REFUSING THE KNOCK OF TEMPTATION

Being tempted is not just one time incident. There’s temptation when a child secretly takes a peek or teeny weeny bite from Mama’s special dish for the guests. It lies in the curiosity of reading someone’s personal letter and leaking company secrecy. It lies in stealing chalks from classroom and going for bank robbery. It lies in giving an adulterous look and in raping someone. It lies in taking diet cokes and becoming a drug addict. It lies in teen time infatuation and in cheating beloved spouse. Every now and then temptation pings you. But the remarkable thing is temptation will always appears before you in its best and stunning form to entice you (Because the devil catches most souls in a golden net – German philosopher).

Now the question is “What to do, if temptation is so committed to me?” Shall I compromise and quote like Oscar Wilde?

Or, shall I say, I can resist temptation with my will power and strong sense of right and wrong?

In one of my youth leadership development training seminar, I and my colleague observed that in our class, there is a guy who is over-caring a girl and is doing his best to convince that girl for friendship. After our lectures we called that guy and tried to know his intention for that girl. Then he disclosed us that, “no sir, there is nothing. I am attracted by her beauty and am interested to have friendship with her!” So, we both advised him that, he is going in a wrong direction and needs to correct himself. During our counseling my colleague quoted him, “fleshly desires are very obvious during young age and it is a good hormonal symptom of our good physical condition. But our fleshly desires need to be under control.”

It is just an example. Like this there are also many other temptations (failing to take diet food, allowing filthy thoughts, staring at opposite sex lustfully, taking cigars/wine, visiting unwanted webpage) that we face every day. Each time we say, this is the last time, next time I will resist myself but alas. I also face many of these temptations in my everyday life. And I resist the temptation by thinking about the consequences and the fall of self-identity if I yield to it! We cannot deny the logical out-work of every action is a reaction. Suppose I take wine with my friend and babbles, then what will be my identity before my friend and people close-by! I will spoil my repute and tag myself as drunkard!

As I am weak before temptation, I need to depend and listen to someone who is strong enough to rescue me.

Who is that?

Is he another human like me?

Is that some human knowledge?

Is that any exercise?

It’s just seeking God’s help. God doesn’t allow temptation to overwhelm us. When we feel its pull, He shows us a way-out.” He shows us the rescue path by reminding us His commandments.

The first knock of temptation comes with an offer. Accepting the offer is giving birth to sin and sin gives birth to death. But all offers cannot be entertained so, the first refusal of the enticing offer can sustain you till the end.

WHAT DO YOU SAY?

Avinash

HOW TO RESIST TEMPTATIONS?

I asked a question to my near and dear ones: “How do you tackle the temptations when you come across them?” It is a broad question and can not be elaborated in short. What I meant was – “What is the first shield of protection you hold to resist the temptation you face?”  In fact I went back to the same persons and asked this specific question and their replies were same.  The replies were:

“I ask myself if I really can do without it.  I take time.”

“I increase my will… If I have to lose weight, then I determine not to eat Puchka…(Crispy Indian Snack)” 😉

“Well… I give in to some and resist some…. I don’t resist all temptations… and the ones I do, I use logic to resist…”

“Depends on my will power at that point of time and my state of mind… Sometimes I just give in and when I do – I try not to feel guilty… My shield is – distraction.”

“I ask my loved ones to stop me from getting tempted. They remind me why at the first place I tried to stay away from that temptation itself.”

“I will do just a prayer to God to help me through the situation…”

“Think of the consequences.”

“I first think what will happen to my identity.”

“Prayer – that’s the key for me. Taking it to God.”

“I will think if its really necessary for me…”

“I will rely on my sense of right and wrong…. The first thing I will remind myself that it’s not the right thing to do… And I have this very bad habit of trying to be in everyone’s good books… So I will be conscious of how will I look to others if I do this…”

The replies were commendably honest and fabulous. I appreciate all to have let their hearts open before me.

Now, let’s get into a study of the word ‘Temptation‘.

