The Brotherhood of the Second Cross was established on Father’s Day 2005 where 160 men stood before their wives and children to pledge themselves to purity, self-sacrifice, loyalty, and excellence. Today, hundreds more have joined the commitment.
Last time, we began a journey through the five step journey to conquering the temptations that have been conquering you. Step 1 is to acknowledge your weakness daily. Check out last week’s blog for the full details. Now on to step two.
2. Beware the Wilderness
1 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry. Matthew 4:1-2
Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness offers us some excellent insight into our own battles. The first thing we see in that important story is that Satan showed up to tempt Jesus in the wilderness!
When it comes to temptation, it’s all about location, location, location. Satan brought his strongest attack when Jesus would be at His weakest place. Now, we know that the wilderness in Jesus’ story is the desert. Hot, miserable, and barren. It’s not a life-giving place, but rather an environment that makes even the strongest man feel desperate. Add that fact that jesus hadn’t eaten for forty days and you see why this is Satan’s favorite arena. He loves catching us alone in the wilderness.
Now, most of us don’t hang out in deserts, but we do have our own wildernesses. The wilderness is any place where we feel alone and most open to enemy attack. Maybe your insecurities are heightened at work where the boss is often critical or the demands are just too high. The pressure to provide for your family is enormous and forces you into this seemingly godless desert every day—a place where life is its most difficult. It’s your wilderness, and God’s enemy likes finding you there.
Or maybe you feel more alone at home. Damaged relationships, estranged children, or a history of deep hurts create a tense environment where everyone feels alone. Enter Satan with the temptation to escape those feelings for a few moments of unsatisfying but familiar satisfaction. Pornography addictions typically stem from a desire to escape, more than a desire for sexual gratification.
Another kind of wilderness is the place where your temptation is most accessible. If alcohol is your battle, sitting a bar makes you a sitting duck, doesn’t it? If its porn, the isolated computer, the convenience store’s magazine rack, or the lonely hotel room with lots of in-room viewing options makes the perfect wilderness for Satan’s schemes.
Fact is, if you’re going to conquer what’s been conquering you, you need to identify and avoid your wilderness locations. Why give Satan an easy upperhand by walking right into the lonely places?
Now, maybe you have to go there. If work is a wilderness, you probably can’t just quit your job. So, bring some strategies into your necessary wildernesses. Accountability and relationships can help keep your lonely spots from becoming lonely.
Remember that weakness + opportunity = failure nearly every time.
That’s step two in this journey toward lasting victory. Next week we’ll look at perhaps the most critical step of all.