A Moment of Weakness
Despite the universal nature of temptation, many people still mistake temptation for the actual act of sin. However, these two are not the same. If we are to achieve victory in the Christian life, we must learn to distinguish between them.
Be clear on this important point: the enticement to sin does not mean that the act of sin MUST follow. Rather, temptation involves a process through which our hearts, minds, and bodies are preparing for the act of sin. Interrupting this process can stop the growing temptation dead in its tracks.
How does this process flow? It begins with something as simple as a look or a glance. Isn't this how it began with David in 2 Samuel 11:1-5? The enticement entered through his eyes, and then he nursed that desire.
Then, with the image set in our minds, we make a choice: am I going to continue with this desire or not? As these thoughts tumble through our minds, we begin to fantasize and then develop a great desire for the object.
From there, we fall quickly through the areas of decision and pursuit, through which we do whatever is necessary to achieve the goal. Finally, this process culminates with the actual sinful act.
You see, sin doesn't happen immediately. It is the result of a process. That means that you have the ability to bring that momentum to a halt at any time. Ask God for the presence of mind to perceive these steps as they happen, so that you might end the sinful progression before it's too late.
To delve deeper into this subject and more, visit the In Touch Web site: www.intouch.org.
For a free online discipleship study from Dr. Charles Stanley, visit www.charlesstanleyinstitute.com.