Maybe it’s just me, but why do we always want what we can’t have?
I had to have some medical tests run recently and was instructed no food or drink for six to eight hours prior. Normally, I’m not very hungry during the day. But when I was told I couldn’t have anything, I wanted to eat and drink desperately!
And I was thinking about how the beauty industry makes a fortune because women pay lots of money on product and tools to straighten their curly hair, or curl their straight hair.
We always seem to desire that which we can’t have.
We aren’t alone. Our desire for the forbidden began back in the Garden of Eden.
“Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, ‘Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?’ The woman said to the serpent, ‘We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’…When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.” (Genesis 3:1-3, 6 NIV).
Our mind is a powerful tool that can be used for good or for evil. In the Garden of Eden, the serpent knew he only had to twist the truth to get Eve to question what she believed: “You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
The enemy also twisted the truth in the wilderness when he tempted Jesus. But Jesus knew how to defeat him. Satan tempted Jesus three times, and each time Jesus responded to him by saying, “It is written…” and used Scripture to stand against the enemy’s temptation.
Paul also gives some very clear direction for how to handle the times when things are not as we would like them to be with respect to prayer and thanksgiving:
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7 NIV).
Part of the secret to being content despite our situation is our positive mindset:
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things” (Philippians 4:8 NIV). It’s hard to be discontent when we make a habit of focusing on all the positive aspects of life instead of the negative.
Finally, Paul shared the importance of relying on God’s strength rather than our own:
“I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:12-13 NIV).
So when we find ourselves tempted or lacking contentment, there are at least 5 tools we can rely on in battle:
- Quote scripture
- Pray and ask God for His help
- Thank God in advance for His help
- Maintain a positive mindset
- Rely on God’s strength instead of our own
I’d love to hear of other tools you rely on to battle temptation in the comments below!
Prayer for Overcoming Temptation
May I pray for you?
I thank you for this dear one today. I thank you for their desire to overcome temptation and become more like you. When temptation strikes, as it does for all of us, remind them of appropriate scripture as you did for Jesus in the wilderness to refute the temptation from the enemy. Give them the mind of Christ. Infuse them with your strength. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.
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