"Yield not to temptation, for yielding is sin…"

…goes an old hymn I remember well. But we do yield to temptation, as every dieter knows. It’s such a human trait that it’s the whole basis for the Bible–Adam yielded to temptation, and God had to send his Son to die for all our sins as a result. (That’s the short version, there’s lots of kings and judges and prophets and suchlike in between those two events.)

So why do we yield?

Turns out we have a “temptation-resistance muscle” that can be overworked just like our regular muscles–and when that happens, we’re vulnerable:

There is scientific evidence that explains this phenomenon of everyday life. Self regulation, our strength to inhibit impulses, make decisions, persist at difficult tasks, and control emotions can be spent just like a muscle that has been lifting heavy weights. When we spend our strength on one task (trying to control your emotion around a petulant boss), there is less to spend on others (avoiding the Ben & Jerry’s when we get home).

Now some researchers have found a physiological indicator of when we’re vulnerable to temptation.

Free SF idea: a technologically savvy cult that requires its members to wear a heart monitor at all times and keep careful track of their temptation-susceptibility, cloistering themselves whenever it reaches a certain point.

Permanent link to this article: https://edwardwillett.com/2007/03/yield-not-to-temptation-for-yielding-is-sin/

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