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I tend to keep my pet tigers even closer to me. Now, before you get all concerned that I really have pet tigers roaming around my living room, let me clarify that - although one of our real-life cats is named Tiger - I am not talking about real animals here.
I'm talking about temptations. Temptations can prowl around in our lives. They seek to devour that which is good. A couple of my temptation tigers are sugary treats and time lost to technology usage (mostly Facebook and e-mail). Sometimes I'm fooled into thinking that they are just a current, temporary struggle that has popped up. Recently, however, I looked through an old notebook and saw notes about my struggling with these same tigers four years ago! It was discouraging to consider that I am still trying to tame the same tigers! I have not done well with self-control on these two issues.
We don't have to try to tame the tigers on our own. We can enlist a team to help us. Get some accountability with others who will support you and ask you the hard questions that you don't want to answer (i.e., Did you avoid eating sweets today? How long did you spend on Facebook this week?). They need to be tough - tough on you to spur you onward and motivate you, and tough on the temptation tigers, to push them back so they no longer threaten you. If I am completely honest with you, I have avoided accountability because I don't want to be told 'no' when I selfishly decide that I want to eat those sweet treats, or I want to get on Facebook and read "just a few more." Well, maybe this is a very good reason why I have not been successful for over four years!
We also would benefit from the skills of a trainer. A trainer has experience. They have worked with the tigers before and know how to deal with them. I'd like to work with a trainer who has been successful at overcoming the tigers, too. You know that's what Jesus did, right?
Hebrews 4:15 - For 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.
Hebrews 2:18 - Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.
1 Corinthians 10:13 - No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. 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 stand up under it.
So, how do you contact your trainer and get him to help you tame your tigers? You need to spend time with him and develop a relationship with him. It's not that he doesn't know you or know how to work with you and your tigers; it's that you need to get on the same page with him and trust him to help you. You need to learn how to follow his lead and go along with his plan, even if it doesn't make sense to you at the time. Talk to him and be honest with him in your prayers. Tell him how you feel about your tigers and how hard you think the taming process will be. Sit still in his presence and let him communicate to you - he is with you and will help you; have peace and trust in him; there is nothing that he cannot handle - nothing is impossible for him. As you develop your relationship with your trainer, you will learn how to tame you tigers and develop the confidence to put the plan into action, even if the plan is revealed to you only one step at a time.
One resource you might consider is Made to Crave by Lysa TerKeurst. I am at the end of a 21-day online devotional on this subject by her and it has made me want to buy the book (or devotional, or Bible study...). The main topic has been about food issues, but it is definitely applicable for other issues.
Even better than just trying to "tame" our temptation tigers would be to cage them up and send them away from us! "You cannot take the wild from a tiger. You can put 'em in your living room, you can put 'em in your bathroom, you can put 'em in your backyard, but a tiger is a tiger is a tiger. They are wild animals, and they could kill you," (Monique Woodard, founder of Exotic Cat Refuge and Wildlife Orphanage).
Our temptations don't just need to be tamed to be kept around and coddled or petted! They need to be cast away from us! There is no way they can turn against us if we have removed them from our lives! Now, I know some temptation tigers cannot be removed and we need to know how to have self-control to resist their dangerous advances.
So, what tigers are you needing to tame? Is it time to talk to the Trainer and listen to what He wants to tell you? Is it time to take that first step - or, like me, take a step again? Maybe your tigers don't need just tamed - maybe they need to be caged and removed completely from your life. Either way, let's get control of some tigers!
- Gibson, London. "Tigers are endangered in Asia, but in Texas they're backyard pets." Austin American Statesman. Cox Media Group, 30 April 2018. Web. 03 May 2018.
- HeroViral Team. "Tiger Cub on a Leash Found Wandering the Streets of Texas." HeroViral. HeroViral/Correlate Pte Ltd, Undated. Web. 04 May 2018.
- Holy Bible, New International Version. East Brunswick: International Bible Society, 1978. Print.
- Macatee, Rebecca. "Why a Pet Tiger is Never, Ever, Ever a Good Idea." Across America Patch. Patch Media, 13 January 2017. Web. 15 May 2018. https://patch.com/new-jersey/bernardsville-bedminster/why-pet-tiger-never-ever-ever-good-idea.
- Wise, Lindsay. "Dangerous exotic animals make home in Texas." Houston Chronicle. Hearst Corporation, 19 March 2012. Web. 4 May 2018.