“Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.” – Mike Tyson
I like that quote. It may seem violent on the surface but it aptly sums up the human plight of temptation and our inability to deal with it on our own. I’m sure Mr. Tyson wasn’t even thinking about a spiritual application when he said this, but I’m going to go out on a limb and attempt one.
Dr. Loran Nordgren, a senior lecturer at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management in Chicago, ran a series of experiments that placed college students in “tempting situations” to smoke, eat junk food, or forgo studying. The research found that we often display what’s called a “restraint bias.” In other words, we tend to overestimate how much self-control we will have against temptation when we’re not in the “heat of the moment.”
Our “restraint bias” causes us to think that we can handle more temptation than we actually can. Dr. Nordgren warned that “Those who are most confident about their self-control are the most likely to give in to temptation.”* All of our well-laid plans on how we’re going to deal with life’s temptations, can very quickly evaporate into thin air if we’re attempting to fight the battle on our own…especially in the heat of the moment.
“No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face. All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; He’ll never let you be pushed past your limit; He’ll always be there to help you come through it” 1 Corinthians 10:13.
If I’m dealing with temptation that seems to get the better of me, there are a couple of things that help me to better position myself for victory:
1. I recognize that I’m not the only person who’s ever had the temptation that I’m struggling with. I’m not exactly sure why that seems to be strangely comforting to me, but it is. It means that I’m not alone. Others have walked the same road of temptation.
2. I don’t have what it takes to get past this on my own. I need help, and God has promised me that He’s already provided a way out. As difficult as this is for me to internalize sometimes, I choose to remember that it is God’s faithfulness that helps me deal…not my faithfulness.
I’ve proven to myself (over and over again), that I can be my own worst enemy when it comes to dealing with temptation, but my Creator has also proven that He always shows up to help me. Remembering this helps me move forward with faith and confidence.
Michael Temple writes from North Dakota.
* Jeanna Bryner, "Temptation Harder to Resist Than You Think, Study Suggests," Live Science (8-3-09).© 2002 - 2020, AnswersForMe.org. All rights reserved. Click here for content usage information.