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Five things to do when you're greatly tempted

 
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Post Five things to do when you're greatly tempted doyle
At 12 years old I felt an overwhelming calling to Christian service and at 17 began to preach youth meetings. So, I've been in the ministry most of my life.

Almost all the temptations, sins and failures in my life have taken place since I've been a preacher. Even now, after all those years of ministry I'm still a struggler having never reached the place where I can afford to lower my guard against the things of this world.

There are days when I feel like Apostle Paul who stated, "When the bad guys get together, they call me boss." Well, that's not exactly what he said. The actual quote was "I am the chief of sinners."

Who was it that said, " I can resist anything but temptation."

At this moment I'm not struggling with any overpowering urges that would destroy my commitment to Christ, but notice I said "at this moment." Being older helps since one no longer has all the surges and urges of youthful days but even now, sin can have a powerful temptation.

When we're young we serve two Gods; the Lord God and the Hormone God and sometimes the Hormone God wins out in our life.

Over the years, a few things have helped during times of temptation.
If they can be presented without my coming across in any way that I have all the answers, I'd like to share them. They may help others and also reaffirm in my own life why the guard needs to stay up.

1). Avert your eyes. Sin has awful consequences but it can be very attractive not revealing the corruption and destruction behind the pretty mask. Look away.

Every honest man will admit he struggles with pornography. If men weren't drawn to it the Devil would find something else. Receiving an Ordination Certificate won't stop that temptation.

I believe if Jesus were on the earth today he too would be tempted with pornography. The Bible says "He was tempted in all ways as we are."

2). Move on. Don't stop and stare.

I have no way of knowing if the story is true or not but I once heard that the man who ultimately became known as the popular preacher Saint Augustine, had been well-known womanizer before coming to Christ.

According to the story, after he became a priest he was walking one day down a narrow street when coming up the street to meet him he saw a beautiful woman with whom he had been involved prior to coming to Christ.

Upon seeing her, he crossed the street and walked on the other side. She called out to him, "Augustine. It is I" to which Augustine supposedly replied, "But it is not I." In other words, he had become a different person through faith in Christ but knew he had to keep on walking.

Raquel Welch has been known as one of the most beautiful women in Hollywood. But I almost guarantee you, when she and her husband are out together, he sometimes is tempted to look at other women.

No. I'm not putting him down. I'm saying no matter who you are there is an attraction that can draw you away. Was it Solomon who called it the desire for "strange flesh?" With hundreds of wives and hundreds of concubines, he ought to know.

In Florida last year, the police arrested a retired Pentecostal minister, age 92, for soliciting prostitutes. I'm not trying to point out his sin. I'm just sharing that it seems temptation never completely goes away.

It's good to know that temptation is not sin. It's the drawing to sin.

Over the years, the Lord has helped me develop hundreds of sermons and opened up places around the world to preach. I've been able to lay hands on people who were saved or healed or filled with the spirit. There have been times that like you, I've spent hours in the altar praying with people.

But none of that stops temptation. Even the preacher has to be vigilant.

Look away. Walk away. The Bible says "Flee the very appearance of evil."

3. Don't return the call. There are lonely women who will spend a lot of time talking to a minister, someone they consider to be a powerful and authoritative figure in their life. Stay off the phone with them especially if you and your wife had been having some marital strain.

4. Don't go visit any woman without your wife present. I'm told that Billy Graham would not even ride in a car with a woman who was not his wife. Not sure as to the validity of that story.

5. Set some limits for yourself.

Since Linda works as a nurse I'm at home alone at times. I don't have internet at the house. I take my laptop to the local public library. Sometimes I do the internet at Starbucks or at the Atlanta Bread Company where I'm with people.

Why? Because after all these years in the ministry I still have to work at not opening the door to temptation. I have to knowingly and intentionally set limits on myself.

Like most of you, I've always been someone who wanted to live right, to do right and to live a holy and pure life. What an incredible and miserable failure I've been at times. How ashamed I've been at times at how much of a struggle it's been. After all these years, I should be stronger.

Every now and then I hear that a fellow minister has had a "moral failure."

Let's be very clear. We're all moral failures. With one statement Jesus removed all doubt about our moral superiority. He said, "If a man looks on a woman to lust after her he has committed adultery in his heart."

"Guilty as charged Your Honor. I throw myself on the mercies of Your court."

