Stormproof Men II

Day 2 of 9 • This day’s reading


I Want God to Remove Temptation

Many choose the second option: I want God to remove the temptation. But this goal often leaves us frustrated. Some sources of temptation are completely out of our control and if we ask God to remove the temptation, we want Him to change the world around us to make life easier for us. Of course, when this does not happen, we could respond by being disappointed or frustrated that God didn’t rescue us. Notice the selfishness in this? God needs to orchestrate my world so that I am not tempted. 

God never promises to remove temptations. Asking God to remove the temptation is a valid prayer. The problem arises when we expect God to remove the temptations as if He promised to do so. He did promise a way of escape, but He never promised to eliminate them. So, if your goal is “I want God to remove the temptation," you'll likely be frustrated.

I Want to Say "No" to Temptation

The third option seems like a great one: I want to say “no” when tempted. Fleeing sexual immorality, of course, includes saying “no” to sexual temptation. If I think about logging into an inappropriate website, or if I allow my eyes to linger where they should not be lingering, or if I think about acting out in any way that is unbiblical, I need to say “no.” I need to recognize temptation when it comes (and trust me, it will come!) and then refuse to yield to it. 

No doubt this is a great goal, but this too, falls short. This goal is measured only by what we do not do, “I am sexually pure if I say 'no' to inappropriate sexual activity.” Negative statements such as “say no” may initially motivate change, but many times they frustrate. Negatives can start us in the right direction but rarely sustain positive movement forward. I remember when my children were little and (seemingly) always getting into things, my conversation with them seemed to consist of only three words: “Don’t … stop … quit.” I felt frustrated since it seemed I was always emphasizing the negative. The negative demands were necessary (after all, what father wants his child to eat crickets?). But, over the long haul, we also need something positive to replace the negative. For my kids, I needed to say something like “Stop running in the house. Instead, go outside and run around the back yard!” In the same way, I need my goal for purity to include more positive motivators than just the negative phrase, “don’t do this.”