Guest Post: A logical romance…

When Anna and I first got married she once said to me that she would never have an affair, and then waited for me to repeat the sentiment. I got in quite a lot of trouble when I wouldn’t. I did say that I didn’t want to have an affair, but to rule out the possibility that I in all my weakness would ever be tempted and give in to said temptation did not seem a wise thing to do.

This was for a number of reasons almost entirely to do with the fact that I am a man. I did not want to paint a massive target on my back for the devil to aim for, and I also did not want to give myself a false confidence in this area. If I recognise that men, in general, have a weakness of the flesh in this area, and that I as a man am not exempt from this weakness, then the logical response is to protect myself from said weakness. If I had proudly declared myself immune to this and stated that I would never have an affair, I would have felt safe putting myself in all manner of silly situations. I would have comforted other girls in their distress, I would have gone to meet with them out of the public eye with no fear and no awareness of the danger I would have put myself in.

I would argue that logically my approach was more romantic, but I just used the word ‘logic’ in regards to romance so what do I know?

When battling our weakness, general or specific, it is better to be aware and not put yourself in situations of temptation than to think you are somehow better than everyone else including Jesus (Hebrews 4:15). Pride in your own ability to resist is as illogical as logical romance.

Yet there will still be times when our resistance is tested, when despite fleeing temptation at every opportunity we will be faced with a choice, to give in or not. The Bible tells us that we always have a way out of temptation (1 Corinthians 10:13) but it’s one of those verses that’s really difficult to believe when you are being tempted to the point of breaking.

We have relegated the role of the Holy Spirit to an entertainer, when in reality all through our temptations The Spirit is there gently nudging us towards righteousness, too often we save the devil a job and talk the Spirit down with human logic, and excuses. We all know the feeling – we see something wrong and inside us our hearts beat in an uptempo melody the words ‘Do something about it’. Our brains reply in a more sombre tune, ‘Me? Now? But I’m in a rush! I can’t possibly…’ Or we just write it off as heart burn…

The other day I was in a service station and outside of the newsagents was a stand with papers and magazines on it. Right at my eye level was ‘Nuts’, a mens magazine with an exposed breast on the front cover, nipple barely covered by a caption box. The title of the magazine is appropriate because that’s exactly what I went. I was so angry that in this main foyer area people were being exposed to this unhelpful temptation. I’m no saint and I was frankly surprised at the strength of my reaction. I think I’ve just had enough. As I stared at this magazine in righteous anger (honestly!) the beat of my Spirit laden heart piped up – ‘What are you going to do about it?’ I started the familiar routine of quenching that pesky voice – mainly because I was waiting for Anna and I had visions of her strolling up just as I picked the magazine up! I have had enough of ignoring that voice, so I walked over and turned that magazine round.

It’s not a huge victory, but we are never going to win any battles until we know how to win the skirmishes.

2 Timothy 2:22 (New International Version, ©2010)

22 Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.

~                    ~                    ~                    ~

Nick writes at Ebs and Flows, a Christian blog that is one of my personal favorites to frequent. It’s always a source of encouragement and a place of challenge for me. Check it out if you haven’t already!


About Nick

Nick lives in Scarborough with his wife, Anna, and Little Welford, their adopted son. Nick is currently a Baptist Minister in Training with an Anglican placement!

Posted on January 8, 2011, in Christian Life, Guest Post and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 14 Comments.

  1. Great post, chief. No point in whacking a big sign up saying “Hit me with everything you’ve got, I’m ‘untemptationable'” (there I go again making up new words!).

    And why do girls do that making a statement thing and expect guys to repeat it back?!

    Drives me… nuts! ;o)

  2. I will also point out that many a “Christian” woman exacerbates the problem by carelessly enticing their Christian brothers to indulge in weakness. Time and again, even in so-called conservative churches, I see women with revealing (suggestive) necklines, tight shirts, sheer clothing, etc. Yes, the ultimate responsibility rests squarely on the shoulders of men, but women need to pay attention to how their clothing draws men into an area they are trying to avoid.

    • Todd, I agree and disagree with you.

      I completely agree with you when you say that “many a “Christian” woman exacerbates the problem by carelessly enticing their Christian brothers to indulge in weakness. Time and again, even in so-called conservative churches, I see women with revealing (suggestive) necklines, tight shirts, sheer clothing, etc.”

