Tag Archives: temptation

58: Hormonal

58 hormones pixabay eye-374922_1280

and Potiphar’s wife soon began to look at him lustfully. “Come and sleep with me,” she demanded.” Genesis 39:7 NLT

 

Human beings have so many struggles, don’t we, even with our own bodies, our own minds, the very things that you would think we would be able to control and understand. But even the parts that make up our whole are often temperamental and beyond our regulation. We go so far as to ascribe independent control to the bits of ourselves that don’t behave. “Oh, it’s got a mind of its own,” we say of gammy legs, of gorging stomachs, of wayward eyes, or of other parts that seem to override our best intentions. The Bible is full of men who couldn’t seem to control their passions, sexual or otherwise, and a great deal of harm was done because of it. Our hormones, it would seem, are the hardest parts of ourselves to keep in order after our tongues.

There are precious few incidences where women are overcome by their lustful urges in the Bible. Which makes it all the more strange that we are so often accused of being slaves to our hormones. It seems men have a lot more trouble keeping their testosterone under control. But here is one such rarity, Potiphar’s wife, who longs to sleep with Joseph, who in turn refuses the advances of his master’s wife, and ends up slandered and imprisoned for his integrity.

We are all tidal creatures up to a point, and we all get overtaken by our urges from time to time if we are honest, even it if is an uncontrollable urge to binge on chocolate or to snap at our loved ones. And some of this we can put down to hormones, and excuse one another our weaknesses, which after all, are common to humanity. But perhaps sexual urges are more important to control, as infidelities wreck and even cost lives. Demanding that others satisfy those urges, as Mrs Potiphar does here, is a complete negation of Joseph’s humanity. She clearly viewed him as a slave and nothing more, despite his being master of the household. We must excuse one another our minor and occasional lapses, but also become friends with the self-discipline that will save us and others from being used and abused.

I often hear people say of those who left spouses or wrecked homes, “Oh well, you can’t help who you fall in love with!” I disagree, in fact, because one can control where one is focussed. As we see in today’s verse, lust begins (as we saw with David and Bathsheba) with looking. If we train ourselves not to look, or rather, not to look with lustful hearts, then we won’t succumb to temptation. Lust and love are very different of course, but where faithfulness is concerned the remedy is the same, self-control, and keeping our attention where it should be. If we feel ourselves in danger, we must take steps to avoid the person concerned, and not allow ourselves to be ruled solely by fleshly passions which will often tear lives and hearts apart and marriages asunder. Eyes and hearts kept on God and his ways will keep us from grievously wounding him or others.

 

©Keren Dibbens-Wyatt

Photo from Pixabay

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49: The Incurable Wound

48 WOUND pixabay

Why is my pain unceasing, my wound incurable, refusing to be healed? Will you be to me like a deceitful brook, like waters that fail?” Jeremiah 18:15 ESV

 

As a chronically sick person, I can so identify with Jeremiah’s way of expressing his and Israel’s pain in this way. The help that doesn’t come is unbearable. Spiritual wounds can feel like this too, never-ending, incurable, seeping and festering.

In my prayer time today the Lord shared with me about the idea of a “soul wound,” a place in us where the enemy finds a potential weakness. He wounds us there, and keeps stabbing away at the same place over and over again, so that each time we think we have got a handle on it and found healing, it is opened up again and never gets a chance to truly be made well. We looked back over the toughest times in my life and I saw in a way I’ve not been able to comprehend before, that each time I was soul wounded, it happened in several similar areas. I wonder if this is the same for other people too? It could be a myriad of things. Loneliness, helplessness, disappointment, misunderstanding, cruelty, abuse, violation of boundaries, addiction, fear of commitment, running with the crowd. You name a weakness and it is doubtless exploitable. The thing is, if the devil can keep picking away at the scab, and sticking those places with any sharp object he can find, that place will become weaker and weaker and its defence non-existent. So we end up with a seemingly incurable wound.

But what I was also shown, was that each of these wounds is based on or around a lie which we can counteract with scripture. So, for instance, a false aim, like trying to be good enough for God to love you. The premise that you need to strive to be good enough is a lie. You don’t need to try, because you never will be good enough for God to love you. God loves you now, already, as you are. “But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.” (Romans 5:8 NLT) God does the doing in this relationship. “For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16 NLT)

Another one might be finding yourself constantly misunderstood. The lie here is that no-one understands you. But God does.

You have searched me, Lord,

and you know me.

You know when I sit and when I rise;

you perceive my thoughts from afar.

You discern my going out and my lying down;

you are familiar with all my ways.

Before a word is on my tongue

you, Lord, know it completely.” Psalm 139: 1-4 NIV

Unike Achilles, most of us have more than one dodgy heel, those places where a correctly thrown dart or spear can get under our skin and slow us down. To be sure of what they are, we can listen to the discouraging voices that appear whenever we resolve to do something good, kind or for God. These will most likely also be the same discouragements that try to tempt us away from God’s will. They nearly always have their roots, just as temptations do, in three kinds of misrepresentation. Misrepresentation of God’s word: “did God really say that?” asks the serpent, pointing out other verses and counting on us not to bother to check their validity, context or cultural relevance. Misrepresentation of God’s character: “is God really good? He wouldn’t have done that if he were! He wouldn’t have given me these parents, let that happen” etc. And lastly the misrepresentation of our identity and worth in Christ: “you’re no good, you’re not good enough, you’ll never measure up”, and at the other end of the worth spectrum, “I deserve better, I’m better than that, I don’t need to lower myself.”

Our countering must be swift in order to stop the rot. Just as Jesus came back at the enemy in the wilderness with a neutralising scripture as the antidote to his poison, so can we. Scripture is holy, God is good, there is no condemnation in Christ. And so for every wound there is a lie and many corresponding truths. If we can gather the strength to collect some of these scriptures together, we might make a poultice from their collective goodness, applying them often as a balm to those stubborn wounds. In this way healing can gradually come and the truth really can set us free.

©Keren Dibbens-Wyatt

Photo from Pixabay