“He is able to help those who are being tempted.” Hebrews 2:18
An estimated 40 million Americans view Internet pornography on a regular basis. The average age of exposure is 11. What’s worse yet is that 47 percent of Christians polled said that pornography on the Web was a major problem in their home.
In light of these alarming statistics, I wasn’t really surprised when I received a letter from a man who had given in to the lure of Internet porn. Broken and ashamed, he was desperate to climb out of the shame and sludge that Satan had lured him into. He told me that he finally decided to tape a picture of Jesus in the corner of his computer screen. With a sense of relief, he told me that seeing Jesus made his choices clear, and that he couldn’t go where he had gone before as long as Jesus was in clear view in the corner of the screen.
Pornography may not be your problem. But there isn’t one of us who doesn’t struggle with Satan’s pull on our desires. We all know how good it feels to gossip now and then. Taking out revenge on our enemies can seem very satisfying. And cheating on our boss or on our wife is an option that may at times be very alluring. I’m sure you could add a few of your own temptations to the list.
In the midst of it all, we need to remember that every temptation brings us to a critical crossroad. One sign points to momentary thrills that are like jumping out of a plane. Soaring through the air with no restraint can be a thrilling thing, but inevitably the impact of hitting the ground is devastating. Or, we can choose the Jesus road. It’s not always easy at first, but the rewards are out of this world! And perhaps the most important thing we need to know is that at the crossroad, the choice is not just between good and bad—because sometimes you’ll want to be bad. Nor is it just about not wanting to get caught. Satan will tell you that you are clever enough not to get caught. Or, worse yet, he’ll whisper in your heart, “Who cares if you get caught!”
Here’s the real deal: Choosing to sin is choosing to flaunt your desires in the face of Jesus. It’s like telling Him, “I’d rather do this than stay tight with You. I love my sin more than I love You!” It’s a personal thing, and He takes it that way.
At the intersection of temptation, choose Jesus! That person who offended you may not deserve your forgiveness; but Jesus deserves our loyal love, so we forgive for His sake. An affair, a small compromise here or there, overcharging to satisfy a fleeting need, lying to get out of trouble—all may seem very convenient, but all of them are a direct hit on Jesus.
So just say no to sin to show that you love Him more than whatever is luring you away from Him. In fact, you should want to be tempted once in a while just to let Jesus know in real-life terms how much He means to you!
Jesus is always standing there at the crossroad of temptation. And, as Hebrews says, He is able to help you when temptation comes (Hebrews 2:18). In fact, He has been tested in every way—just like you—and will give you grace and mercy to help you in your time of need (Hebrews 4:15-16)!
Look for Him. He’s in the corner of your screen of life, welcoming you to the pure joy of going His way with Him!
- Where do you need to place a picture of Jesus or a verse of Scripture to help you avoid temptation? On the refrigerator door, the dashboard of your car, inside your wallet, or somewhere else?
- Pray and ask Jesus to help you resist temptation in the very moment when you are tempted. Ask Him to help you live for what is right, instead of what feels good at the time.
- Read Luke 4:1-13. Make a list of observations about the temptation of Christ. Think of the area where you most struggle with temptation in your own life and compare the two situations. What can you learn from the way Jesus handled temptation?