“I know the guy at work would only break my heart, but if he asks me out, I don’t know what I’ll do.” This woman’s honesty prompts a question: Why are we attracted to things we know will harm us? More importantly, how do we protect ourselves from fatal attractions? Consider the following.
Fatal attractions are common. Everyone is tempted. Eve experienced the first fatal attraction in the Garden of Eden. I’m tempted every time I see a hot fudge sundae. Jesus was also tempted, but He never succumbed. Whether our attraction is unwise relationships, rich foods, or over spending, in this world we live with deadly enticements (1 Corinthians 10:13).
Fatal attractions are liars. The Bible calls them “deceitful desires” (Ephes. 4:22). They deceive in at least three ways. First, like the serpent in Eden, they make promises they can’t keep. Eve did not become like God when she ate the forbidden fruit. She became like Satan, ousted from her preeminent position and place.
The guy at work promises excitement and love, but he delivers heartache instead. Rich foods make our taste buds dance, but a steady diet of them leaves us limping in poor health.
Second, they masquerade as our longings when no sane person craves pain or bondage, and every true believer wants to please God, not hurt Him. The satisfaction that comes from indulging destructive cravings is short-lived, but the pain can last a lifetime (Hebrews 11:25).
Third, they promise you’ll get away with it. One time won’t hurt. No one will know. You’re smart enough to know when to quit. James 1:15 says, “Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death,” (NIV). James is not saying you’ll drop dead the moment you sin. But every sin is destructive. It grows into bondage (Jn. 8:34). Before we know it, we no longer have the strength to resist. Sin hurts us, our heavenly Father, and those who love us. “Your sin will find you out,” (Num. 32:23, NASB).
I’m not saying don’t enjoy legitimate treats, but indulging every whim, even innocent ones, makes us slaves to our passions (Romans 6:16). Saying no to yourself may be the most liberating thing you do.
The next time you find yourself wrestling with a fatal attraction, ask yourself, what is the implied promise behind this pull? What is the more likely outcome? Don’t get shammed by your desires.
Perhaps the best thing to do is heed Jesus’ words, “Pray that you will not fall into temptation,” (Luke 22:40). Jesus is praying for you, but He asks us to pray too. He knows your spirit wants to be strong, but He also knows the weakness of our flesh. Our High Priest resisted stronger temptation than we will ever face, and He is able to help you spot the skull and crossbones behind your fatal attraction too.
What has helped you recognize and resist temptations? Comment below.
Image courtesy of Dan Piraro.