      However, I disagree with you when you say that “the ultimate responsibility rests squarely on the shoulders of men.”
      I disagree because women know *exactly* what’re they’re doing when they put on skimpy clothes (whether it be the low neckline, they’re daughters XXS shirt, skirts that are 4 sizes too small [and short] for them, etc). They do it to draw attention to themselves (yes, even the shy and reserved ones). If women would dress modestly, I think it would take about a 50% chunk out of the temptation for men to lust. It’s hard to lust when you can’t see “details.” Men have imaginations, I understand – however, when absolutely *nothing* is left for the man’s imagination, it is the womans fault. Plain and simple.

  3. I think I see what you are trying to say, but I personally do not have a problem with making a commitment not to be involved in an affair. I don’t believe that saying or not saying that you will abstain from an affair puts any less of a target on your back. In your marriage vows, you essentially pledge to your husband/wife that you will be true to them and honor the commitment that God has set in place “they will become ONE flesh”. I believe that this in itself is a “target” enough – just look at the current standards of marriage. I also don’t think that saying “I will make a commitment” makes me feel any more secure. I still realize that I am human and talk is cheap compared to actions. In the end, I have to rely on spiritual preparation, God’s strength, and the Holy Spirit’s guidance to see me through circumstances. I realize that I am coming in slightly late on this, but I felt compelled to share this.

    • Hi and thanks!

      I am really chuffed with your thoughtful reply! I don’t write to dispense my lack of wisdom but to provoke discussion and be challenged on my thoughts too! I would say that I agree with most of what you have written. I try to keep my blogs relatively short and this was the longest one I have written so I didn’t put in everything I would have liked!

      The story of my lack of commitment was from our first year of marriage, when I was 23 and thought I knew everything. An interesting question for me as I have written and reflected on this story I have wondered what my stance would be now. I think I would definitely commit to the no affair thing because now it wouldn’t be a case of pride on my part. That’s really where me not saying I won’t ever have an affair came from – not that I thought I would, or would even be likely too, but a need on my part at that time, to be aware of pridefully thinking I was above it and then not being aware of the dangers and temptations.

      And really that was my point. Too many Christian sale too close to temptations thinking they will be fine and able to deal with it. In Christ strength and through the Holy Spirit working in me I will never have an affair, but when I am convinced of my own strength and pride is working in me then I am more likely to give in to temptation – whatever that may be. (I realise on reflection that my post may have made people think just of sexual temptation but I was trying to make a valid point on the whole subject)

      However I do believe we can make ourselves an easier target for Satan. While I agree that just being a Christian and committed makes you a target, I would suggest that if satan see’s two Christians one brandishing the shield of faith, the sword of the spirit and dressed in the whole armour of God, and the other in the mankini of pride they not only would he aim for the hideous beach apparel clad Christian first but also that his attacks would do more and lasting damage.

      Despite now having changed my mind and being confident in saying to Anna that I will not cheat, I am still away of my pride and therefore out of respect for her and willingness to fulfil that vow I still try to maintain the same approach when it comes to my interaction with other women. Thanks for your comment!

  4. A couple of points about temptation, that might help.

    I think that although sometimes we learn things the hard way, the more mature we get spiritually (doesn’t happen automatically with time) the EASIER life gets.

    Obviously that needs explaining, it goes like this; the more we learn from Jesus – the more we understand about how he taught us to live – the less temptation even seems interesting. The good way to live isn’t good just because ‘God says so’, it’s good because Jesus actually understood more about how life works well than anyone else. We need the Spirit’s strength as well, but that’s not a random thing, the Spirit is eager & waiting to help when we decide to do the right things (not only avoid the wrong).

    I like the description of temptation that says it’s always presented as “you’d better do this [wrong] thing, if you don’t you’re really going to miss out”. It’s been the same since the garden of Eden. But what we need to learn is that we NEVER ‘miss out’ spiritually when we leave our personal ‘advancement’ to God. 1 Pet 5:6 says “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time”!
    So, if we know our place before God, part of which is that we don’t have to look out for ourselves in ways that are wrong, HE will actually exalt us when the time is right. I’m guessing, for me at least, that may not be now, but He knows when it will be good.

    2nd thing, more specifically to do with lust is that when Jesus talked about this in Matt 5:28 it’s accurately translated as not looking at someone in order to lust. So noticing that someone looks nice isn’t the problem, it’s being on the lookout for people to focus on & imagine stuff about that’s the issue. How to cure it? Change the way we think about people. Love, at least God’s kind, says “what’s best for that person?”, not “what can I get from that person?”.

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