Several months ago I got a call from one of our pastors. He had agreed to do a wedding for a couple in our church, but had an unexpected conflict come up in his schedule and was unable to perform their ceremony. Their wedding was three weeks away. I agreed to perform the ceremony and made an appointment to do dinner with the couple.
A few nights later I met Rory Vaden and his soon to be wife A.J. My life was changed for the better. Rory is one of the most caring, selfless men I have ever met. He and A.J. are a couple that every pastor dreams of marrying. They love God deeply and love one another fully. Since his wedding, Rory has written a New York Times Best Selling book called, Take the Stairs. It is such an inspirational book. We are honored to have Rory guest post today, and man is it a powerful post.
Follow: Rory on Twitter
Buy: Take The Stairs
You’ve probably heard the phrase before “what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.” Well, recently I went to Las Vegas to celebrate one of my best friend’s bachelor parties. There is a reason why they call it “Sin City”. Temptation and indulgence of every kind lurks at every corner – literally.
One of the easiest and most common temptations to find is sex. You can’t move your head without seeing suggestions of sex on a billboard, sidewalk, or at a dance club. While I am very proud of the group of men that I went with for having one of the best times in my life without engaging in any actions that would be in any sin category I’d be lying to you if I told you I got out of there scott-free…
See the problem for me was not my actions but my thoughts. I desperately love my wife. I’m infatuated with her. I’m committed to her. I’m passionately on fire for her. She’s my best friend and she’s the reason I live. She is the only woman I’d ever be with and ever want to be with. Because that is true, I really wish I could say I that I never notice other women but that wouldn’t be honest.
It was a weekend full of sun and pools, which meant lots of women in bikinis. Being married that meant a weekend of internal conflict. Yet I can truthfully tell you that any notice of another woman was a short and fleeting thought.
Because as a man I’ve finally come to realize some truths for myself about sexual temptation that are helping me be a better husband:
1. Sexual temptation is not a matter of the flesh; it’s a matter of the heart. It’s amazing what activities we will rationalize ourselves into. We convince ourselves that sex in any form is allowable simply because we have a craving that is just the result of our biology. While sex drive may be natural, it’s just like any other impulse that must be controlled for your own good. The truth is that when you feel truly loved in your life; the temptation of sexual sin starts to lose its power over you. If I’m finding myself pulled in other directions it’s likely because I have a relationship that needs to be repaired. Seek to satisfy your heart, not your biology.
2. Sex by itself is less a source of satisfaction; and more of an addiction. Like any other drug, sex doesn’t satisfy for long. Sex outside of intimacy gives us an unsustainable euphoria that we constantly have to chase. The more we have it, the more we want it, the more we want it, the more we expect it to fill a space that is really in our heart. The danger is that it never will and so all we have to chase after is more of the feeling, more of the craving. So why even go down that road in the first place?
3. Our ability to overcome temptation is directly proportionate to the term of our perspective. When we live a life of being governed by our emotions, feelings, and impulses we lust only for what will give us what we want right now. But in those moments we have lost control of our life to emotions because of a short-term perspective. In any situation when we elongate our perspective and play out the course of 2 choices in our mind we can quickly see which path leads to brokenness and which leads to what we really want. Remind yourself of what you have.
4. The more you focus on loving the one you have the less you’ll desire to focus on anyone else. Something magical happens when you truly commit to loving someone. You become so invested in making something work that all you can think about is how to make the other person happy. When that becomes your primary thought there isn’t much space for falling in lust with someone else.
5. If you don’t approach the line, you’ll never cross it. There is an unfortunate phrase in guy code (I can’t speak for women) that says “you can look as long as you don’t touch.” Its bad advice though because the more likely you are to look the more likely you are to touch. My friend and mentor Dave once told me “when you see the line, run the opposite direction!” The more you protect yourself from even being in a situation where you’d have the opportunity to compromise the less chance you ever will.
It’s not sex that satisfies; it’s feeling unconditionally loved. Admittedly and sadly, unconditional love is few and far between these days. If you don’t have it now then just try and remember that you are being prepared for the one you’ll someday be with who already loves you unconditionally.
If you’re not getting unconditional love from the person you’re supposed to then the best advice I ever received was “worry about becoming the right person and you’ll find the right person shows up.”
I’m not sharing any of this out of authoritative righteousness from someone who has it all figured out but from humble suggestion of someone who continues to struggle down the path.
Because the truth is that “what happens in Vegas…follows you for the rest of your life.” What happens anywhere follows you for the rest of your life. But if you and I can live by these truths then maybe one day we’ll be free even from a thought.
Southwestern Consulting: http://www.southwesternconsulting.com
Self Discipline Strategist: http://www.roryvaden.com
Take the Stairs: http://www.takethestairsbook.com