Al meets regularly with several other men in a discipleship group. Once he returned from a business trip and reported that his hotel room had a cable movie station. He watched a PG-rated movie, then started to watch a sexually explicit film but caught himself and turned it off. However, he expressed concern about handling temptation on an upcoming ten-day trip. One of the members asked Al to develop a plan for using any of the time that was not being spent in meetings, which he did.

On his return Al had to give a report. Near the end of the trip he had found himself seated next to a single woman at an athletic event. The thought entered his mind, You could take her out for dinner and no one would ever know. Rather than allow time to entertain the thought any further, he left the game early. Knowing he was accountable to men back home helped him resist temptation because he knew they would ask him how he did. Accountability is good, but remember that it doesn't replace the most important solution God's grace doing its work in us.

I have focused on the sexual aspects of lust because it is so out-of-control in our society. But other forms of lust such as craving sweets, overeating, and stimulating the senses through drugs and alcohol can be just as damaging. The thoughts I've shared can apply in any area of sensual temptation that robs us of life.

What error messages appear most frequently in your life? Jealousy, envy, or lust? Take the time necessary to deal with those emotions.

Excerpted from the book Joy that Lasts.

© Copyright 2003 Smalley Relationship Center