Practical Examples  

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This page covers some of the common temptation battles we're likely to face on the road to freedom.  We can expect the devil to do everything he can to prevent us from walking to freedom.  When these we face these temptations, we can stand confidently in faith in Jesus Christ, who will help us be victorious.

Victory over temptation usually depends on our ability to bring our eyes and thoughts under control, as we discussed previously in this study.  In the following examples, we will demonstrate ways to apply the eye and thought control principles.   Hopefully you'll notice the recurring patterns.  This isn't rocket science, but it does require us to tenaciously bring our flesh into obedience to Christ.  It takes practice to exercise our spiritual will over our fleshly will, but as we do, we will get better and better at it.  The battle will get easier to win if we continue to respond in obedience to Jesus. 

Since men and women are sometimes tempted in different ways, we've divided the below examples by gender.   Though perspective can sometimes differ, the same principles of taking the thoughts captive and casting down the sinful imaginations will apply.  Click here to skip to the Temptation Examples for Women.

Temptation Examples for Men

Computer example:  The computer is a popular choice for viewing porn and soliciting sexual relationships.  The secrecy and low cost make this medium particularly inviting.  Since more and more of our lives are involved with the computer, we've got to be proficient at handling computer temptations.

Scenario: While surfing the net for ball bearing suppliers for his antique car, Steve notices several pornographic websites showing up on the search results.  He's been down this road before, and he really wants to avoid the porn sites.  For a few seconds, Steve considers his options.  He knows that sick feeling in your gut that you get after you've been surfing for porn for hours.  He's tired of failing and wants to live for Jesus for a change, but the thrill of seeing those sex pictures is powerful.  It has an unexplainable pull on his mind.  Things haven't been that great in the marriage bed for months and his wife seems out of touch with his sexual needs.  What does he do?

Actions taken:  

  • Steve knows he's at a crisis point.  He quickly cries out, "Please help me, Jesus."  The verse he's been studying for memory during his quiet times comes to mind, "No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it" (1 Corinthians 10:13).  "Lord, where is my way out?" he asks.  "Help me find the way out."  
  • He closes his browser and steps back from the computer table.  He knows the battle is far from over.  Steve continues through his mental checklist of actions to take.
  • "In the name of Jesus, I bind this temptation and take it captive to the obedience of Christ" (2 Corinthians 10:5).  "The old Steve has been crucified with Christ, and the life I now live I live by faith in Jesus, who loved me and gave himself up for me" (Galatians 2:20).
  • "I command these tempting thoughts to leave my mind right now, in Jesus' name.  I am a son of God and I do what my Father has commanded me to do in his word.   My body is an instrument for righteousness and I will use it to honor God by not sinning with my eyes and my thoughts" (Romans 6:13; 1 Corinthians 6:20).
  • "I apply the blood of Jesus Christ to my thoughts. The blood of Jesus cleanses my conscience of these evil thoughts and purifies me from any hold they may have had in me."  
  • He puts in one of his favorite worship CD's and plays "Change My Heart, Oh God."  While the music is playing, Steve redirects his thoughts to God's throne room.  "Father, forgive me for entertaining the porn temptation for a moment.  Please strengthen me to pull completely away from this temptation.  Lord, I pray for the healing of our marriage's intimacy.  Show me how to be a better husband to my wife.  Please restore the romance in our relationship."  Steve then sings along with a few more worship songs.

Results:  Steve succeeded in avoiding the easy click-through to trouble.  As he resisted the intense pangs of temptation, he noticed that they grew weaker as he continued to resist.  After singing the worship songs, Steve was back in the clear.  He decided to shut down the computer for the evening and share with his wife about some of the things that he'd been frustrated about.  This wasn't a guilt-trip designed to get sex from his wife, but an honest time of sharing his feelings and listening to his wife's responses.  He also decided the next day to install a filtered internet service on his computer as a safeguard to help him avoid a repeat temptation.

Hotel example:  For the traveling former porn addict, business stays in hotels can be a nightmare.  More and more hotels are offering discreet porn options via cable TV.  The combination of being separated from the family and the lure of illicit sex in the privacy of your room is often more than people can resist.

