How I Handle Temptation

I was tempted to look at porn this morning.

As part of my job, I regularly read articles about sexual integrity issues and how culture is influencing our sexuality. Every so often I get slimed by an article that takes WAY too much liberty in what it shows in the form of video clips and pictures. By “slimed”, I mean blasted with pornographic material I did not ask for. They could prove their point with substantially less footage. That happened this morning.

An article I clicked on had a tantalizing video that I was tempted to click on. I did not click it. I hovered the mouse button over it for a second or two, but ultimately chose a different route.  I thought it might be helpful for some guys to know what that process of choosing a different route looked like. At least, looked like this time. Its certainly not the same every time. Here’s how it went…

1 – Recognize How I Rationalize (rationalize = Rational Lies): these are the reasons I come up with to justify my sin. It sounds like this in my head – “this video isn’t that bad, its right on the line”, “its part of my job, I have to see this stuff”, “nobody will know, so no big deal”.

2 – Refute the Rational Lies – this is talking myself through the truth and grounding myself in reality – “everyone who matters will eventually know; the truth always comes out”, “you will literally lose everything that is meaningful in your life over 1 click and a stupid video”, “ this is meaningless and completely unsatisfying and you’re only going to compound the already crappy feelings you’re experiencing”.

3 – Physical Move – I had to push back away from my desk, away from my computer. I needed a physical change of posture to reorient myself. It is almost symbolic; a literal backing away translates to a mental and emotional backing away.

4 – Diagnostics – Taking a few minutes to diagnose what I am feeling and why. This morning I felt disappointment due to the fact that all 3 of my kids are sick, and someone in our house has been sick since Christmas. It has been very difficult. I also felt misunderstood this morning, based on conversations Shelley and I had over the weekend.

I also had to assess which of the 3 I’s (Insignificance, Incompetence, Impotence) may have been tapped. This morning it was Impotence – meaning, powerlessness. I feel completely powerless over my kids’ health and over my wife’s stress.  I also felt helpless to get a break; people are counting on me as a counselor today and I can’t just cancel my day and go into hiding.

 5 – Do Something Meaningful – it helped me to switch gears and actually do something meaningful. That happened to be responding to an email from someone looking for help. I believe one of the key reasons guys get trapped in things like pornography is they don’t know what they’re living for.  If we don’t have something to wake up for, we’ll medicate having to wake up for nothing.

6 – Connect – As much as I wanted to isolate and pretend the temptation, the close call, and the small victory never happened, it did. And someone needs to know. They need to know I’m struggling, and be present with me in that pain and those triggers. They also need to about that immediate victory, to celebrate with me and encourage me. We preach this all the time at the Every Mans Battle Workshops; connection, accountability and relationship. So, I texted a few guys; they responded within minutes with prayer, encouragement and a reminder that I’m loved. It’s a sweet thing to give Jesus a chance to show up through people. Maybe if he wanted to be the only one through whom God’s mercy flowed, he would’ve stuck around a little longer, rather than delegating to the disciples.

7 – Stay in the Fight – meaning that temptation didn’t come, then go, and now its all good times and happy. It stuck with me through the day. I had to stay in the fight, deal with my emotions in healthy ways, stay connected with people, remain present in my life, and keep my guard up. Temptation is rarely one and done.

10 thoughts on “How I Handle Temptation

  1. Great you have a support group around you ! I had temptatione this morning, and overted it The info was on the search engine cover page , so I saw it repeatedly as I worked. I stayed strong, but was tempted for sure.
    I am building a support group but have always been a lone wolf. My wife would view my minor victory as weakness and potential temptation and more reason to ground her mis trust of my mind set. Glad to hear Im not the only one tempted by oversaturated sexuality in ever corner of modern culture.

    God give us strength and knowledge of him in all things.

  2. So helpful, Jason. Your temptation and ensuing battle seemed so nearly like ones I’ve had. Blessings to you for overcoming and remaining free of the sin, guilt and remorse.

  3. This is the first time I’ve left a comment. I fully identify with the temptation. I’m unemployed and at times I resort to porn and feel so terrible afterwards. It’s not a everyday event or weekly for that matter but it happens. I try to avoid it at all costs. HELP!!!!!!!

  4. Jason, I draw much inspiration and strength from your testimony and story. Your blog makes a difference in my life: your willingness to submit, your honesty… I like how your wife has kitchen convos with you, showing the love and intimacy that is possible when we forgive and keep focused on Him. In His grace…

  5. Thank you! I have been trying to stop my addiction to porn and sex for years. I have hurt my wife and myself and always vow I wont do this again. Then out of the blue I start up again. Sometimes I think death is the only way out. I just want to stop! Help ! !!!!! Thanks for your posts.

    • Do you have an sexual addiction groups in your town? Have you went to every mans battle yet?
      Is there any group that you can attend even online?

  6. Thank you, for this artical. I woke up this morning tempted to watch porn, went here instead. This battle was won.

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