“I will exalt you, Lord, for you lifted me out of the depths and did not let my enemies gloat over me. Lord, my God, I called to you for help and you healed me.” Psalm 30:1-2
I wanted to let go of everything I stood for. That included over a decade of vocational ministry. What this path seemed to offer consumed me. I was drawn to pick up my life and move. I felt like I was being pulled to the point where I couldn’t resist. I wasn’t even sure I wanted God’s deliverance. I was in deep trouble. And I recognized the struggle as a trap of the enemy. It was an “all-out” emotional and spiritual battle.
Temptation comes in all shapes and sizes. I shared a sketch of a season of deep struggle in my soul. If the Lord didn’t prevail, I wouldn’t be writing to you. The definition of temptation is “to entice to do wrong by promise of pleasure or gain; to induce to do something.” What did I learn about resisting intense temptation? God can LIFT us out.
L Look for the reason behind your hunger. Enticement arises from a hunger within – to be appreciated, known, validated, secure, acknowledged, comforted, to name a few. The craving is not sinful in itself. Many times temptation arises from legitimate, God-given needs. I needed help with a physical struggle. However, when you begin to make decisions about how to meet your needs based on what you see instead of reliance on the Lord’s Spirit, you fall into a trap of the flesh and enemy. “We live by faith, not by sight.” 2 Cor. 5:7
I Initiate with other believers who care about you. One of the most effective ways to combat a time of intense temptation is to tell trustworthy believers what you are experiencing. I remember confiding in a mentor friend. She responded, “If I was struggling in that way, I wouldn’t put myself in the situation.” She was compassionate but also straightforward. I needed both because it’s easy for emotions to cloud clear thinking. “Let the godly strike me! It will be a kindness. If they correct me, it is soothing medicine. Don’t let me refuse it.” Psalm 141:5
F Forsake finding your own way to meet needs. Satan knows the areas of your life where you have experienced deficits and he will tempt you to pursue solutions outside of God’s ways. He is a master at making the avenue look really appealing as the sole answer to your craving. If you take the road he is proposing, you will end up deceived and detached from hearing the Lord’s voice clearly. “Do not be deceived. God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.” Galatians 6:7
T Turn your full attention to the Lord. I received a breakthrough when I expressed to God that He could meet my needs better than anything or anyone. I cried out for deliverance. Not soon after circumstances changed and I no longer faced the temptation head on. A shift in events relieved the pressure and yet it took a while for my heart to be fully freed from the allure of the counterfeit solution. The psalmist proclaims God healed him in the verses from Psalm 30 above. I believe the Lord deposits healing in your heart as you stand firm in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Sisters, I urge “airing it out” so we can expose the tactics of the enemy. What have you discovered through temptation?