Recently, I was in a meeting with a group of men and we were talking about how Christ resisted temptation when He was walking the earth. “Resist temptation” how often do we put those words together!? We were reading Hebrews 4:15:
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.
Amazing. This says He experienced every temptation we could ever face, “in every respect has been tempted as we are” and He never caved in once. One of the brothers said we think we’re doing well to resist for 90 seconds and then give in! In fact, most of us in honest moments would say that we’ve caved far more than we haven’t. If our experience is common (likely), then it is a sad commentary on the state of Christian men today.
So what of the boys? Two things.
First, if our men won’t stand against temptation, then their sons will not likely learn to do so either. This is the intergenerational specter associated with sin: if I do, my son likely will. “Do as I say and not as I do” will last only as long as someone has to help him finish his duty in the bathroom. Then, the hypocrite dad is sunk. No sons? Well, you’re not off the hook either: you will be watched by your daughters and they will grow up thinking a weak-willed, fleshly-motivated and minimally self-controlled man is normal. I’ve seen these girls dating and marrying these men and then finding their ship-of-marriage has holes in the hull!
An Aside: We Don’t Have to Cave, Men. Remember Hebrews 4:15? We have a high priest who advocates for us with the Father who Himself has made a promise to us regarding temptation:
No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man.
God is faithful and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape that you may be able to endure it.
That’s 1 Corinthians 10:13. It tells us two things. Other men have the temptation, you’re not alone so quit being tempted in the “dark” of isolation. Open up to a trusted man so he can join in the fight. It also tells us that in the end, God makes a way for us to resist every single temptation. Every one. In Christ, there are no temptations that are too strong for us. If we give in to lust or drunkenness, that’s our choice. Everytime. God stands, as it were, on the inside of the ring, with one foot on the lower rope and one hand on the upper rope pulling them apart and telling you to get out of the ring before its too late. If only you would listen.
What of the boys? Second, I have to prepare myself for an encounter with a young man that includes a rehearsal of the ways in which he has yielded to temptation. Oh, you bet I’m going to ask him about his besetting sins! You bet I’m going to ask him about his computer usage, magazine choice, movie storehouse, etc. But, I’m going to ask him how he deals with temptation when it comes. Fools numbered among Christian men (and their wives) believe temptation is illusory. Or, perhaps that’s the cover of darkness that men use when their wives ask them “have you lusted after another woman?” Or, “are you looking at internet porn?” If a wife is inclined to ask at all.
The boys worthy of my daughters are not the ones who never struggle with sin (those doesn’t exist except in lies). But, the ones who regularly do battle with the temptation in Christ and find that they love to fight for the victory. This young man’s battle record will be pockmarked with losses, but there’s only been one war ever fought where there were no losses and only one Man who never lost. And, by grace and goodness, He gives to us the strength to walk that same victory road.
Choose the path, young man. In Christ, you can do it.