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It Could Happen to You

The tossing and turning act was over. Asleep at last. But no such luck for this tired traveler. Sirens began squealing all through the hotel. He shook his head, trying to get his befuddled thoughts together, and then stumbled to the window to get a view of his world from the 18th floor. It was breathtaking! There was a barrier of black smoke standing in front of him. He slammed the window down and ran for the door, impulsively jerking it open only to see gray wisps of smoke crawling along the floor. Now the question comes– a question that he never thought he would need to answer…which way is the fire escape?

It was a sleepy little "one-traffic-light" town with not a single living soul in sight, unless you would call a slinky, striped cat a soul. Why cut back on my speed? I’m in a hurry and I’ll breeze through this burg like it was a mirage. One-horse towns shouldn’t be allowed to slow down traffic anyway. Well, there was a living soul, and he wasn’t on that one horse. He was in a car with blue and red flashing lights on top. So much for logic.

True teaching is learning in action and perhaps the most elementary and valuable result of teaching is knowing what you have to do and making yourself do it when it ought to be done, regardless of how you feel and whether you like it or not. This is the first lesson that must be learned. (Would you mind to read that again, please?)

Ignorance can be our greatest enemy. Not knowing where the fire escape is in a burning hotel can be fatal. Being careless about the speed regulations of sleepy little towns can be costly, to say nothing of humiliating. And not knowing how to deal with temptations can be our spiritual downfall.

The temptations that come to you and to me will generally come in two areas: (1) needs or (2) patterns. We were born with certain needs, physical needs of course, but the one driving need is our need for love. As we grow and become acquainted with our world, we develop patterns for trying to get this one intense need met.

During our walk on Planet Earth, we begin to think we need certain things. Most of the time these are not needs, they are wants. They are ways that we, in our frail wisdom, devise by thinking if only I can get this… or that… then I will be happy/ content/ at peace with my world and myself. My needs will all be met.

I do not need a Miata convertible. I may want one. I may see myself riding around with the wind and the sun in my hair, thinking that it would be loads of fun and quite a boost to my self-image, but I don’t need one. However, there is something I do need, and that’s tender, loving care. It is a legitimate, innate need. As a female, I was born with it. I’ve got to be awfully careful of anything that might tempt me in that area. For example:

She had never thought of being unfaithful to Randy; that just wasn’t an alternative she would ever even consider. There were rules you agreed to follow when you chose marriage. But it all began so unexpectedly, so innocently, on her part that is.

Randy had a business engagement lined up for Friday evening with Tom, a client, and he asked her to join them for dinner. Sure, she spent some extra time in dressing, but it was just in anticipation of her first evening out in months at one of the most expensive restaurants in town. She wasn’t trying to impress anyone. (She’s playing "dress-up"… most women still love to do that.) But it was nice to have Tom, this handsome stranger, be so attentive to her, and in that brief moment when they were alone he softly said, "You’re a very beautiful woman."

She was still innocent and remembered the evening only as a very special time. I wish Randy would say things like that to me. He used to, but I guess we’re just old married folks now and such things shouldn’t be that important anymore. Silly girl. I’m expecting too much of my hubby.

Then one day the phone rang and it was Tom. Randy was out of town (do you suppose Tom might have known that?) and he just "wondered if you could meet me for lunch."

Strange, how excited I am. Let me see, what shall I wear?

She didn’t tell Randy about that luncheon engagement, somehow she just didn’t want to share it with him. Then other calls came. Companionship. Tender words. An awareness of her femininity, her beauty, her desirability as a woman. And an uneasiness: What am I doing? What kind of a mess am I getting myself into? And yet, I don’t want him to stop calling. It’s exciting. He’s thoughtful and gentle, and he makes me feel so special. He thinks I’m pretty. Oh, I want to see him. I need this.

"Anabel, I never intended for it to go so far. It was just nice to be with him. But then when he called and asked me to meet him at a motel… I couldn’t say no. At least, I didn’t say no. I was afraid it would all come to an end. You do understand, don’t you? Oh, what have I done? What a horrible nightmare! What can I do?"

A woman needs her husband to be attentive, to notice her, to verbalize his admiration of her, and if that need is not met, he is placing her in a very vulnerable position for some man to come along who will meet that need. The temptation. Please understand that I am not condoning her behavior. I am explaining it. She was tempted in an area of need. When someone is very thirsty, they aren’t too concerned about who offers the water.

