More accurately, it’s amazing how my failure to react quickly to tempting thoughts sets me up for additional problems later on.
Even when the temptation is not something on which i act, it still draws strength away and leaves me open to lots of other attack.
The other day i was hit with consistent temptation which i responded to less vigorously than i should have. Instead of renouncing the thoughts; putting them to the sword and setting my heart on Christ, i let the thoughts linger.
Nothing came of the thoughts (i.e. i didn’t look at porn or masturbate), but later that day i noticed the way in which i had been sapped of spiritual strength as a result of my slow response to the temptation earlier.
i was in a situation later that day in which, through some innocent confusion, a person i was dealing with told me i had made a mistake. Usually, that’s nothing serious. Everybody makes mistakes.
But on this particular day i was immediate besieged by shame and embarrassment. The thoughts running through my head were very condemning.
i prayed through it and God gave me the right perspective, but He also used it to teach me a powerful lesson. He pointed me to Proverbs 5 where the writer talks about the adulteress with her smooth speech.
It says that if you don’t keep a path far from the adulteress you “give your vigor to others and yours to the cruel one.” (v.9).
That’s what had happened to me that day. i had failed to steer a path sufficiently far away from the adulteress and my vigor was sapped; i was open to the Cruel One.