04. Tempted by the Forbidden Fruit

Note: These scenarios are not gender-specific. Depending on the sex of the person reading this, male and female roles can be switched.

You are trying your best to imitate Christ and appear to be succeeding admirably well when you suddenly bump into a gorgeous creature who stirs up your senses. She seems to understand you so well that it feels as though God has tailor-made her for you. You suspect it wouldn't take much to fall in love with her, which would not necessarily be bad, except for one minor detail: you have a wife at home. This is what you do:

a. You tell yourself that God has sent you someone to be an understanding companion in your journey towards Him and ask your wife for a divorce.

b. You fight off all unholy desire, determined to love her in a manner that will be pleasing to Christ.

c. You try to stay away from her beyond what is necessary but indulge yourself in elaborate fantasies from time to time.

d. You find yourself unable to resist the attraction and indulge in a torrid affair, consoling yourself that God will understand your weakness.

As with all the other situations we are examining in this series, we all know which is the right option, but with rare exceptions, refrain from exercising it. It is the same with temptation, with many of us seeming unable (or unwilling) to resist it when it comes our way. In this particular situation, there is the added difficulty of "active" temptation; unlike a whisky bottle sitting on a shelf, a woman might not remain passively in one place and wait to be opened. Regardless, the temptation can be overcome, and it would help to keep the following pointers in mind.

  1. No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. 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 endure it (1 Corinthians 10:13). You are not being subject to any incredible test, no matter what you might think; others go through the same temptations and if they can succeed in overcoming them, so can you. Take encouragement from this knowledge.
  2. God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear (1 Corinthians 10:13). If you find yourself tempted to a great extent, understand that God has faith that you will be able to overcome it, which should give you the necessary strength and courage you need to combat it.
  3. When you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it (1 Corinthians 10:13). In case you find yourself succumbing to temptation, look for the way out that God has provided. There always is one, and you can usually spot it best on your knees!
  4. Remember that all sin begins with a thought. The serpent didn't toss the forbidden fruit to Eve and tell her to eat it; he made her think of eating it first. Control your thoughts, thinking of good things. "Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things" (Philippians 4:8).
  5. Move your focus to Jesus. This often works best for me when facing bad thoughts or evil desires. I think of Jesus and engage him in a conversation or go out for a little stroll with him. It is tough to be hateful or horny when Jesus is on your mind. Try it!
  6. There is a genuine danger that you might turn tempter yourself in a situation like this. It helps to remember then the words of Jesus: "If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea" (Matthew 18:6). The little ones aren't tiny tots, they are the children of God.

Option (d) is the one most often exercised, with people justifying their sins by claiming "weakness" and then saying that God will condone their sins because he "understands their weaknesses.” There is immense danger in this theory; we jeopardize salvation.

Option (d) usually leads to option (a), especially in "throw-away" cultures. Buying a new appliance is often cheaper than getting an old one fixed. Although it might be more expensive with a wife, what with alimony payments, some still want a newer model. However, Jesus condemns divorce. "I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery." (Matthew 19:9)

Option (c) is also frequently exercised, but Jesus is clear about this too. "But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart." (Matthew 5:28)

Option (b) is the one to go for, though it might not be easy. Many of us associate love — especially when there is attraction — with romantic/sexual activity, and it is hard for us to realize that it need not be necessarily so. It is why most people who love somebody want to have sex with them or at least some sort of physical contact, even if it is just holding hands.

There has to be a complete paradigm shift before you can obey Jesus and love one another as he has loved us. Until that happens, it might be best to follow a drastic remedy, especially if you find yourself tortured by incessant temptation: cut off all ties with the other person, at least for a time.


  1. Recognize the universality of temptation: Remember that everyone faces temptation, and you are not alone in your struggles. Draw strength from the knowledge that others have successfully resisted similar temptations.
  2. Trust in God's faithfulness: When temptation feels overwhelming, trust that God will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you can handle. Rely on his strength and the courage he provides to combat temptation.
  3. Seek God's way out: In moments of weakness, look for the way out that God has provided. Turn to prayer, Scripture, and wise counsel to help you find and follow his path of escape.
  4. Guard your thoughts: Be mindful of your thoughts, as they are the gateway to sin. When tempted, redirect your thoughts to things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and admirable, as instructed in Philippians 4:8.
  5. Focus on Jesus: When faced with temptation, shift your focus to Jesus. Engage in conversation with him, meditate on his teachings, and seek to walk closely with him. This will help you maintain a proper perspective and resist temptation.
  6. Consider the consequences: Remember that giving in to temptation can lead others astray and cause them to stumble in their faith. Consider the gravity of causing others to sin, as described in Matthew 18:6, and let this motivate you to resist temptation.

Temptation is a universal challenge every person faces, but it can be overcome with God’s help and commitment to following his ways. By recognizing the commonality of temptation, trusting in God's faithfulness, seeking his way out, guarding our thoughts, focusing on Jesus, and considering the consequences of our actions, we can resist the allure of forbidden fruit and walk in obedience to Christ. Though the journey may not be easy, God provides the strength and guidance we need to live a life that honors him.