An Experience of Victory Can Lead to Defeat
by Pastor Mike Bower on July 31st, 2012

As Ralph walked away from closing the largest sale of his career, he was on cloud nine...pumped...on an emotional high about this deal.  And yet, at the same time, he was grateful to the Lord for answering his prayer and giving him the sale.  The commission would allow him to pursue some of his life long dreams immediately.

Ralph’s wife and children were out of town visiting her mother that evening, so, at the end of the day, he decided to have dinner with another salesman from the office.  As Ralph was enjoying his prime rib and relating the exciting account of his successful day, he caught a momentary glimpse of an attractive woman seated two tables over.  Their eyes connected briefly with her smiling ever so gently.  He chose not to take a second look and proceeded to enjoy the evening.

However, her smile lingered in his thoughts, and, because he was feeling so triumphant, he failed to guard his heart...“Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life” (Prov 4:23 NLT).  As he departed the restaurant, he took one brief glance in her direction. 

After arriving home to an empty house, he sat down to view some television before he retired to bed.  He was not able to find anything interesting, so he turned to the computer to check his email and Facebook page.  An image of an attractive female surfaced and his mind began to wander back to the restaurant.  The enemy had already baited him, and he failed to recognize that the emotional high he was experiencing coupled with the encounter of an inviting smile was the beginning of a slippery slope.  You see...Ralph had slid down that slope before.  He proceeded to pull up a website he knew, in his heart, was taboo for him as a married man, a follower of Christ, and a future discipler of men.

He chose not to acknowledge that this emotional warmth produced by a validating smile from a woman who was not his wife was a trigger and would lead him to actions inconsistent with who he was in Christ.  Had he immediately recognized where this sensual emotion would take him, he could have chosen one of a few options:

1) Drawn the strength he needed to resist the temptation from Scripture...”Run from anything that stimulates youthful lusts. Instead, pursue righteous living, faithfulness, love, and peace. Enjoy the companionship of those who call on the Lord with pure hearts” (2 Tim 2:22 NLT), and “And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise” (Phil 4:8 NLT).

2) Told himself the truth of his identity in Christ (Rom 6:6); considered himself dead to sin (Rom 6:11), and presented himself (mind, will, emotion, and body) as an instrument of righteousness to God (Rom 6:13).

3) Called a brother in Christ for prayer and hear & discuss truth.

4) Begun to pray for himself, his wife, and his children.

Your quality of life is determined by your choices.  What will you choose when you face a similar temptation?

Summary: After an experience of some victory, guard your heart (Prov 4:23).  Tell yourself that yielding to sexual temptation is inconsistent with your identity in Christ.  Arm yourself with the knowledge of Scripture, a network of godly men, and prayer.

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