A man who heard me speak on marriage decided to apply my suggestion that men use every instance of sexual temptation as an opportunity to actively do something honouring for their wives. In other words, let temptation be a reminder to pay attention to their marriages.

Pay attention to your marriage

In this case, the advice served him well. One day, when he arrived home from work earlier than usual, his wife was still out running errands. Normally, this would be a time when the temptation to look at pornography might become intense.

Remembering what I had said, he decided to take on a chore that his wife normally did: he mowed the lawn. Instead of logging onto his computer to search for images of other women, he served his wife.

When his wife got home and saw him putting away the lawn mower, she was shocked: "What’s going on?" she asked.

"I got home early and saw that the lawn hadn’t been mowed. I figured you were busy, and thought I’d help you out."

She hugged him like she meant it – for maybe the first time in weeks.

"I can’t believe how much difference it made just doing that one simple thing," he told me later.

The cost of sin

Sometimes, people talk about "giving up" sin, as if doing so is a loss. In fact, there’s a huge cost of sin, in terms of what it takes away from us. Most of us are busy. When we cultivate any sin that consumes our time, something else has to die: opportunities are lost, relationships are neglected.

What is your sin keeping you from? What is it costing you? Instead of focusing simply on not doing that sin, why not use the temptation as a reminder to perform an act of love and service to your spouse? Do someone’s chore. Write a note of appreciation. Pick out an unexpected gift. Send an email or text to someone you love.

Never pass up an opportunity to turn temptation into an act of love.

Gary Thomas is the founder and director of the Center for Evangelical Spirituality, a writing and speaking ministry that integrates Scripture, church history and the Christian classics. He is the author of many books, including Sacred Marriage, Sacred Parenting, Cherish, The Sacred Search and A Lifelong Love.

© 2009 Focus on the Family (Canada) Association. All rights reserved.

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