In cartoons and movies, temptation arrives in obvious forms: a small, persuasive red devil on one’s shoulder or a sexy soundtrack that cues the viewer into the seduction that’s about to play out on screen.
But in real life, temptation is usually much less obvious. It can sneak right up on us. No danger sign flashes, no alarm belts out, “Warning! Warning! Warning!” In fact, the temptations that are most alluring are usually the ones that seem both good and justifiable to us. We’re often blind to them, unable to recognize them for what they really are, because they’re custom-made by the Enemy to align directly with our own weaknesses.
Temptation often preys upon areas of our life in which we are not satisfied. It feeds upon our tendency toward discontentment. When we feel restless or frustrated or like part of our life is lacking in some way, that dissatisfaction can serve as a wide open door for an appealing temptation to walk right in and even be welcomed by us rather than battled.
So how can we battle those subtle temptations? Along with weapons like prayer, accountability, and Scripture, we can fight them by subtle, less obvious means.
• Cultivate contentment. “Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,” wrote pastor Robert Robinson in his famous hymn. We each have a wanderlust of the heart that—when dissatisfied or bored—seeks excitement, newness, or whatever seems like it might finally satisfy. Instead, even when situations or relationships are dissatisfying in our lives, we can strengthen our ability to resist inevitable temptation by learning to be content in whatever circumstances we face.