Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. 1 Corinthians 7:5
I spend a sizable portion of my week providing medical care at a chemical dependency facility which also provides treatment for those addicted to gambling. When I meet those with a gambling disorder, I find myself a little fascinated and confused. I always ask their story, which invariably includes significant financial loss. I don’t get it. I have absolutely no desire to gamble, and so, I cannot understand why anyone would destroy their lives, betting money they don’t have.
This of course, is how any non-addict looks at me. Those who’ve never struggled with chemicals cannot fathom how it’s possible that someone who went to medical school could have been so stupid as to steal pain medications. Unless it’s your struggle, drug addiction is hard to understand because it often involves ridiculous, self-destructive, and pathologic behavior.
We all struggle with something though. In today’s passage, Paul continued his instruction on appropriate sexual relations in marriage. In it, he said that a husband and wife must be sensitive to each other’s sexual needs so that the other may not fall into temptation. He said that Satan attacks us in those areas in which we personally struggle with self-control.
Temptation isn’t just about sex though. Evil finds its way into our lives through our appetites, impulses, and natural thoughts patterns. Not all our desires are evil, but some of them lead to self-destructive behaviors and this is where evil sneaks in. We’re not seduced by those things that cause only pain. We’re not tempted to stick a fork in our eye, because there’s no pleasure there. We’re tempted by those things which bring us instant gratification. The problem with evil however, is that even though it brings momentary satisfaction, the price must be paid eventually.
Paul said we’re all gifted differently, but the reciprocal is true as well. We’re all flawed differently too. We all struggle with something, whether it’s gambling, food, lust, drugs, pride, status, money, or shopping. We all have some area in which evil uses our flaws to sneak into our lives, causing us pain and misery. We may not comprehend the struggles of others, but, if we’re willing, we can understand their temptation by being honest about our own.
Author’s Note: As you’ve probably noticed, I’ve not published for over a week now, which is really unusual since I rarely miss a day. Many of you have kindly expressed concern. I appreciate all your questions, prayers, and concerns. I’m fine, bu the blog was hacked and has been inaccessible. I couldn’t even use the email list to send out a notice that it wasn’t working. I put the word out on Facebook, but many of you don’t read the blog there. Anyway . . . It appears that we’re back functioning and we are taking steps to improve security so hopefully, this doesn’t happen again. So, thanks for reading, thanks for noticing, and thanks for caring! Thanks to Candace Grabinger at Smallfish (www.