went into the desert full of the holy spirit. He went into the desert under the protection of the Lord.
So what does this mean for us? Well, think about it this way. Someone can offer you something in exchange for some money. A shoe, a telephone, whatever. And if this was something you wanted, you would be tempted to make the deal. But if this was something you had absolutely no desire for, then you would not be tempted in the least.
So if we are being tempted to masturbate or look at porn, it is because we want to.
You could say that this is natural, that we are sexual beings, therefore programmed to want this. And that would be true on some level. We are programmed to want sex. But masturbation and pornography are not what sex is. They are destructive, not only to you but to those around you. If you masturbate with someone in your mind, what does that do to the way you see them? I know that I have had a fair share of people who I could not look at the same way. They were just another means for me to get off.
But if we truly saw these people through God’s eyes, then it would be impossible to masturbate to the thought of them. It would be impossible to be turned on from porn for love of the porn star. We would never be tempted because we would not want it.
So pray that God gives you his heart for these people. Be real. Think to yourself, who is that person in my mind that I get off to? Think to yourself, who is that porn star. Really, on a deep level. How sucky is her life because of porn? And pray that God gives His heart for that porn star, or that person you masturbate to.
I know this is heavy, and I don’t want to sound like I’m preaching. But God laid this on my heart and I know it has helped me a ton (no no all of college), and I really think it could help all of you.
It won’t happen overnight. But pray for these people, constantly, and God will show you his heart.