My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing (James 1:1-4)
Every Christian believer goes through this in their lives. And at different times the level of the temptation is greater or lesser. But why? Why aren’t all temptation trials weighted the same? Why is that man so strong against sleeping with the hooker on the corner but on this day he still ends up sweeting trying to stop from fulfilling his lust for porn? Or why does that woman so easily stay faithful to her husband against every man that has approached her in clubs but yet on this day can’t find the strength to stay away from her co-worker or x boyfriend? We can put into place tons of different things not just lust because temptation is more than just lust but its still the same question. Why does the level of intensity change?
The simplest reason and most common to see is the clear temptation. The one where the door has the picture on it , words spelled out, warning signs glowing in neon. You know exactly what it is. You know exactly why you showed up and why you are opening the door. You have no remorse about it and it’s most commonly seen in teens that are ruled by their hormones. While these types of temptations are real they don’t hold much rewards if one doesn’t open the door in that situation. In fact most of the time it can “seem” they only hold rewards by giving in to them. That’s because this temptation was created by that person almost solely. They sought after it, worked out the plan, and basically already planned for how they are going to do it again long before they have completed the first. These temptations hold very little rewards because they don’t require much, if not any temptation. So there is no trying of your faith to gain any rewards from. Basically they are the architect of their own trials.
The second example is based largely on one’s situation. What if today is the day when that 6 month sober alcoholic lost his mother, the same day where that husband and wife fought about the same issue they have for 5th time, or simply the 15th time you have said no to something you don’t need and each time you do it takes a piece of you and now you have very little strength left? This is how it works. This is the environment clause that sets up trials. These types of temptations are normally the hardest to spot. Because instead of the temptation waiting in front of the door, it’s behind the door unseen until you open it. To you this is like any other day. For you, you have no idea that this is going to be the day where everything you think of is based on that temptation you have fought so hard to keep in check. Every song, Tv show, dream, phone call and or text message leads you to this great door. You don’t have to plan it out, it just happens. And for some reason it stronger, stronger than its ever been. The same temptation a year ago you defeated but it’s back stronger than ever. Why? Because it has been strengthened by the environment it has placed itself in. Why do you think temptation is less during church hours than in any other. Not saying it goes away but you are stronger during those hours or on that day. But the moment the environment or situation changes the door becomes more visible. This is where you know that the rewards will be greater if you overcome. The intensity of the temptation hints to the rewards that are waiting. But if you fall, it also has an equal amount of consequences as well. Basically the size of the door represent both the size of the rewards and consequences alike. They both reside in a equally sized rooms waiting behind two separate doors.
The last thing you have to remember during trails or temptation is your role. As humans we place ourselves as a separate thing from the door of temptation. In most cases we would be right. But sometimes the scariest thing is to understand that you may be that very door. You instead of being tempted are the door tempting others. Not just in lust but in anger, in jealousy and many other things. We are quick to place the blame on the trial or temptation but we must be careful to examine ourselves to make sure we aren’t manifestation of the door tempting others. Deep inside we look at Satan and blame him but sometimes we do his work for him and we actually put on his mask to become the tempter for another. That’s a scary thought and one that most don’t like to accept but it’s true. In fact if you look back on your life I’m willing to bet you have served as the door for another, we all have at one time or another if we are honest with ourselves.
So what do we do? The first thing is to assess the situation you are in. Identity the type of temptation you are going through. Remind yourself of what is waiting for you if you defeat this. Don’t let the joys of given in be the only thing ruling your mind. And most importantly identify what role you play in it. Your role can prevent you from successful defeating the temptation. If you go in thinking you are merely the contestant you can easily loose. Sometimes you have to understand when you are the door and take responsibility for being that to other. This way your approach would be different and you have a better chance at not just helping yourself but helping another. Most importantly, don’t let one moment define your self worth. Know that rewards can come at different times, so can punishements. But it all still works together to help make you a better, stronger person. None of us are perfect but that doesn’t mean we can’t fight to be.