The web or Google dictionary defines it as: “the desire to do something, especially something wrong or unwise.” So a temptation is always something WRONG that we fall into.

Vocabulary.com explains it as: “Temptation is something you want to have or to do, even though you know you shouldn’t.” So a temptation is wrong and we KNOW it while falling prey to it.

Wikipedia describes it as: “Temptation is a desire to engage in short-term urges for enjoyment, that threatens long-term goals. It is the inclination to sin.” So a temptation can CAPTIVATE it’s prey.

There’s one Christiananswers.net which defines it as: “Temptation is common to all.” So a temptation is UNAVOIDABLE in life.

WOW!

We got to know some facts about the word Temptation  which I have mentioned above in CAPITAL case.

Now the question arises, “how to resist the temptations?”

  1. Fleeing Away from it: I loved a reply which goes like this, “I take time”. It is always safe when we take ourselves away from the temptations… from the place… from the object of temptations etc. Another reply was, “Distraction”. That is also a similar kind of strategy that keeps us away from the direct effects of temptation. The Bible instructs us: “flee from the youthful lusts”, “flee for lives…” etc. So sometimes FLEEING AWAY from the area of temptation helps us to resist it because it is not very easy to resist it.
  2. Practice on a Daily Basis: Another reply was, “I increase my will or have a strong will power…”. Having a strong determination or will power really helps us to resist the temptations, but it is not at all easy as temptations are plenty and unavoidable in life. So how to increase our will power? It’s a daily affair… we need to consider many such things in our life that are weakening our will power. Recognizing them and getting rid of them are important in our practice of being determined. So how to do that? Avoid pornographic contents, jokes, talks, erotica etc., if you are being tempted to sexual stuffs. Instead make a habit of reading good contents, studying scriptures, staying in safe places, watching good movies etc. Another thing we need to consider is that with whom do we associate on a daily basis…? Who are our friends…? Peer pressure and friend circle are the biggest reasons behind our being led into different kinds of temptations. They totter our will power… so it is better to change our friend circles if they are not helping us to resist the temptations. The Bible instructs, “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” That helps a great deal for sure in strengthening our mind and will power.
  3. Be Accountable to Someone close: Sometime ago I asked one of my sisters to be a person whom I will report everything that I do… It is not that she will instruct me or keep a check on me but that helps. It reminded me that if I have to tell her the truth about myself then I need to do what is right… It is not easy to do that but why not give it a try. One of the replies above was, “I ask my loved ones to stop me from getting tempted. They remind me why at the first place I tried to stay away from that temptation itself”.
  4. Relying on a Greater Strength: Two of the above replies were about “Praying to God” which is really very essential. The carnal desires are very natural and defeating them with carnal strength is daunting and sometimes impossible. So divine intervention always makes things easier for us. Prayer is the way we stay connected to our Creator God. Another reply was about relying on our conscience, on our sense of right and wrong… Staying connected to the divinity sharpens our conscience. We become sensitive to the wrong and right things in life… It becomes easier for us to differentiate between a right thing and a wrong thing. I remember one more scripture portion where it says, “…when you are tempted, God will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it”. Wow! That’s amazing! Our loving God is always ready to help us and show us a way out whenever we call on to Him.

Concluding my article I would like to say that, temptation is like an apple kept in front of you after you are starving for hours without eating anything. Before you think about your identity, about the consequences, about using our logic to resist you fall flat in the trap of temptations… It is not so easy to resist the temptations of life but take heart it is not impossible either. Somebody very close to my heart says,

There have been times in which I have yielded to temptations too, even after knowing God’s standards fully well. Then the only way out is to confess and seek HIS forgiveness. As a reflection, I have always come to the conclusion that whenever I have given in to temptation, I have placed someone/something over and above God.

Let’s gather ourselves today, tighten our belt on the waist and stand firm to RESIST the temptation by considering all above.

Stay Blessed!!!

“Can a man scoop fire into his lap without his clothes being burned?

Can a man walk on hot coals without his feet being scorched?”