So much for "needs," the first area that causes us problems. Now let’s look at patterns.

You have developed patterns as you have walked through the years in your private world. These are patterns of how you think, how you act, and how you feel; patterns where you have experienced success in getting your love needs met or patterns for surviving in a world where there is no love. These patterns make up your unique version of the flesh. (If you do not understand this concept of flesh, I would suggest you read Lifetime Guarantee by Bill Gillham, or The Confident Woman by Anabel Gillham).

For an example of patterns: let’s say that you were sexually abused as a child. This is something that happened to you in your "private world." An experience… frightening, traumatic, horrible, unbelievable. The patterns of that devastating experience in your life were seared into your memory banks–ugly, deep wounds and scars–and a lot of other patterns (flesh) have lodged there on that one seared gash through the years. What’s going to happen to you during the sex act with your spouse? Patterns are going to come to the surface that pertain to this act of intimacy, the very act that was so mangled during your childhood. They will be patterns of thoughts and emotion that have been your habitual mode of thinking and feeling through the years.

"I remember… oh how awful!"
"I loath being a woman. This is all so dirty and ugly." "Oh, no, I’m going to cry again."
"Don’t touch me, please! I’m afraid."
"I feel violated. I hate this! I hate it!"
"Why does sex have to be a part of our marriage?"
"I can’t function as a man sexually… I’m different."
"Get away from me! Leave me alone!"
"What would she think if she knew about me?"
"I can’t do this. It’s asking too much."

Unmet needs and unwanted patterns. What’s the answer? How can I keep temptation from being my "spiritual downfall?" Well, there are three steps:

First: Concerning your needs… whether or not they are being met. God has said, "I will supply all your needs" (Phil. 4:19). Now either He will do that or He is a liar. It is just that cut and dried. So, instead of setting your mind on how starved you are for attention, touching, tenderness… start thanking Him for His constant presence with you, His lovingkindness, His gentleness, His attentiveness to your every need.

Second: Concerning patterns…they are just that… PATTERNS. They are not you. These old patterns are what the Bible calls your flesh. You are a new creation in Christ Jesus, but you have old habit patterns to deal with. Don’t listen to the lies of Satan. He disguises himself so you will think the thoughts he gives to you are your thoughts. He correlates them with your flesh. They will be familiar thoughts telling you what a loser you are, how unlovely you are, inadequate, inferior, deprived, different and ad infinitum. You must set your mind on who you really are, this altogether lovely, blameless, holy, sanctified, forgiven, deeply loved and accepted person. You will "life out" whatever you believe about yourself.

Third: Realize that "the power of sin" (Romans 7:21-23) is Satan’s agent in your members. He is scheming how to control you, desiring to destroy you and all that you hold dear. He is incredibly evil, totally unscrupulous, incapable of love, compassion or kindness, the essence of cruelty, and capable of deceiving us beyond our comprehension. He talks to you about things that used to be (patterns), and convinces you that you’re never going to make it or that you are unloved and lonely (needs). Oh, you won’t know it’s him, unless you have been taught, unless there has been some "learning in action."

If he had known where the fire escape was, he wouldn’t have been asphyxiated.

If he had recognized that even "one-horse" towns generally have one traffic policeman patrolling their one main street to enforce their speed limits, he wouldn’t have been out all that money.

If he had been meeting his wife’s needs, if he had known how she was hurting and taken care of that need, his friend’s "sweet talk" wouldn’t have been her downfall.

If she had known about how patterns are built and how Satan talks to us, she would have been free to enjoy a healthy sexual relationship with her husband.

If you know how Satan is going to attack and from what direction his assault is coming… you won’t fall after all. Nice thought.

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The tape album offered this month is absolutely essential. I think it is one of our best: Defeating Sin. Questions that are answered: Why do I sin if I am a new creation in Christ? Why am I tempted to sin, even though I hate sinning? Can sinful patterns be broken? True teaching is learning in action. Remember. YOU cannot… but Christ can.

About the Author

Anabel spent decades teaching in many contexts through Lifetime Guarantee Ministries. She has taught countless others how to have a genuine intimate faith and a sound marriage. She shared from her heart about living from the heart. Lifetime’s beloved founder and mentor passed away November 7, 2010. Her legacy and influence are timeless and priceless.