Scenario:  Jim is a successful salesmen who travels every months for a day or two.  Jim dislikes having to go on the road, but the customer visits really help boost his sales.  Jim's company only authorizes him to stay in the Night Moves hotel chain that happens to offer porn on its cable TV system.  In the past, Jim has asked the front desk clerk to turn off the porn option to his room, only to call back later and have her sign him back up.  Jim has recently made a new start in his walk with Jesus and is determined to have victory over temptation on sales trips.  As he is driving to the hotel for his first night, the thoughts of watching porn start to surface in his mind.

Actions Taken:  

  • Jim realizes that his past failures have started with these kind of "preplanning" thoughts.  He begins resisting the urge to imagine the pleasure of watching porn and masturbating.  Instead, he says, "In the name of Jesus, I rebuke you Satan.  I bind up these evil thoughts and I cast them out of my mind.  The blood of Jesus covers my mind and purifies me."  He puts in a worship cassette in the car and begins to sing along with it.
  • At check-in, Jim asks the front desk clerk to block all porn options to his room.  At his room, Jim prays over his room and his bed, asking God to fill the place with his holy angels.  He commands any evil spirits that might be hanging around to leave the room.  He also takes a little bottle of olive oil and anoints the room, the bed and the TV (see anointing).
  • Instead of his usual routine of watching TV after dinner, Jim heads to the hotel gym for a workout.  Later, after showering and preparing for the next day's presentations, he calls his wife.  Since he had previously confessed his failure with hotel porn to his wife, she asks him if he has stayed pure.  He is happy to tell her he is doing well.  At the end of the call, Jim and his wife pray together and specifically target the sexual temptation area. 
  • Instead of turning on the TV after talking to his wife, Jim opens his Bible to read a chapter or so before going to bed.   Finishing up his reading, Jim reaches to turn off the lamp on the nightstand.  As he noticed the TV remote, battle #2 begins.  "It wouldn't be that bad to just see what's on TV," a little voice says in his mind.  He then remembers the several times in the past that he ended up masturbating after watching movies on the HBO channel.
  • "I resist that temptation in Jesus' name," he says.  "I take it captive to the obedience of Christ.  I submit my eyes, ears and mind to God and I resist the devil. Now you must flee.  Leave me now!"
  • Jim decides to pray out loud for his family and tomorrow's appointments in order to get his mind off the TV temptation.  As he prays, the evil thoughts continue to surface.  Jim remembers that his accountability partner, Bill, asked him to call if he ran into any problems with temptation.  "Thank you, Jesus, for helping me remember that, " he says, as he dials Bill's number.  
  • Bill encourages Jim to resist the temptation and then prays with him.  

Results:  After praying with Bill, Jim finally finds peace and is able to go to sleep without falling to the temptations.  The next morning, Jim wakes up refreshed from a particularly good night's rest.  This helped him in his sales appointments later that day.  When he returned home that evening, it was great to be able to tell his wife that he had succeeded in having a great trip with no falls into porn.

Church lady example: Since many of our readers are church-going Christians, I thought I should include an example from a church setting.  Satan often targets us in church with temptation to distract our worship of God and study of the Bible.  

Scenario:  It's Sunday morning and Dave and his wife Sue are headed into church.  As they are walking in, they greet Jenny, one of their good friends from their neighborhood fellowship.  After a few minutes, Sue leaves Dave to take their daughter into the nursery.   Jenny and Dave continue to talk.  Dave had been attracted to Jenny in the past, and today she seems especially inviting.  She asks him about his work and other things, and shows attentive interest as he answers.   It isn't long before Dave starts to wonder what it would like to have sex with Jenny.