THE TEMPTER’S DART

I made this presentation keeping in mind the spiritual implication of temptation according to what I understand from the Bible. I am sure this can be a great help in our practical life as well. 

TEMPTATION LEANS ON THE DOORBELL

When you were a kid remember when mom used to make a special dish and tell you not to touch it before the guests arrived. But you couldn’t stop yourself from taking a peek or a teeny weeny bite. Or the other day when you were invited to your friend’s birthday party and they were taking forever to cut the cake. You couldn’t wait any longer and you just had to poke your little finger into the side of the cake and lick it.

Well is this the story of your childhood? No? Ok I admit it’s my story. I still can’t resist the temptation of tasty food. Even though my weighting scale is screaming at me. I should have gone on a diet 10 kilos ago. I still can’t resist the temptation of a delicious chocolate cake or any yummy desert for that matter. I have friends who do not touch any sweet dish. I mean not even a small innocent looking scoop of vanilla ice-cream. And their reward is a gorgeous figure to flaunt and fitting into size S dresses. And here try as I might I cannot come down from XL.

To mitigate my guilt about my temptation I found this perfect quote on the internet. ‘’About the only time losing is more fun than winning is when you’re fighting against temptation – in my case temptation of delicious food.’’ And I guess as long as I am able to control my portions I will survive.

But jokes apart… Think! Is not being able to resist temptation really good?

Who ever said this was a very wise person. Really! When opportunity knocks at the door we have to be alert and grab it or else it goes away to knock at other doors. But with temptation it’s exactly the opposite. Forget staying alert and grabbing it; even if you are trying hard to ignore it. Temptation entices you, it dances in front of your eyes and your resolve slowly dissolves, you become weak-kneed and finally you succumb to it.

So how do we avoid temptation? No it doesn’t allow you to avoid it, it keeps coming back in your path. So the right word is ‘resisting’ temptation. You need to fight it off. And the biggest weapon you have for this fight is ‘will power’. And also a strong sense of what is right and what is wrong.

Life has many ways of testing a person’s will, either by having nothing at all or by having everything happen all at once.

– Anonymous

Like with the temptation to stray off the path of righteousness. In relationships the worse possible temptation to submit to is to cheat on your spouse. Whatever the reasons be we can never justify breaking someone’s heart. The counterfeit pleasure of an affair can never overcome the ways infidelity can destroy a life, marriage and family.

Or let’s talk about the temptation to steal. It’s very easy to surrender to this temptation. When material wealth is our benchmark for success and we don’t have what the others have. In our mind we cook up reasons to justify our taking it away forcibly.
Our false sense of entitlement allows us to believe that we can steal what we could not earn.

But, Remember the devil itself might be testing you. Don’t take the easy way out. Don’t harm / hurt anyone or do anything illegal however tempting it might be. There may be many different paths open in front of you. ‘The Forbidden’ path is always more tempting. It is up to you to decide which is the right path…

YUMMY TEMPTATIONS AND MY MONKEY!

It was 6 pm and she was standing in a queue, waiting for her turn to order sprouts salad. Cafeteria was as usual crowded at this hour and she was in a hurry to get home since it was Friday evening and she was very much looking forward to the weekend. Just one more person ahead of her and she saw another person walk away with yummy red pasta topped with cheese. “Oh god, I wish I could eat this! Just 6 more kgs to go – once I am my ideal weight, I will eat it”. But her mind kept going back to that beautifully decorated dish of red pasta with a portion of garlic bread.

Her turn came to place order and determined to have that sprouts salad she said “How much is the red pasta for?” The waiter replied something that did not really matter to her. “Ok, I will have a red pasta with topped cheese – TO GO please”.

As soon as she turned her face away, she said almost aloud “What the hell is wrong with me?” Then there was an inner voice telling her “It’s ok, it is Friday anyways. I can restart my dieting on Monday again. Monday is always a good day to start such things. And I had a tough week with those crazy deadlines, I do deserve a treat. Or maybe I should make it a deal to have something good every Friday evening.”

