Ses'khona means "we are here" in the SiSwati language. This is Part 5 of a 10-study series about presenting Christ in the HIV/AIDS crisis. This study examines how to face temptation and how to deal with addictions. Why should we look to Jesus when struggling with addiction and temptation?
We are here...
- To look to Jesus
- To stop and care
- To reach out to those who need healing
- To challenge gender perceptions
- To face temptations and addictions
- To know sexual wholeness
- To repent from judging others
- To know the Father's forgiveness
- To cope with death and dying
- To live in the hope of ressurection
Ask two group members to share something about their first meeting with someone dying of AIDS. Think about whether it is important to safeguard the identity and confidentiality of your friendship. Pray for these friends at the start of today's reading. One challenge in responding to HIV/AIDS is how to face temptations and deal with addictions. Why should we look to Jesus when grappling with these issues? One reason is given in Hebrews 4:15-16:
"We do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are - yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need."
In light of this assurance, let's learn from Jesus.
Read Luke 4:1-13
1. What three temptations did Jesus experience? (v. 3, 5-7, and 9-11) How are they similar? How are they different?
2. a. What type of temptations and addictions do young people face today? Brainstorm with your group in two categories: "temptations" and "addictions".
b. How do these compare to the temptations Jesus faced?
3. Read again and listen carefully to Jesus' response to each temptation?
- Verse 4 (Jesus quotes from Deuteronomy 8:3)
- Verse 8 (Jesus quotes from Deuteronomy 6:13)
- Verse 12 (Jesus quotes from Deuteronomy 6:12)
a. What human needs and desires does Satan try to exploit in each temptation? b. What deeper need and desire, underneath all the human needs in these temptations, is Jesus reminding Satan and himself about? c. How does Jesus turn the experience of being tempted into an opportunity to depend more deeply on God?
4. How is this deep longing for God also linked to your temptations:
a. to quickly satisfy your sexual needs?
b. to listen to peer pressure that says "everyone is doing it"?
c. to please a boyfriend or girlfriend begging you to enjoy sex together
d. to experiment with sex, telling yourself no one will get hurt?
6. How are substance abuse and all kinds of addictive behaviour patterns also somehow connected to our deepest need for God?
7. a. What makes saying "no" so difficult when facing temptation or dealing with addiction? b. When do you struggle with temptation the most?
8. How can you adopt Jesus' holy habit of turning your thoughts to God when experiencing temptation, or struggling with addictions?
Spend ten minutes writing down a prayer that you can use in a moment of sexual temptation.
Guidelines for writing:
- Acknowledge and accept your human need for sexual intimacy before your heavenly Father.
- Remind yourself of the deeper need underneath this human need, and thank him for putting such a deep longing for himself in your heart.
- Ask the Holy Spirit to help you learn to long for God and to wait for his timing for your needs to be met.
- Thank Jesus that he is right now interceding for you before his Father's throne.
Encourage each person in your group to identify one trustworthy person (preferably older) to confide in and share personal struggles with, and from whom you will receive wise and prayerful advice. Pray for one another now to take the step of faith needed to contact that person before you next meet.
Here are further passages to read on the theme of temptation and addiction: Proverbs 7-8 (on facing sexual temptations), James 1:13-15 (how temptation and addiction lead to sin and death), 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8 (Paul encourages sexual purity), Romans 7:7-8:17 (Paul's own struggle to break addictive behaviour patterns).