While watching television, I came across an advertisement for a reality show. For now, this show will remain nameless because sis over here is not trying to get sued . On this nameless show, several people banded together on an island to see how well they are able to resist temptation. Without thinking, I blurted out, “Who in the world would intentionally put themselves in a position to be tempted. That’s crazy!” At that moment, I could not fathom the sense in such an undertaking. To put it plainly, this concept felt like moral suicide.
As I contemplated the premises of this show, I’ve realized facing temptation is actually a topic we should discuss more. Hear me out! Everyone (including me) can be found in the ring with temptation daily. Whether it is being tempted to complain, to have an attitude, or start an all out war with that messy boss. Most of us would not boldly display our places of weakness as on the nameless show. Still, this does not change the fact that our weaknesses exist. It does not change the fact that many are continually walking into temptations deadly traps. Here lies the million dollar question….How can I overcome temptation?
What if I told you, there are several strategies you can implement to ensure you are able to say no to temptations plea? This notion sounds unbelievable right? Well here I am saying it anyway. As you practice these strategies, in time you will become stronger and win the fight against temptation.
Kill Temptation in Seed Form
As I continually walk with Christ, I am learning the value of creating strategies. Strategies strengthen our defense. For Instance: Suppose you knew a thief was plotting to break into your home. Would you leave the door open? I doubt it. Chances are you would create strategies on how best to keep this unwelcome guest out of your home. To do absolutely nothing, would sound absurd. I have created the same concept around facing temptation. The fact is, I know temptation is coming. Now it is time to strategize.
The first strategy I resort to when faced with temptation is to be intentional about killing it before it grows. Submitting to temptation begins in the heart. Let’s use a person who struggles with anger as an illustration. Before that person has a full on fit of rage, there was a thought in their heart to act on their hurt emotions. The first thought says to defend and tell the person that offended you… off. If there is no caution to kill that temptation to sin, chances are the offended will become angrier. Before they realize it, a whole fit of anger is displayed.
In order to kill a desire in seed form, you must shut those thoughts down with the word of God immediately….Pronto…..On sight. When a lustful thought comes in your heart, interrupt that thought. Say out loud, “My body is the temple of God.” Don’t just sit there and allow your thoughts to run wild. Fight back. Instead, if you choose to lie still, this lustful thought is being given the opportunity to develop into a desire. Desires then turn to sin. We know, sin turns into a downward spiral of destruction.
Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away. These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death.
James 1:14-15 (NLT)
Remember God is Making A Way of Escape
Have you ever heard the saying, “God will not put more on you than you can bear?” Well turns out that saying is incomplete and thus untrue. This is what the scripture really says:
The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.
1 Corinthians 10:13 (NLT)
In a nutshell, God will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you can bear. He will always be faithful to carve out an escape route before temptation becomes unbearable. The escape route is not always physical. God can also give you strategies, information, revelation, and resources so that you can withstand the temptations that surround you. You will never be left high and dry or to figure it out on your own.
In addition to this, God’s power is made perfect in your weakness. When you are weak, God is still strong. During these times of weakness, lean on His strength. As you depend on God, you will begin to gain the strength to say no to everything that is trying to control you. With God, you can turn away. Start with a made up mind. Refuse to take another step further into the cycles of temptation. Just as with anything, the more you practice, the easier it will become.
Someone once told me, “Don’t expect to walk into the lion’s den, then become angry when the lion bites you.” Unless of course you are Daniel, but that’s another story. The best way to resist temptation is to avoid it all together. Take actions to ensure you are removed from any situations of temptation. I know you will not be able to avoid every single temptation, but at least avoid the ones you can. If you have a tendency to get drunk, avoid environments where the alcohol is pouring. If you are sweet on a certain person, block the number boo. Find healthy ways to distract yourself when temptation comes. Read your Bible. Pray. Call an accountability partner. Read a book. Do the necessary in order to resist temptation.
Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
There is a beautiful promise at the end of resisting temptation. As you keep resisting temptation, eventually you will not crave those same temptations anymore. The enemy flees. Before you know it, the desire for that temptation will not even exist.
I’m not just here throwing out scriptures because it sounds good and fills up pages. My life is a real testimony that you can chase the things that once chased you. There is so much more to your life than walking into repetitive cycles. You are so much greater.
Until Next Time.
Be Strong, Be Courageous, Serve God Wholeheartedly