A brand-spanking-new believer wrote to me the other day to ask how she could resist temptation. My heart jumped. How remarkable that just a few minutes into her life with Christ she should be so convicted about her lifestyle! At the same time, how remarkable those who have walked with Christ for a long time don’t experience the same conviction!
Don’t get me wrong: I’ve done stupid (aka lived my way). But I’ve also lived God’s way, and it’s infinitely better to avoid racking up regrets or living the rest of my life with the consequences of my sinful choices.
Are you struggling with temptation? If you’re not, you probably need a casket. Temptation comes in many forms: sexual sin (which extends to pornography and extramarital flirtation), addiction, greed and gluttony, to name a few. Your temptations are custom-made for you.
Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and He himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.—James 1:13-15
You can have victory over temptation using these tips straight out of God’s Word:
- Avoid situations where you’ll be tempted. This may mean avoiding specific people, specific situations or—as is often the case—both. When you’re faced with a tempting situation, run! Fast! Now! And don’t look back!
Flee immorality. Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?—1 Corinthians 6: 18-19
- Pray. When His disciples asked Him to teach them how to pray, Jesus taught them to pray against temptation. Then at the end of His life as He went to pray on the Mount of Olives to pray before being handed over to the authorities, He warned them again about the importance of praying to avoid temptation. (They later wished they had listened.) Pray daily for His help because the day you forget will be the day the enemy remembers.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.—Matthew 6:13
Pray you will not fall into temptation.—Luke 22:40
- Memorize Scripture. As children, we sometimes heard our parents’ voices warning us against getting in trouble. Maybe the voice said something like, Donna, if you go play with matches in the woods again, know it’s not going to be just your fingers that will be burning. Sometimes that’s all it would take. So it is with our Heavenly Father’s voice. His Word is surefire ammunition against yielding to sin.
How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to Your Word . . . I have hidden Your Word in my heart that I might not sin against You.—Psalm 119:9,11
- Have an accountability partner. With the flood of temptations facing us at every turn today, being held accountable is more important than ever. Be transparent with someone you trust—a godly person you someday hope to become. God may even throw in a twofer and bring physical healing.
Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.—James 5:16
- Remember Jesus knows your struggles. Don’t be ashamed to admit your struggles to Him. He knows everything about you. Not only that, He’s intimately familiar with the human experience.
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 4:15
Every time you give in to temptation, imagine you’re eating vomit.
Like a dog that returns to his vomit is a fool who repeats his folly.—Proverbs 26:11
Maybe that alone cured you. If so, you’re welcome. Now go and sin no more.