Questions and Answers
Struggle
by Paul Hazelden


Question

Subject: feeling tempted by the flesh and a bit shitty

Content: I have been a christian for 10 years and just recently I have been tempted to act like I did before I became a christian and worse. Impure thoughts etc. I have listened to a tape of readings of Romans. I'll probably listen to all of Paul's letters and be careful of letting my thoughts dwell on the unhelpful. Any tips? It's been useful putting my thoughts on paper. I enjoyed looking round your website especially the jokes!
 
Best wishes to you both. Phillipians 4:23. [...]

Response

Thanks for the message. Glad you enjoyed the site, and the jokes.

I'm not sure I can offer anything much that will be short and not sound either harsh or a bit flippant, but here goes...

The very short responses to your two issues:

You are feeling tempted by the flesh. Of course you are - what did you expect? Jesus was tempted (remember Gethsemane?), so why shouldn't you be? Did you think that after ten years you would be past temptation? It doesn't work that way.

Why do you feel it now? There could be various reasons - spiritual attack, increasing spiritual maturity and hence sensitivity, changes to your hormonal levels, etc. Bottom line - what does it matter? You know now, like you did ten years ago, that all temptation is based on a lie (it is *never* a good idea to sin), so hold onto God's love and His truth. Avoid temptation when you can, resist it when you have to, get help and encouragement as you need it. I'll pray for you, but talking to your Pastor, Housegroup Leader or whoever would usually be a good idea.

Please remember: it is not a sin to be tempted, no matter how bad the thing you are being tempted to do. You could look at it the other way round - perhaps God knows you are strong enough to handle these temptations now, whereas before, you would not have managed it. As we grow, our temptations may well change; they will often become more subtle; but they never just go away.

You are feeling a bit shitty. Maybe related to the former point, but maybe not. The one thing we can be sure about feelings is that they will change. Be sensible - don't try to push yourself too hard when you are not feeling okay, but don't use it as an excuse to avoid what you know you should be doing.

The key question is: are you doing something to make yourself feel bad? If so, then see what needs to change. If not, then all you can do is to hang on in there until your feelings change again. They will.

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