Temptation: resisting the flesh…

black playing cards on black background

By tugging at the heart.

When the queen of hearts comes knocking don't let her in.

Kiss and Tell

“I hope to make it to my wedding day for my first kiss,” she says.

Did I hear her correctly? A woman who appears to be in her late-twenties is waiting until her actual wedding day to have her first kiss. A young woman being tempted by her fiancé and is able to resist his flesh, is that even possible?

Nearly two hundred women in my weekly Bible study gather to listen to this young woman preach about purity. The woman shares her lack of experience and wants to talk to me about sexual temptation. Does she know something about temptation and marriage that I don’t?

Although I haven’t actually been led astray from the sanctity of my marriage, temptation certainly has presented itself. If I were to lead this lesson at the pulpit they would have to caption my audience as TV-MA. I would have to discuss in detail how to master temptation. And the young woman would definitely learn a thing or two!

“in order to train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, and to be good housewives who submit themselves to their husbands, so that no one will speak evil of the message that comes from God.”

Titus 2:4-5 GNT

Titus 2:3 shares with us, that we older women are not to be slaves to wine, a temptation which has previously led me astray, but lust, that temptation, I was able to conquer. And if you ask me now, I believe lust of the flesh is much more powerful than wine.

Kiss Don’t Tell

If I suggest to my own daughters to abstain from kissing until after the “I do,” I would be jeopardizing adult communications with my girls. Because they certainly would not feel comfortable sharing with me! But if I offer advice with applying boundaries, preaching respect and honesty then maybe they would listen to what I had to say.

In order to speak at the pulpit about purity I would need to omit a couple things. First true confession… My husband and I met at a wedding in our mid-twenties. Not only did I kiss my husband the first night we met, but my “date” found us in the coat room, “looking” for my coat at the end of the night. Our pre-marital relationship was built on clay; a composite of lust and deception.

My worldly advice to maintaining a healthy marriage might go against some of the values I should be preaching. I will not be kissing and telling, but would like to broach the subject pursuing holiness in an unholy world. Sharing the challenges as a committed adult each decade and how I was able to resist temptation.

Sexual temptation in the mid-to-late twenties there is no need to resist the flesh.

The mid-to-late twenties was all about us, marriage.

I married at the age of twenty-six and got pregnant soon after. We, my husband and I, still found time to have excursions without our first born. At that point of my life it wasn’t the alcohol I was drunk on but love. You could dangle the hottest young man and I wouldn’t even look.

Second true confession… My husband and I did not wait to do the deed until our wedding day. I would not be able to share what it is to be a chaste woman. What I can share is how to love your husband and children, to be self-controlled (in regards to temptation), pure, being a good housewife and submitting myself to my husband (as he submits to me).

Sexual temptation in the thirties building a resistance to the flesh.

Decade three was a blur of activity. For many of my friends these were the child bearing and rearing years. We were all in full fledge family mode. My husband and I created a strong foundation with secure building blocks put into place. Our relationship is built on respect and trust.

The thirties was all about motherhood, my daughters.

Given the opportunity for a girl’s weekend most of us, girls, were game. We would venture out as roving young mothers, set free from our responsibilities for a weekend of fun. When we met up with groups of young men, the focus wasn’t on sex but freedom. My heart and mind were focused on my young family and a strange young man couldn’t offer anything to lead me astray.

Sexual temptation in the forties overcoming resistance of the flesh.

The forties was all about me. But who was I?

We mothers successfully got our children through their childhood and were in or approaching the teenage years. For a housewife and woman whose identity was wrapped up in her children’s life I slowly started to lose sight of myself.

In my early forties, Robin Thicke came out with his hit single “Blurred Lines.” That is the theme song for that period of my life. While my marital foundation was still intact I noticed cracks forming.

Our beach weekends away started to change. No longer was the focus on our husband or children but us. Mothers looking for their identities from the men who were eager to share their affections. And when a woman has insecurity from her past and no identity she welcomes this behavior.

