Temptation can be a touchy subject for some of us who identify as ‘Christians’. Why? One of two reasons mainly: 1) we’re completely oblivious to temptation and simply just do what feels good, or; 2) we’re aware of temptation but don’t want our private battles out in public (we think it makes us seem weak #Let'sBeHonest).
Temptation is like the trigger of a trap laid for an unsuspecting victim. We have to keep our eyes open to avoid getting caught by the trap. If we're ignorant or naive, we'll suffer the painful consequences. So it's extremely important that we don't just walk around blind to these realities.
Temptation should be expected in this life (see Matthew 18:7). Jesus experienced it himself when He was tempted in the wilderness (see Matthew 4:1-11) and countless other times that aren't documented in the scriptures (Hebrews 4:15). So as God's children, we can't be ignorant of the climate that we live in (see 2 Corinthians 2:11). Temptation is real and affects each and every one of us. From the pastor to the parent, the city professional to the entrepreneur. It's not a question of whether we face temptations or not (since the biblical reality is that we all do). The question is what we do when we're tempted - how do each of us respond?
With every temptation we experience, God promises to give us a way of escape (1 Corinthians 10:13). So in real terms, there's always an exit, we just have to intentionally look for it. Sometimes, it's taking drastic action in the heat of the moment. Like literally running from that steamy situation with that guy/girl you know you're not married to (see Genesis 39:1-12). Other times, it's getting real about the things you know make you feel the weakest, then using avoidance tactics. If drinking always leads to drunkenness, then maybe quit alcohol and avoid those tempting settings (see Matthew 18:7-9). Real talk - fire doesn't discriminate. So if we choose to walk on fiery stones, we can't be surprised when our feet get burnt (see Proverbs 6:27-28).
We have to stop blaming the devil and his troops for all of our bad decisions. Granted, we can't always control everything about our surroundings, but we can control how we respond. That's not to condemn us for where we’ve got it wrong, but to encourage us to take charge and get control over temptation. Being tempted isn't sinful in itself, yielding to the temptation is. So as God's children who practice putting our fleshly desires to death, let's choose the way of the Kingdom: identify temptation and resist. And if we've got it wrong, then we own that and take it to God. We then prayerfully strategise on the things that led to our downfall and plan forward on how we can do better next time.