I've read the Bible through numerous times. I've traveled to the Holy Land. I've fasted at times and prayed for hours on other days. I have a heart for God and long to please Him. I'm a sold-out, dedicated guy who hopes to spend eternity with Christ, but I'm still a struggler.

I believe the Lord prompted my heart in that I should write you today and join my faith with yours - especially if you're struggling.

Avert your eyes. Look away. Keep on moving. Don't stop and stare. Put limits on yourself where you have access to the internet. And if you've failed or are even now failing, stand up, walk outside until you can get control of your thinking.

Don't call her back if talking to her is a temptation. Get rid of her phone number and email address. Don't meet with her if being in her presence causes you to have sinful thoughts that could destroy your ministry and your family.

All we men feel honored and empowered when women think we're handsome or strong or authoritative. Our strongest temptation is to look and her strongest temptation is to be looked at. If you feel she's attracted to you in a way beyond your ministerial role in her life, cancel the meetings with her and don't set up any more of them.

Doyle
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Last edited by doyle on 5/28/08 12:28 pm; edited 3 times in total
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Post Ken Shelton
Thanks Doyle for honest transparency in what you have written here. I am always wary of people who never admit to a struggle of any kind, but I find a sweet brotherhood of truth among those who admit their continuing need of God's Grace. Reminds me of the book Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning.
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Post WOW! jeremiah2911_4me
What an awesome word from the Lord, Doyle! I so needed that today..and everyday. Thank you for allowing God to use you to spread words of encouragement instead of all the "he said she said" stuff we hear all around us. I think whether we admit it or not, we all struggle in one or more of these areas - I know I have and do. Thank you for your post!
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Post Hello, my name is Dale and I.... cdhenderson
share in the same struggles. God has helped me and is helping me. Confession is good for the soul and it helps to have Christian men that will stand up and say, "hey, that's me". We are doing a series at Mountain Lake called the Best of MLC. People voted on the messages that stirred them the most. Today it was the Opposite Sex. Next week it is going to be Pastor Confessions. It is very transparent and honest. I think more and more preachers need to come clean.
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Post Jason Adams
Thanks, Doyle.

You've provided the answer. We just need to do what you said.

The story of David and Bathsheba would never have made it into the Bible if he had looked away, walked on, and never looked back.
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Post Wow (Vid link) Pastor Gary
Wow, Doyle... I read this post AFTER I preached Sunday, and dealt with sexual purity and relationships. The Spirit must be dealing with a lot of people to address this topic.
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Post Great Post, Doyle Bullseye77
Dear Doyle,
I am an old line, sanctification preaching, holiness member of the Church of God. I have but one thing to say about your post. Thanks. You have eloquently spoken and described the unending battle against the flesh which we all fight. Some at a different level than others.
The wonderful grace of sanctification transforms our hearts and our desires toward God. We are delivered from the propensity, the disposition, the "bent" (Wesley's word) to sinning. But the thing that many fail to realize is that though this grace is a remedy for "carnality", there is no amout of religion that will ever deliver us from our humanity.
I appreciate your candor. Your thoughts in no way conflict with the doctrine of entire sanctification, but provide a balance and an understanding of the part we play in maintaining this wonderful relationship with the Lord.
Again, thanks.
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Post Re: Wow (Vid link) Phil Hoover
Pastor Gary wrote:
Wow, Doyle... I read this post AFTER I preached Sunday, and dealt with sexual purity and relationships. The Spirit must be dealing with a lot of people to address this topic.


Erwin Lutzer preached one of the most PROFOUND and POWEFUL messages I've ever heard on Sexual Purity yesterday morning. The title was "The Myth of the Greener Grass."

Here is the link to a series he did six years ago entitled "Restoring the Soul". It is copyrighted 2004, but he preached it in the fall, 2002.

http://www.moodychurch.org/radio/transcripts/restoringsoul.html

It is POWERFUL....read it, download it, and use it in counseling...
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Post Since God's deliverance BlessedinMsTn
as a Preacher who was bound with the horrible guilt of this sin... the constant hiding and darkness of it controlled my life...... having experienced a genuine Deliverance over a year ago... I have never felt more ready to live, more free to live than I now am..... the temptation is always there but so is the deliverance.... Any one reading this post... YOU DON'T HAVE TO BE BOUND.... God has people who are ready to help you through this battle and YOU WILL OVERCOME
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Post Doyle, Chris Stiles
My respect for you continues to grow with each post I read.