Third true confession… I have never had an adulterous relationship but the opportunity has presented itself. I recall a conversation I had with a husband/father (who was a decade younger) where we were flirting with the idea of committing sin. While my girlfriend was getting busy with his guy friend, our conversation was getting a bit too cozy for my liking. As a young father I knew it was the alcohol talking and a reminder is all he needed to avoid temptation. Alcohol doesn’t only blur our visibility but our judgement.

Playing with a Full House

When a man or woman is willing to play a game of chance, they are willing to risk their house of cards to appease their desire for the flesh. When a man boldly approaches me calling my bluff, I ante up and play the suit which will tug at his heart. Reminding him of his wife, the queen, and his children. A fresh reminder of the house of cards he has built which will come crashing down if he decides to go all in.

Sexual temptation in the fifties change in strategy needed to overcome and resist.

In my forties I thought I had established an action plan with predetermined boundaries. But when you are a slave to alcohol (allowing it to impair judgement) or simply vulnerable due to life circumstances each make us susceptible to sin. I made it through my forties unscathed by the wayward man. But I soon discovered in my fifties even when we remove alcohol we still have to battle with the temptation of the flesh. I needed to reinforce my marital foundation and it is through my faith in God which keeps me walking the line.

The fifties is all about Christ.

“Do not conform yourselves to the standards of this world, but let God transform you inwardly by a complete change of your mind. Then you will be able to know the will of God–what is good and is pleasing to him and is perfect.”

Romans 12:2 GNT

Guarding the eyes to avoid seeing the temptation of the flesh.

During my time in early recovery, it was apparent not all men are happy with their home lives or understood what it is to be faithful to their wife. With these men it is best to simply keep your distance and avoid conversation. There are times however that we are not able to distance ourselves which means we need to transform with the way we deal with temptations. Words are not always expressed verbally. I noticed if a man is very interested he will use his eyes and if we allow our eyes to linger, it is the words left unsaid which can be most damaging.

“If your right eye causes you to sin, take it out and throw it away! It is much better for you to lose a part of your body than to have your whole body thrown into hell.”

Matthew 5:29 GNT

The eyes are the doorway to our minds. To keep our hearts pure it’s best to keep the doors shut and not let another man in.

Guarding not only the eyes but the mouth to avoid temptation of speaking to the flesh.

A few months fresh out of rehab I decided it was time to be reintroduced to the entertainment scene. I decided to go out with my adult daughter and a girlfriend. Once we stepped foot in Seacrets, OCMD, quickly we met our friends for the evening. They were a group of young fathers on vacation with their families but having a men’s night. They were very excited to welcome us into their group.

As the conversation and drinks were free-flowing, alcohol for them and water for me, I was summoned by a father who kept to himself. I had less than no interest in speaking to this man because he appeared stuck on himself. As it turned out his career was in the Secret Service, Presidential detail, which would explain his unapproachable behavior. He and I hit it off. As the evening progressed and we spoke of our families, he wanted to share the statistics of the divorce rate within the Federal Law Enforcement. His marriage wasn’t looking good. The family of Hearts would not play to my benefit.

Fourth true confession… By the end of our time together, he had offered up his phone number, inquired if my daughter would be interested in watching his children, while he showed me around D.C.. I was asked out on a date, a double date, with his FBI wife and my husband being the third and fourth wheels. In the course of conversation I could have shared with him my prior arrest and put an end to our conversation early on. I am sure once he would share his plans with his FBI wife, she would do a thorough background check, and uncover our families checkered past!

Resisting temptation of the flesh by walking the line.

In Johnny Cash’s song, Walk the Line, he speaks of keeping a close watch on his heart. The song was written as a promise to his wife to remain faithful while on the road. When it comes to the commitment I made to my husband on our wedding day the lyrics of this song say it all. If I am in a vulnerable position and away for an extended period or simply several nights in Nashville all I need to do is keep my mind pure and Walk the Line.

The only advice I need to share with my daughters to avoid temptation of the flesh of another man other than their father is I choose to reflect on our marriage vows and honor a commitment I made to him.

“Be careful how you think; your life is shaped by your thoughts.’

Proverbs 4:23 GNT

It isn’t my intention to shame anyone for being unfaithful within their marriage. I do not condone adultery but do sympathize with the human who is tempted and strays. https://www.talkspace.com/blog/how-to-get-over-infidelity/

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