If it looks good, tastes good, and feels good, it must be okay, right? At least that’s what society would have us to believe. The “T” word (temptation) is not something we like to talk much about as college students, and even when we do, we try to soften the blow by making it seem less severe than it actually is. You’ve heard it before, “I just couldn’t help myself, the temptation was just too great.” That may indeed be true, but it’s only half true. The temptation probably was too great, but you could have indeed done something about it.
As long as you’re breathing, and as long as you’re a college student, you will face some type of temptation. The temptation may be different for all of us. For some, the temptation to engage in sex before marriage may be a major pull or being unfaithful to someone you’re in love with. For others, temptation may come in the form of using illegal drugs or drinking alcohol excessively. It doesn’t matter what the temptation is, the fact is that you “will” be tempted. The question is, so what you do about it?
Well, I’m glad you ask, because I think Kent Crockett provides some solid advice that could help us all. Kent Crockett is the author of The 911 Handbook, and I believe his book is right on point. He offers us the following eight lessons:
Lesson #1: We can reduce temptations by avoiding the places of temptations.
A very simple concept, but also very true. Crockett say that it is always easier to avoid temptation than it is to overcome it. He tells of the story of about the man who went to see the doctor, clutching his arm in great pain. The man said, “Doc, you gotta help me, I broke my arm in two places. What should I do?” The doctor said, “There’s only one thing you can do. Stay out of those places!” I think you get the point. Keep yourself out of harm’s way by going a different way.
Lesson #2: We open ourselves to temptation when we decide to provide for our flesh.
The flesh that Crockett describes refers to our senses: touch, sight, taste, hearing, and sense of smell. Remember what I said earlier, if it looks, tastes, and feels good… It’s imperative that we break this cycle. When faced with temptation, think spiritually, not physically. Everything that looks, feels, sounds, smells, and taste good may not be good for you. Use your spiritual wisdom to decide.
Lesson #3: When we move into the place of temptation, understand that evil will be waiting there to tempt us.
Goodness doesn’t hang around temptation spots, evil does. If you go to the areas where goodness hangs out, and I can almost guarantee you that you’ll be tempted less. One can be tempted at a night club as well as a library, but I’d rather take my chances at the library researching figures than at the club studying figures.
Lesson #4: After we have entered into temptation, we become blinded to the consequences.
We all know that you can see a bigger picture of something when you’re standing a good distance from it. And likewise, we can’t see something as clear when we’re standing too close to it. This is also true of temptation. We can only see the consequences of temptation before we yield to it because we’re standing on the outside of it. But after we have entered into temptation, we become blinded to the consequences. This is definitely true when it comes to matters dealing with the opposite sex.
Lesson #5: The pull of the temptation increases the closer we get to the forbidden fruit.
According to Crockett, many people want to play with temptation as long as they can, thinking they can walk away from it at any time. But it’s not that easy, because the closer we get to the temptation, the more pull it has. Temptation is not a game to be played with like Nintendo. Cutting off the temptation by killing the thought at the beginning is the key to breaking free from temptation’s pull.
Lesson #6: We must run away from the temptation rather than try to resist it.
I don’t care how strong you are, we all have a weakness. It’s at the moment that you think you can’t get whipped that you will be. If you try to resist, you will lose. Imagine Superman just trying to “resist” kryptonite rather than running away from it. It would kill him. If you’re worried about where to run, don’t worry, God promised to make a way of escape for you (1 Cor. 10:13).
Lesson #7: Forbidden fruit is never as sweet as you have been told it will be.
Without getting sexually explicit, for those us who have given in to sexual temptation, almost every one of my buddies admit that they felt a moment of regret after the incident. It’s a terrible lesson to have to learn, but if you’ve been there and done that, you know what I’m talking about. I think Crockett is right on point here. Hindsight is always 20/20. The worst thing about giving in to the forbidden fruit, is even though it doesn’t truly satisfy you, if you keep giving in to it, you can become addicted to it. Trust me, it ain’t worth it.
Lesson #8: When we are full of God’s fruit, we won’t be hungry for forbidden fruit.
Wow! The reality is that temptation is a need to fulfill a legitimate God-given drive in an illegitimate way. I like how Crockett puts it, he says, “It’s never a good idea to inspect forbidden fruit, especially on an empty stomach.” You can use that to apply to any temptation you’re struggling with. If we don’t fulfill our desires in the right ways, we will constantly look to fulfill them in the wrong ways. And if you’re wondering, what is God’s fruit? They are love, peace, patience, service and kindness just to name a few. Since I know you will continue to face temptation as a college student, I expect that you will come back to this page again and again. Learn and internalize these lessons. Thanks for dropping by. Come back soon, and tell a friend. Live purposefully, and God bless!