Thank you for your openness and humility in following the leading of the Spirit.
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Post SouthernBerean
Thank you for the post Doyle.

Bullseye, that was a great response to Doyle's message.
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Post No struggle with porn imustdecrease
Greetings Doyle:

I respect your post and you make some very good points. I am not trying to argue, but I want to corredct one thing you said. All adult men do not struggle with porn. I went through a brief period about 28-30 years ago where I watched some movies on tv that were pornographic to me. I was convicted by the Spirit, adn repented. Fromt hat day to this, I have not been tempted by porn. I do not say this to brag, God is my witness.

The reason I am not tempted by porn is that I do nothing to feed that temptation. I refuse to watch dirty movies. I do not read dirty novels or magazines. I do not listen to such conversation or jokes. This does not require some super-human effort on my part. It has become my lifestyle. Porn is not part of my thought process.

The reason I tell this is to emphasize that we bring this problem on ourselves. We feed the temptation. I have never visited aporn website. Two or three times such a site has popped up and I immediately deleted it. Not after perusing it for a few seconds, but immediately. Give no place tot he devil. If a movie has sex in it, turn it off. Don't buy the book or mag.

Lest some would think that I am painting myself as some great person, I have my struggles too. I am far from perfect. But if you will determine to whip the porn problem you can do it. You don't have to watch the stuff Hollywood puts out. Be a nerd. Be a prude. Be a do-gooder. Let them call you holier-than-thou. It is worth it to be free from the filth.
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Post JLA777
That was good stuff you wrote! Smile
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Post God's Servant
Great post! The enemy will follow after us and temp us until the last breath is drawn. It doesn't matter how much we pray, fast or stay in the word, the enemy doesn't stop tempting us.
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Post TDSV
Great Post New Member
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Post Run, Christian RUN! Phil Hoover
That's what Paul said to do...

And it works.....at least it did the last time I was tempted....
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Post Doyle to imustdecrease: Oh really? doyle
Thanks much for your kind reply and the courteous way you disagreed with me. May I return the favor? Smile.

For the sake of context, imustdecrease was responding to my post where I said all men struggle with pornography and receiving an ordination certificate won't stop being tempted. Then, I shared several things that may help and also shared that I usually did internet in a public place like the library or local restaruant. Poster imustdecrease replied that he was an adult man who was not bothered with pornagraphy but then proceeded to share some of the things he did to avoid it.

So, you're so not bothered by pornography until you have to watch what you watch, set up defenses and make sure you don't come in contact with it?

Sounds like someone who does have a problem with sinful thoughts but has been wise enough to take the precautions necessary to deal with it.

If you aren't a struggler, then you're a better or more holy man than me. I have to work at it and resist "the sin that so easily besets us."

Thanks again for sharing and for your kind response.

Doyle
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Post How do I respond? imustdecrease
I hesitate to respond to your post, because I fear coming across as boasting and sanctimonious. The truth is I am not tempted by porn. Period. I find the thought of porn repugnant. That does not make me better than someone who battles the problem. You have your struggles and I have mine. Many years ago I watched 3 or 4 movies that were really bad in my view. I felt that I had sinned and offended God and my wife. I made up my mind that I would not allow that to happen again. I am not tempted by porn.

A freind of mine told me when I was a teenager that he was not tempted by such stuff. He told me that he had a beautiful wife, and that she met every such need he had. I believed him, and determined to live my life in that same manner. I had that one brief experience in a period of a very few weeks, and that was the end of it.

I am convinced that porn is a problem to men because they go window shopping. It does not have to be a lifelong struggle. He whom the Son has made free is free indeed. Are we willing to pay the price to obtain that freedom? My concern is that some will say that it can't be beat and just give up the fight.

Let me qualify these remarks with a reference to King David. He struggled with similar problems. There were others in the Bible who fought this battle. I have friends who are fighting it. It is easy to pontificate and quote scripture, but it is another thing to face the temptation day after day. I am sure that guilt and remorse become a terrible burden to some. I would never minimize that. God bless you for being open about the problem. I pray that you find victory and peace.
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Post to imustdecrease muricewatsonsfriend
my bro,
we all agree with those scriptures. but like the previous poster said, "run away" is what Paul said. flee - means to continually tear yourself away
Paul's admonition was that we have to continually tear ourselves away from the trap of fornication / porneo.

all i can say is that when you say "i am not tempted by porn" is to add the words "for now."
be strong in the Lord, and never trust your flesh

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