It’s easy to sit smugly in the first glow of a new relationship or as we return from a glorious honeymoon to believe that our relationship is untouchable. It’s easy to convince ourselves that our marriage will never hit problems, that we will never be tempted to commit adultery or deceive our spouse.
Let’s get real. As Christians we aspire to live as Jesus taught us, we strive to be like Him yet most of us fall short every day, in thought, word or deed in many aspects of our lives. This is no different in relationships. Divorce rates are on the rise among both Christians and non-Christians. The implication is that in some cases temptation is winning the day.
Financial pressures, children, the mundane reality of everyday life, all of them can leave us feeling jaded. We may find ourselves fantasizing about what it might feel like to be with someone else. It may be that we have a specific target of that fantasy. We know it’s wrong, but how can we resist? What can we do about it?
If you are enticed by the seeming allure of extra-marital activity here are five steps you can take to resist the temptation. These steps can apply to all areas of your life.
Repent. Confess your sin and call on Jesus. He was tempted too, yet was without sin. His empathy is genuine. Draw on his strength and stay close to him. ‘For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. (Hebrews 4:15)
2. Take responsibility for your sin. Don’t blame someone else for it – the sin is within us. James explains that we are tempted by our own innate, desires of the flesh. ‘But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed’ (James 1:14)
Watch your thoughts. Your thoughts ultimately form your character. The more you linger on a sinful thought, the less likely you are to resist the temptation. If you fantasize about another woman or man, whether real or imagined, it will be more difficult to resist if the actual situation materializes.
Make every thought obedient to Christ. If you do, the temptation will inevitably dissipate. ‘For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.’ (2 Cor 10:4-5).
Remember, God will provide you with what you need to resist the temptation if you truly seek it. ‘No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it (1 Cor 10:13). God has granted us free will.
Jesus died for us because as humans we are sinners. If we stay close to him we can confront sin and resist temptation. Our relationships will be stronger for it.
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