Well, this is my story. I struggle with my cravings for fried junk food. I have found myself in this situation innumerable times. No matter how determined I am to have something healthy – I change my mind as soon as my eyes fall upon that yummy cheesy burger, doughnut, maggi, kurkure or potato chips.

I have read books on controlling your diet. In the past, I have even hired a dietician. But what really happened was that I ended up paying her every month only to avoid talking to her. She would ask me for updates on my diet chart and I really cannot put pasta in there – she will kill me. And I cannot lie to her, right? I am paying her for this and then if I lie to her – what’s the point? So, the only way was to find some excuse to not update the diet chart and to not take her calls.

I am about 13 kgs overweight as per my BMI and it bothers me. I don’t mind working out in gym in fact working out is the best stress buster for me, but all my sweating out in gym goes down the drain because of my eating habits. Almost every morning I go on a diet and by evening I am off it and cycle repeats it over and over again. It just leaves me frustrated and unhappy. “You just need determination to do this” people say. Yeah, well – it isn’t simple to have this demon named determination.

Recently, I was reading a book and that had nothing at all to do with diet or food – but somehow it inspired me a lot because it said “It is all in the brain. Your mind has power to make this world change”. Well, how difficult can it be to control your mind? Mind if let loose is like a monkey that keeps jumping around aimlessly. It doesn’t stay still. It keeps thinking and it keeps getting attracted to all the temptations around. It takes immense practice and patience to control this monkey. Even a bit of carelessness – this monkey will jump onto the next temptation it sees around and will get stuck to it.

My practice is on and my patience has been tested a million times. But am I here to give up on my monkey? No, not definitely.

The same books and same dietician is helping me now. The knowledge is the same and it is coming from the same sources. Balanced diets, eat regularly every 2-3 hours, keep food with you all the time, do not step into cafeteria at 6 pm – these some of the best practices that I am now following to keep my cravings in control.

I learnt an important lesson in life. It is not just about food, it could be anything – alcohol, drugs, sex, smoking, shopping, gambling etc. It doesn’t matter what you are struggling with is, knowledge is all there in the world, people have written books and have multiple research on resisting temptations. There are a plenty of rehabs for people who are addicts. But none of this will work unless you learn to tame this monkey in your head. YOU and only YOU can have control over YOUR monkey.

THE TEMPTING TEMPTATIONS

These are ubiquitous, available in all shapes, sizes and colours and are really difficult to handle. I am talking about the irresistible ‘temptations’.

Every person on this earth is tempted by something or the other. Temptation to gratify passion needs, to be superior, to drive fast, to earn more, to go ahead in the rat race, to beg, to steal and to be gluttony. Temptations are within each one of us and it is very difficult to resist them.

Kids get tempted to buy toys, which is natural. They will shout, scream or even lie down in the mall if you don’t get that toy.  But, as parents, we know that we cannot give in to their tantrums every time. Similarly, having a temptation isn’t that bad. It is ok within limits. You find an empty road, get tempted to hit the accelerator, but you should know when to hit the brake and not jump the red light.

I remember there was a friend of mine who was unable to resist himself from working out. Usual workout is ok, but it seemed his motto in life had become ‘go to gym unto death’. Before work, after work, between work, he was always tempted to hit the gym. The result- his social life had gone down to zilch.

Recently, I got myself a new smart phone. No, it wasn’t a temptation because my old phone was falling sick every now and then and after more than 3 years, it was time to bid it adieu. Since I have a major online shopping temptation, I have an average of 6-8 online shopping apps in my phone. I shortlist things and put them in the cart. However, even after putting the items in the cart, I rarely confirm the order straight away. Instead, I wait for a day or two, and then check if I really need that item or not. In this way, I save myself from being labelled as a spendthrift!

As quoted by Oscar Wilde- “I can resist everything except temptations”, resisting temptations is a tricky job. But, it’s not impossible either. Don’t resist yourself; just remember your permissible limits and don’t get too tempted by the tempting temptations!