Actions taken:  

  • As a recovering sex addict, Dave recognizes the dangerous situation he is in.  He realizes that he must stop his mind from continuing to fantasize about Jenny.   While the conversation continues, Dave calls to God for help in his thoughts.  "Dear God, please help me get these thoughts into obedience to you."
  • Dave silently takes the fantasizing thoughts captive: "I take these evil thoughts captive in Jesus' name.  I have the mind of Christ and I set my mind on heavenly things, not fleshly lusts." (Colossians 3:1-2)
  • Dave looks for the next opportunity to tactfully end the conversation and go into church to join Sue.  As he leaves Jenny, he resists the urge to give her a close hug.  The thoughts about Jenny continue to try regain center stage in his mind.  Many things about her mannerisms today suggested that she was interested in him.
  • As he joins Sue in the worship service, Dave continues to silently fight the evil thoughts: "In the name of Jesus, I bind these adulterous thoughts.  I cast them down from my mind. The blood of Jesus covers my mind.  It purifies me and renews me.   Father, please forgive me for entertaining the adulterous thoughts." 
  • Dave then begins to run some of his memory verses through his mind:  "Submit to God, resist the devil and he will flee from you" (James 4:7); "therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, behold, the new has come" (2 Corinthians 5:17); "if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live" (Romans 8:13).

Results:  Though Dave initially dwelled on the fantasy about Jenny, he pulled out of danger and arrested the recurring pangs of temptation until they subsided.  By the end of the song time, he was clear of the temptation and was able to focus on the scripture lesson.  Dave decided that from that point on, he would refrain from being alone with Jenny. 

Bikini beach example: Current bathing suit trends make going to the beach a tough purity challenge for recovering sex addicts.  This does not mean that we have to give up going to the beach, but it does require that we take action to control our eyes.  

Scenario:  Ted and his wife Lisa are invited by another couple to go to the beach for lunch.  Ted has been free of sex addiction for a few years at this point, but still finds the beach "scenery" difficult.  It seems like every time he goes to the beach, he is surrounded by women in bikinis.  

Actions taken:  

  • On the drive over, Ted prays, "Father God, please help me to keep my eyes pure at the beach today.  Please strengthen me to exercise godliness and to honor you with my eyes and thoughts."
  • After meeting up with the other couple, they pick a spot on the beach that is several hundred feet from other people.  As they set up the chairs, Ted positions his so that he is not directly facing tempting views.  
  • As they visit with each other, Ted notices a few ladies down the beach.  Though they are fairly far away, he finds that his eyes are still drawn to them.  The combination of the bright-colored bikinis and exposed skin attracts him like a fish to a lure.  Ted begins to exercise control over his eyes.  He has to consciously make the effort to focus on his friends, the sand, the water, the sky and other harmless views instead of looking at the women down the beach. 
  • At one point, a couple of young women come jogging down the beach.  Ted removes his glasses as a safeguard to ensure that even if he looks their way, he won't see any details.  He focuses on his conversation with his friend, Nick, as the girls pass by.

Results:  Ted felt pretty good about his track record at the beach that day.  He was delighted to hear that his actions helped him completely miss a temptation that his wife noticed.  She told him that while he was talking to Nick, an attractive young woman walked up to look for  shells on the beach right in front of them.  She was bent over picking up shells for several minutes.  Because Ted was keeping his eyes from wandering around, he didn't even see her!

Temptation Examples for Women
We'd like to thank author Elisabeth Freeman, from A Time to Heal Ministries, for writing the below examples.  

Work place example:  The workplace is an easy target for extramarital affairs. Since you are with your co-workers for eight to ten hours a day, you tend to share a common bond. And since working is a necessity to provide for our families, we must learn how to handle ourselves appropriately when temptations strike. 

Scenario:  While working on the production line at General Motors, Olivia notices how Steve is lifting her parts for her, so she doesn’t have to bend down. He seems so caring and sensitive on the job and they have even talked when the line was down. With her marriage in a rut and her husband, Bob always away on business trips, she considers what it would be like to have an affair with Steve. However, she remembers how meaningless the last affair was and how it hurt everyone involved. But, Olivia is desperate for love and attention. Olivia’s heart is pounding, her head is telling her to “go for it” while her heart is saying, “DON’T DO IT!” What does she do? 

