Monday, February 27, 2012

Temptation in 'Camp Celibacy'

Monday's topic is about dealing with grief. The process, the twists and turns, the questions, the hope, and sometimes the downright awful. Today's topic is a tough one--very personal, and not talked about too much. Maybe I'm stepping over the taboo line, but let's try to bring this out in the open.

There are run-of-the mill temptations--to lash out in anger when hurt, to lie to protect yourself, to covet your neighbor's belongings, to be selfish and unloving when tired. They're almost as familiar as the air we breathe. And so is the temptation of sexual immorality.

Widowhood is hard. All of the sudden you're in Camp Celibacy, and you didn't sign up to go there!  It's not a fun place when memories of intimacy with your husband, suggestive pictures from our sex-saturated culture, or undeniable physical urges rise up from you know where and parade through the mind.

Guilty feelings pin us down as we expect the imaginary camp counsellor to come barging through the door at any minute. What can we do with this closet full of desire and adult needs?

Understand the fine line between temptation and sin.

Temptation happens; we live in a fallen and polluted world. Temptation's fruit hangs in front of us as clearly as it did for Eve (Gen. 3) and Jesus (Matt. 4). Temptation also arises from our appetites, cleverly disguised as needs and yearnings. They're so deceptive and secretive. Part of the attraction is "No one will ever know." Because this happens in the greatest sex organ of all--the mind, so who would know, right? But when temptation gives way to sin, whether the affair happens in a bed or in our head, it's wrong. Matt. 5:28

Sexual temptation promises satisfaction, fullfillment and entitlement: "You're only human; you owe it to yourself."
It advertises a small cost compared to the supposed benefit--"give in just this once to the romance novel, the lingering touch, the suggestive movie and you'll never have to think about it again."
It's the ultimate in false advertising!
These onslaughts, whether loud and blatant or anonymous and seductive--these thoughts, yearnings and bargainings that haven't yet carried out the act--these are temptations. Do you see the difference?

Sin, on the other hand, is born from temptation when we don't immediately look away, resist, or even flee. Start to toy with the scenarios in your mind, fantasize the next step closer to that man, breathe in another smell of aftershave--and the hook of sin is set, the trap has sprung, the seed has sprouted. (James 1:13-15)

Yet, like Jesus, it's possible to be tempted and not give in to the situation. So we need to call on Him; He can give us the strength and wisdom to resist.

No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it. (I Corinthians 10:13 NIV)

Hang in there, dear one, this won't last forever, but heaven will.  ferree


  1. Great post, Ferree, and I love the phrase, "Camp Celibacy". When I get into my dating posts, I'll link this one to mine, if that's ok. It will go perfect!!

  2. Thank you, so much, for being willing to go there. No, we did not choose to go to Camp Celibacy!!! Thanks for laying it out. I really appreciate.

    Thanks for also acknowledging this can be extremely difficult for widows. Often people assume this is only a problem for widowers.

    I appreciate the "with" and the strong challenge to overcome and persevere.


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