Dissecting Temptation # 3 – When Sin Conceives ~ blog
The third step in the process of temptation happens after we have been dragged away. Something catches our attention and instead of continuing along the path we were following an exit ramp appears and in a split second later we see something that entices us.
Perhaps you are driving along, and you see a Dunkin Donuts sign and you think a Boston- Cream donut would hit the spot … so you take the exit. Then, at the end of the exit, you see a building that sells fireworks and next to that an adult bookstore.
Now you have just been “carried away and enticed.” You were in a safe place on the freeway, driving to your destination, and the Dunkin Donuts suggestion takes you off track from what you were doing and then provides the lure of an adult bookstore.
At the stoplight, you can either turn left for the donuts or right for the bookstore. You are at the point of a decision in the temptation. You remember donuts would not be good for your diet but watching a short video and acting out would sure make you feel better. So, you make the choice, turn right and drive into the bookstore parking lot.
Have you sinned yet? That depends on what is going on inside of your brain. You are no longer in a safe place but in a danger zone. You have been dragged away and the draw of sexual pornography has been presented. What happens next depends if you will fall again or do a 180, get back on the highway and escape this temptation.
However, for many of us, that choice has already been made. We somewhat made our decision back at the light by turning right instead of left. However, there is still a chance of not falling. Perhaps you see your next-door neighbors’ car in the parking lot or a local news van doing a story on men who go to adult bookstores. That would be enough motivation to turn you around.
However, that is not the case. You have already begun to lust for what you want to see. For years if not decades you have given in at this point of temptation and so to proceed is the most probable choice you will make. You have hard-wired your thinking such that only the flicker of lust gets your motor running and you do not know how to shut it off.
That is the third step in temptation … when desire conceives. When it is a desire in your mind whether or not it conceives depends on the action you choose to take. If you turn off your car and begin to get out, you have allowed desire to conceive. And that means that in your mind you have decided to go ahead and sin. And once it is conceived then if everything goes as normal you will fall again into sexual sin.
It is at this point that I believe a flood of rationalizations grease the tracks and you begin to go into free fall … just past the point of no return. You promise yourself this will be the last time. LIE! You tell yourself you really need the pleasure sexual sin will give you. LIE!! You think that it is no big deal with no long-term effects. LIE!!!
This word conception is an interesting one for James to use. When we think of conception our minds go to the moment when an egg is fertilized by a single sperm and a new life is created. And if everything goes normally a baby will be born about 9 months later.
However, the gestation period from once the sin has conceived in our minds to when we will act out with another sexual sin can be as short as a split second. It depends on when the temptation drags us away and entices us and how quickly we can find a bathroom with our smartphone for some “sin time.”
Then, if we allow sin to conceive and we go ahead and commit another sexual sin, as we are walking back to our car, we find we have two passengers with us that were not there before. Their names are Guilt and Shame. These hand puppets of satan start a litany of accusations and condemnations. You react with self-loathing and fear.
I can honestly remember the first time I walked into an Adult Bookstore in Portland, Oregon. I drove past it every day coming home from work and began to wonder what was in there. Instead of sharing with someone I was being tempted and having some accountability I did not do anything and in the absence of my doing the right thing I finally gave in to the wrong thing.
I saw a video in a booth and acted out while watching it. I left and felt a tremendous fear of who might see me coming out of the door. Then, when I got home, I was filled with fear and shame and what if my wife found out? I could not imagine telling her what I had done and that I was being drawn back into using porn as my escape from the stress I was under.
What I have discovered in my 14 years of recovery is that I need to be aware of how I am feeling and what I am doing. I need to understand that when I see the Dunkin Donuts sign and have a sudden urge to change courses I need to stay in my lane and keep on the right path.
I have learned that as soon as I realize I am being tempted I need to find out what the next right thing for me to do would be … and do it … right away. I need to call on the Holy Spirit to help me find and take the way of escape God has promised to give us.
Then I need to reach out to my accountability team and let them know I am feeling vulnerable and tempted to sin. I give them the opportunity to help me just I have helped them in the past. And that is how we can stop our lusts or desires before they conceive.
Get on a team and play as a team and you will progress in your recovery. Stay isolated and you will only experience more of what you are experiencing now.