Actions taken:   

  • Olivia realizes she’s weak, and begins to pray, “Lord, please don’t let me fall into this trap again.” Just then, she remembers the scripture, “I have come to set the captives free.” (Heb. 2:14; 1 John 3:8) “Lord, how can I break free?” she asks. “Show me the way.”

  • She excuses herself and walks to the ladies room. As she stares at herself in the mirror, she realizes that she’s about to fall into the same pit. Then she remembers who she is in Christ, and that she’s a new creature, and her old life is passed away and all things have become new. (2 Cor 5:17; Gal 6:15)

  • After thanking the Lord for strength, she returns to her job and explains that she won’t be needing Steve’s assistance any longer. She also shares that she will be taking her lunches with Jill from then on. 

Chat room example:  With internet and chat rooms being only a click away, women, as well as men, are often lured into seemingly innocent relationships. However, for someone who struggles with sexual addiction, this can be a major trap. 

Scenario:  Tara has an hour to kill before her husband gets home from work, the kids are down for the night, and she has a strong desire to log on to the internet.  She’s been chatting regularly with Lucky Guy, a guy she’s never met, but she seems to have more fun talking to him than listening to her husband’s boring work stories every night. A trace of guilt comes over her, as she turns the computer on. “What am I feeling guilty for? I’m not doing anything wrong.  I’m just talking to a friend. It’s not like I’m having an affair or anything.” But the guilt doesn’t leave. Her heart is throbbing, and adrenaline is rushing through her veins. She hasn’t felt that way about her husband in years, but she feels this way about someone she has never seen.  She wants to log on more than anything, but the scripture from earlier comes to mind, “Guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6, 7).   She knows that she should keep her heart and mind clear from anything that would lead her away from God, but at the same time, she sees Lucky Guy as just a friend to talk to.  So, what does she do?

Actions Taken:   

  • Tara stares at the computer screen with her pulse racing anxiously. She hurriedly turns it off and says, “God help me as I try to make the right choice.”
  • After praying for a few minutes and reading the Bible in Ephesians chapter four, she fixes her hair, puts on fresh make-up, perfume, a nightgown, and surprises her husband when he comes through the door.

Dating example: Dating can play on anyone’s emotions and be a real snare to the sex addict. The excitement and thrill in the beginning relationship are sometimes misleading and alluring. Since dating is definitely a prerequisite to marriage, we need to be sure we can handle ourselves appropriately. 

Scenario:  After Naomi had been dating Kyle for a few weeks, he began to pressure her for sex. Naomi kept thinking what it would be like. The more she fantasized, the more excited she became. She reasoned that since Kyle said he loved her, it would be okay to have sex with him. However, as a new Christian, she kept remembering what she had heard in last week’s sermon, “If a man even lusts after a woman, he has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matt. 5:28).  Naomi’s conscience is telling her to repent and back off from Kyle, but her heart is reasoning, “Well, if I’m already guilty, I might as well go all the way, right?” She’s torn between what seems right and what feels right. What does she do? 

Actions taken:   

  • Naomi knows she’s at her weakest moment. She quickly cries out, “Lord, forgive me, and help me to get out of this mess. I feel like I want to obey you, but I can’t.” She remembers the scripture passage she read earlier, “those things that I want to do I can’t, and the things in which I don’t want to do I do…” (Romans 7:19) She pleads earnestly, “Please, God, don’t let me do those things that I’m not suppose to. Give me strength. Show me what to do.”

  • Wiping the tears from her eyes, she dials Kyle’s number. When he answers, she explains that her life in Christ has to be first priority in her life and how the Bible speaks strongly against premarital sex and lust. Although Kyle doesn’t understand, he agrees to wait and not pressure her.

  • Naomi also tells Kyle that from then on they should not be going on dates alone as it would be too tempting.  God’s Word is very clear that we are not to put ourselves in temptation's way. 

Personal Application Questions:

  • As you read through these examples, what were some of the recurring actions taken in response to the temptations?
  • What temptation scenarios are recurring problems for you in your life?  What actions can you take to change the outcome of those scenarios?

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