Defeating Temptation

“Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart”- 2 Timothy 2:22

“There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it”1 Corinthians 10:13 

There is always a way out. You may sometimes feel that a temptation is too overpowering for you to bear, but that’s a lie from Satan. God has promised never to allow more on you than He puts within you to handle it. He will not permit any temptation that you could not overcome. However, you must do your part too by practicing four biblical keys to defeating temptation: 

  • Refocus your attention on something else. It may surprise you that nowhere in the Bible are we told to “resist temptation”. We are told to ” resist the devil”, but that is very different. Instead, we are advised to refocus our attention because resisting a thought doesn’t work. It only intensifies our focus on the wrong thing and strengthens its allure. Every time you try to block a thought out of your mind, you drive it deeper into your memory. By resisting it, you actually reinforce it. This is especially true with temptation. You don’t defeat temptation by fighting the feeling of it. The more you fight the feeling, the more it consumes and controls you. You strengthen it every time you think it. Since temptation always begins with a thought, the quickest way to neutralize its allure is to turn your attention to something else. Don’t fight the thought, just change the channel of your mind and get interested in another idea. This is the first step in defeating temptation. 

 

  • Reveal your struggle to a Godly friend or support group. You don’t have to broadcast it  to the whole world, but you need at least one person you can honestly share your struggles with. If you’re losing the battle against a persistent bad habit, an addiction, or a temptation, and you’re stuck in a repeating cycle of good intention- failure-guilt, you will not get better on your own! You need the help of other people. Some temptations are only overcome with the help of a partner who prays for you, encourages you, and holds you accountable. God’s plan for your growth and freedom includes other Christians. Satan wants you to think that your sin and temptation are unique so you must keep them a secret. The truth is, we’re all in the same boat. We all fight the same temptations, and “all of us have sinned”

 

  • Resist the Devil. After we have humbled ourselves and submitted to God, we are then told to defy the Devil. The rest of James 4:7 says, “Resist the Devil and he will flee from you”. We don’t passively resign ourselves to his attacks. We are to fight back. Remember this: If you are a believer, Satan cannot force you to do anything. We must use the Word of God as your weapon against Satan. Jesus modeled this when He was tempted in the wilderness. Don’t ever try to argue with the Devil. Christians are often compared to soldiers serving in the enemy’s territory. If you don’t have any Bible verses memorized, you’ve got no bullets in your gun!

 

  • Realize Vulnerability.  God warns us never to get cocky and overconfident; that is the recipe for disaster. Given the right circumstances, any of us are capable of any sin. We must never let down our guard and think we’re beyond temptation. Don’t carelessly place yourself in tempting situations. Avoid them. Remember that is easier to stay out of temptation than to get out of it. 

 

Spiritually, your mind is your most vulnerable organ. To reduce temptation, keep your mind occupied with God’s Word and other good thoughts.  You defeat bad thoughts by thinking something better. Satan can’t get your attention when your mind is preoccupied with something else.!!!! 

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