Catholic Husband

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Outsmart Temptation

Temptation is a fork in the road. We either freely choose to avoid sin, or we freely choose to commit sin.

Temptation in and of itself isn't sinful. It's not a sin to be tempted by something. It's a sin to act on that temptation.

The problem is, temptation is very influential. It plays to our weaknesses and in that way, it gains a tremendous amount of power over us. That also means that we can, over time, give less and less influence to it.

You know your weaknesses, you know which sin is alluring to you. You also know what it's like to commit those sins and their effects. You know the shame and guilt that come with it. You know the dirtiness, sadness, and emptiness that it leaves behind. You know the feeling of knots in your stomach waiting in line for Confession.

If you're ready to beat back temptation, if you're ready to have the upper hand in this struggle, you can choose to fight starting today. You can no longer be reactive, you must be proactive.

Temptation takes advantage of the moment. Your body's natural responses to sin amplify the temptation and cloud your judgement. For example, if your budget is tight and you had an opportunity to steal money from the cash register at work, the thought of committing that act would get your adrenaline pumping. That physiological response would prevent you from objectively viewing the situation and removing yourself from it. In a similar way, a high school couple who's canoodling is reaching the point of serious sexual sin is impeded from resisting the temptation to engage in sex. In both cases, very real physiological responses impair judgement.

But it's not your body's fault that you commit sin. It's not your life situation's fault. It's your fault. It's your fault because you let temptation get too strong.

If we want to be successful at defeating temptation, even ones where we're most weak, we have to go on the offensive. We have to outsmart it.

We both have multi-year track records of sinning and, by this point, we both know what our triggers are. We both know what things always lead us to committing sin. If we want to be temptation and sin, we need to take on those things.

The people you hang out with, what you do with your idle time, the websites that you surf, the TV shows that you watch, the movies that you go see, the music that you listen to, the magazines that you subscribe to, the books that you read... all of these things are potential triggers. None are intrinsically bad as a category, but each have elements that are intrinsically evil. The internet is not a bad thing, but it has bad sites. Television isn't bad, but it has bad shows. Music isn't bad, but there is bad music.

You have the power to overcome temptation, even where you're the weakest. The only question is, will you get rid of the things in your life that lead you to sin or are you too attached to them to walk away?