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When is it temptation? When is it Lust?

Have you come to understand the difference between a temptation and actual lust? In other words the appearance of a lovely lady on your radar screen is not lust. For some people all this represents is the appearance of a lovely lady on their radar screen. For you perhaps it represents the temptation to lust. You have not lusted at this point (ie, no sin yet). [You simply have an ingrained pattern (flesh) for falling into the trap of this sort of temptation.] If you now set your mind on this lady and begin to consider the possibilities then bingo! sin. Lusting has begun. (James 1:14,15)

This all happens in a heartbeat yet it is important to recognize the components to understand the dynamic and finally to kick the habit. For starters, something to consider is whether, at any point in your life can you, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, identify an event or process of events in which you began to devalue women as human beings. Second, renew your mind with the truth of their God endowed value. Third, take every thought captive at the threshold of your mind. Practice this. Listen to your “self talk” when the lovely lady comes by. It is just as legitimate to thank God for the presence of lovely ladies as it is to thank Him for lovely flowers, a precious wife or a fine job. It is hard for the devil to get a temptation thought in edgewise if you’re busy thanking and praising God. Set your mind (and your eyes) in a different direction immediately following your “thank you.” This can only be done by a will submitted to God. Don’t wait until the temptation is at hand to try to redirect your mind. Have a game plan in hand when the day starts. Affirm to Jesus daily your “hunger and thirst” to be controlled by His will, His self-control, His wisdom, His victory, … Thank Him for His faithfulness in living His life through you. Hebrews 5:14 suggests that walking in the Spirit is a skill. It must be practiced.

What about messing up? Get God’s perspective. In Colossians 3:22, Paul declares, “[Jesus] has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach….“ Beyond reproach means that God doesn’t listen to the devil when it comes to accusations about your worthiness to be in the Kingdom. God sees you as being in the school of life preparing for your role of reigning with Christ. (Revelation 20:6) Schools are full of challenges. God does not expect you to get through with straight A’s. So, when you mess up and Satan is at the threshold of your mind accusing you, tell him the truth. “Yep, I did. I stepped into your trap. I see how you got me. I wasn’t paying attention to the thoughts entering my mind. But know this devil: My Dad loves me and He allowed this so that I would remember my dependence upon Him; so that I would remember who I am and that I live in a dangerous place; so that I would remember that the blood and death of my Savior Jesus makes your accusations of no account.

I am and always will be the son of THE KING and you are just biding your time.” Then, go back to your Dad, apologize, receive His cleansing and press on with your day knowing that God is at work in you maturing you for purposes greater than your imaginations.