I've always hated to hear people talk about themselves in a defeated manner when it comes to temptation and sin. Yes, we are pathetic and weak in the flesh, but since we have become saved and made into new creatures - who rules us? Christ does. Our thoughts should line up with His thoughts. Christ lived in the same world as we do, saw the same things, encountered the same wickedness, dealt with the same devil, and was tempted with the same three temptations that plague us all - the pride of life, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes. (1 John 2:16) Yet, He prevailed. Think on this: We would be repulsed - grotesquely repulsed - by a flickering thought of being sexually attracted to our own sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, in-laws, aunts, uncles, or grandchildren. Odds are – we’ve seen them stark naked, in bathing suits, tight clothing, or sleep wear. Actually, – those thoughts won’t even enter into our minds. That’s how repulsive those incestuous and abusive thoughts are – we have built an internal barrier that won't even allow them to penetrate our thoughts. Why do we then have no barriers to prevent sinful thoughts when it comes to non-incestuous relationship with people we are not married to? Adultery and fornication should be equally as repulsive as incest. Why do we deal with these thought after the fact and not proactively? Why do we not GUARD ourselves in this area? And why does it seem like talking about our weaknesses in this area appear sometimes to be a boasting of our being sexual creatures? Yes, I know it’s natural to feel sexual tension and allurement. I understand chemistry, biology, pheromones, wicked hearts, weak flesh, weak spirit, and juvenile attitudes. I understand the pride of life and wanting that harem of fantasy brides or bridegrooms. It’s also common to humanity to feel lustfully drawn to drunkenness, gluttony, bitterness, rage, scorn, pride, shame, defeat, self-righteous, self-pity, and more. Why then haven't we protected ourselves from these potential strongholds from the get go? Why do we wait until these allurements come about and then moan over the fact that we just can’t help ourselves and that we are just too weak and then give into it without a fight and lay down and wallow in the sickness of it all and then when we have spent ourselves in the sexual fantasy, the third piece of pie, the two packs a day, the root of bitterness, the cussing streak, the pity-party and more – we feel terrible and blame our circumstances and other people. It's not our fault - we aren't to blame! I'm not buying any of that. Not one word. I used to - but not any more. [FONT="]I’m not perfect. If you knew the sin in my life that I’ve struggled with – you’d want me to be banned as a member and burned at the stake. But here's what I do know. Here's what helps me tremendously. It's the conviction that comes from Isaiah 44 - especially verse 20. [/FONT] Why are you and I feasting on ashes? The ashes left behind from burning wood for our idols? Why are you and I putting up no guard and allowing a deception to attack our minds and lead us astray with no fight, only a selfish blame of someone or something else? Why are you and I not able so understand that we cannot deliver ourselves when consumed with idolatry? But most importantly of all - why are you and I so BLINDED by sin that we cannot eve look at the temptations in our "right hands" that we have a death grip on and say to ourselves, "This thing in my right hand (heart and mind) is a LIE!!", and drop it immediately Ever since God revealed the truths of this passage to me, I treat my mind as if I have that “discerning” proactive barrier. And when temptation and sin come my way – I say, sometimes out loud, “This thing in my heart and mind is a LIE"! And I flee it. Let me end with a story that I've told before. When I was about 2 or 3 years old, I went to my grandmother's house to visit. She had bought me a toy wooden duck with a little rope attached that I could pull on its little wheels. I was delighted. I began to pull the little duck and he began to QUACK quite unceremoniously at me. The motion of the wheels caused a mechanism inside to make the sound and open the mouth up and down. All I know is that it scared the daylights out of me. So - I began to run as fast as my little legs would go, but that cursed duck kept following me. And the faster that I toddled around her house, the faster the quacking got. I was terrified! You see, I didn't know to let go of the rope. It was in my "right hand" and I was clutching it tightly - IGNORANT of the fact that the rope was my demise - not the duck. All I could do was to run to my Mama who was laughing at me. She took my little hand and said, "Drop the rope and he won't chase you anymore." I must say it was quite the epiphany. Whatever it is that's stopping you from living the life that God desires for you, for His sake - let it go. Lust, desire, jealously, bitterness and blame, regrets, pride, self-abuse, despair, guilt, anger, the proverbial pity-party, apathy, or whatever cancer of the spirit it may be - open your hand, your heart, your mind and let it go. We are holding that temptation like a vice in our right hands, coddling it, fearing it, desiring it, and hating it. Call it for what it is. Call it a lie and cast it down from your hand, heart, and mind. I promise you won’t have to live like a frightened rabbit anymore and blaming the world around your for your own inability to rebuke the devil.