We grow up learning about Eve being tempted in the Garden (Gen. 3:1–7) and Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness (Matt. 4:1–11). Maybe we’ve often repeated the Lord’s prayer that states, “Lead us not into temptation” (Matt. 6:13).
Temptation presents itself in various forms, and different things tempt us differently. For me, the sexual temptations that came along with dating proved to be my hardest struggle. More about that in a minute, but first I want to give a few important reminders about temptation in general.
Temptation: Two Truths to Remember
The verse below is well known when it comes to temptation, and if you skim over it, you can miss two important truths.
No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it (1 Cor. 10:13).
Did you catch the two truths?
1. Everyone struggles with temptation.
Sometimes you may feel like you are the only one who struggles with your temptation. This can make you feel isolated from others, making room for the enemy to wreak havoc on your heart and life. This verse assures us we are not alone in our struggles.
2. We cannot resist temptation without God.
God allows us to be tempted, and Satan ultimately uses temptation to pull us away from the good and pure life to which God calls us. However, this verse assures us that God will always provide a way out. With His strength, the temptation victory can be ours. (For more on this verse, check out this post from our archives, “Look for the Little Door”).
Avoiding Temptation in Dating Relationships
Now what about the specific temptations that come with dating? Here are a few lessons I’ve learned along the way.
Along with God’s help, there are practical safeguards we can set up to avoid temptation. Romans 13:14 reminds us of this. It states, “But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.” This verse warns to not “make a provision” or provide a way for our sinful desires.
This proved especially important in my dating relationships. As I mentioned earlier, the temptations and lusts that came along with dating were extremely tempting for me as a teenager. For this reason, I wanted to share three concrete ways to help avoid temptation in this type of relationship that will hopefully help you if you also struggle in this area.
1. Stay in the light.
With me, there is something about darkness that invites sinful thoughts into my mind. At times darkness can also make us feel like our sinful activities can be hidden or that we won’t get caught. Making sure wherever you are has adequate lighting helps you avoid the thoughts and actions that can come from being in the dark.
2. Being in public is best.
Being alone invites temptation and trouble. Anytime you are with a crush or boyfriend, make sure it is in public. This dials down the temptation factor significantly.
3. Plan your time effectively.
As much as possible, do not leave time gaps on dates. It will likely leave you alone together, which is what you’re trying to avoid. If you’re on a date to the movies and it ends earlier than anticipated, either go get ice cream or have him go ahead and take you home. Leaving time gaps opens the door for temptation.
We need God to help us with temptation, but there are also practical actions we can take to help avoid tempting situations. With God’s help, we can keep our lives virtually free of unnecessary heartache and bad decisions.
Do you ever feel alone in your temptation? Are there other practical ways you can suggest to avoid it?