The Power of a Praying Wife – Chapter 6: His Temptation
- By: Hallee
No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. 1 Corinthians 10:13
I was a little frustrated with the briefness of this chapter. I don’t think that Stormie gave enough emphasis on a permeating problem in the world today – and that is the problem of temptation.
Men are visual creatures. And we live in an extremely visual world. From swimsuit models pedaling beer to shiny sports car commercials, we are bombarded visually on a constant basis. You can barely even read a website without your peripheral vision being attacked with ads that flash, scroll, bleep, bloop. I was on a website recently trying to read a long line of text and an ad in the sidebar was so annoying that I had to open another window and put it in front of the one I was reading to block the ad.
There’s a saying that I’m certain most of you have heard and that is, “Sex sells.” Why do you think that is? I’m going to apologize for the vagueness of the following — I’m going from memory and cannot find the book where it was referenced. I think Stephen Arterburn or Fred Stoeker wrote an introduction to a book written by Brenda Stoeker called Every Heart Restored. I don’t still have the book, so I can’t be certain if that was the one. But, regardless, what I read was that when men see a sexual image – and that image can be a woman jogging down the street in completely innocent shorts and a tank top – they experience a small chemical release in their brain that was referred to (I think I’m remembering correctly) a “brain pop” – a release of a pleasure chemical. They feel good seeing this sexual image.
So, when a beautiful woman is drinking a frosty bottle of beer, they feel good about buying that beer. If a beautiful woman is in a revealing swimsuit, they feel good about buying that sports magazine. If a beautiful woman is lounging against a bright red sports car, they feel good about wanting that car — and they feel good without realizing that what they’re feeling is an actual chemical response. And that chemical “pop” is actually addictive – and a man who falls into the cycle of seeking it out can find himself unable to stop.
Now add enhanced pouty lips, lingerie, big hair, high heels, “click here and let me make your dreams come true.” This is how men are led to the temptation of anything from pornography to wanting something they can’t necessarily afford.
Men are assaulted on every front. We are in such a sexualized world that I don’t think we as women realize just how much our husbands are being tempted. I recently witnessed two teenaged girls (ages 14 and 17) having a conversation in front of a man who was older than their fathers. He was seated and they were standing over him, talking about their bra sizes. Back and forth they went, talking about the sizes of their breasts, the shape, the cups they liked and didn’t like. He was really interested in the conversation, and watched it like a tennis match – with his head moving from one to the other. I finally said, “Ladies, I’m sure there are more inappropriate conversations you can be having in front of a man who isn’t your father, but I’m hard pressed to come up with one right now.” They didn’t understand what I meant or why the conversation was inappropriate.
Clothing is tight or revealing, bra straps and underwear hang out, cleavage is accented, wording is on the rear end of clothes intended to draw the eye to the derriere, shirts don’t cover the midriff or the tattoo on the lower back — clothing has become so sexualized that a man cannot walk into an office building without facing temptation.
And that’s just barely breaching the nature of sexual temptation. That doesn’t begin to cover drinking, drugs, gambling, money, power — if there is a vice to be had, the enemy has developed a way to tempt man to it.
James 1:13-15 says, “Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death. ” But, the beauty of grace is that He gives us strength in the face of temptation. Luke 22:40 promises us that prayer will deliver us from temptation. Christ Himself showed us how to battle temptation.
We are in an ongoing battle for our lives, and the enemy knows it even when we don’t realize it. The more he can tempt us to sin, vice, greed, power – the more we can fall into temptation, the shakier he can make our foundation with God. When a man, who is to be the spiritual head of the family, falls into temptation, the entire home becomes unstable. In Ephesians 6:1, Paul talks of the shield of faith guarding us against the flaming arrows of the evil one.
Bill Perkins, in When Good Men Are Tempted, strongly encourages men to have Godly friends to help them be accountable for their struggles with temptation. He says:
We need friends who understand our fears and offer us protection, men who still stand guard around us during our times of vulnerability and shame.
In a prayer I wrote for Gregg about two months after he got to Afghanistan, I said:
Gregg is such a good friend, God. I feel honored to call him my best friend, and I love to watch him interact with his friends. You’ve answered our prayers and surrounded him with good, Godly men. As he finds ways to lean on them for support during his trials there, also give him insight, wisdom, and strength to be who his friends need him to be. Help him know what resources to utilize, what books to loan, what testimony to give, as he is their friend. Help his life shine and show Your Love, Your compassion, Your goodness. Touch his friends, God, with the discernment and the wisdom, and the knowledge they need to be who he needs them to be. Create a strong support system that they all can fall back on as they need it. Thank you, God, that Gregg is such an amazing friend, and thank you that he found such good friends there.
I think we need to constantly cover our husbands with prayer as they step out of our homes and into the world, to help them overcome the constancy of temptation that is thrown at them. Because it’s coming at them (and us), whether they’re prepared or not.
If you haven’t already done so, read chapter 6 and consider the following discussion questions. Comments are turned off for this post and you can find the discussion at Hallee’s Daily Brew by following this link.
1. James 1:12 says, “Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.” Is there anything in your husband’s life that is a temptation to him? What is that? On a piece of paper, write out a prayer asking God to free your husband from anything that tempts him away from God’s perfect will for his life, and to keep him from any temptation in the future.
2. James 1:13-15 says, “Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.” How are we tempted? What do our own desires produce? What is the ultimate result?
3. In When Good Men Are Tempted, Bill Perkins says, “Because your battle for purity is essentially a spiritual one, you need buddies whose faith will raise the bar for you.” Stormie says, “If your husband struggles in a certain area, pray that he will want to have godly prayer partners with whom he can share openly, be accountable, and receive prayer. Open confession before God and other believers does more to minimize the power of the tempter than anything else.” Does your husband have any godly men in his life to whom he can be accountable on a regular basis? On a sheet of paper, list those men and pray that they will be a blessing to your husband. If he doesn’t have that kind of man in his life, write a prayer asking God to bring godly men to him and enable him to develop relationships of accountability with them.
4. Galatians 5:16-17 says, “I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.” What does the flesh lust against? How can you keep from fulfilling the lust of the flesh? Write a prayer to God to help you and your husband walk in the Spirit and not in the flesh.
5. If your husband were to fall into temptation even after you have been praying, what do you think your reaction might be? What do your pray your reaction would be?
6. Pray the prayer out loud on pages 77-78. Include specifics related to your husband’s temptation.
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