A young man I love & admire and I had a little chat about temptation/sin & how hard it is to overcome. Just when you think you are making progress, blind side! And you fall. Again.
Something as simple as - I have a nail biting problem. Just when I think I am doing well, maybe I've go this thing licked, I don't. And I have to start again.
We have been taught that when wrong thoughts enter our heads, we need to replace them. We know that. We have small arsonal of good replacement thoughts. But somehow, sometimes we just can't quite get them going when we should.
We talked about how we need to practice, practice, practice & develop our spiritual reflexes so that our shield is up & in place blocking before we consciously realize that we are under attack. We know that it can be done. That's why soldiers and martial artists train, train, train, practice, practice practice. The moves become a natural part of them even before thought. I have experienced it with pain blocking techniques I learned for childbirth.
We also talked about testimonies, especially weak & faltering testimonies – and what to do about them. When I think of that, I think of Christ asking the disciples if they will leave him as others have. "Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life." (John 6:68) I often think that. Where else is there? There really is no where else. This is it! So let's get back in this thing, don't let it slip. We need this.
But, it is not enough to have had a witness, to have had a testimony. We have to feed, nourish & protect it. We have to keep exercising our spiritual muscles & keep practicing our spiritual drills.
Back to the childbirth thing. Preparing for childbirth, I learned & practiced breathing techniques that truly helped to block & manage pain. For a long time while not pregnant I remembered & used those techniques. Once when I was vacuuming the living room, I pulled up the foot rest of a recliner so I could vacuum under it. Suddenly I was doing labor breathing! I wondered why. So I stopped. MY FINGER HURT, THAT’S WHY! I had smashed my finger in the hinge of the footrest. My defenses were up and protecting me before I even realized the danger. Now it has been many years since childbirth (a bit over 19, nearly 20) and many years since I have thought about & practiced those techniques. If I smashed my finger now I would have to go through a whole process. OUCH!! I smashed my finger! Man, that really hurts! I don’t like this! Wish I could do something about it! Oh, yeah! I used to do that breathing thing, how did that go again? Eventually, I would get some benefit from it, but not as effectively as if I had kept in practice. Same thing with our spiritual reflexes. So, we realize we need to practice more.
The good news is that if we have let those skills or that testimony go a bit, or even a lot, we can redevelop it. We can make it strong again. With real desire and the right Help.