Temptation is something we all face as Christians, no matter how long we have been following Christ. But there are a few practical things we can do to grow stronger and smarter in our struggle against sin. We can learn how to overcome temptation by practicing these five steps.
5 PRACTICES TO RESIST TEMPTATION AND GROW STRONGER
1. RECOGNIZE YOUR TENDENCY TO SIN
James 1:14 explains that we are tempted when we become enticed by our own natural desires.
The first step toward overcoming temptation is to recognize the human tendency to be seduced by our own fleshly desires.
Temptation to sin is a given, so don’t be surprised by it. Expect to be tempted daily, and be prepared for it.
2. FLEE FROM TEMPTATION
The New Living Translation of 1 Corinthians 10:13 is easy to understand and apply:
But remember that the temptations that come into your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will keep the temptation from becoming so strong that you can’t stand up against it. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you will not give in to it.
When you come face to face with temptation, look for the way out—the way of escape—that God has promised. Then skedaddle. Flee. Run as fast as you can.
3. RESIST TEMPTATION WITH THE WORD OF TRUTH
Hebrews 4:12 says that God’s Word is living and active. Did you know you can carry a weapon that will make your thoughts obey Jesus Christ?
If you don’t believe me, read 2 Corinthians 10:4-5 One of these weapons is the Word of God.
Jesus overcame the devil’s temptations in the wilderness with the Word of God. If it worked for him, it will work for us. And because Jesus was fully human, he is able to identify with our struggles and give us the exact help we need to resist temptation.
While it can be helpful to read God’s Word when you’re being tempted, sometimes that’s not practical. Even better is to practice reading the Bible daily so that eventually you have so much of it on the inside, you are ready whenever temptation comes.
If you are reading through the Bible regularly, you will have the full counsel of God at your disposal. You will start to have the mind of Christ. So when temptation comes knocking, all you’ll have to do is draw your weapon, aim, and fire.
4. REFOCUS YOUR MIND AND HEART WITH PRAISE
How often have you been tempted to sin when your heart and mind were fully concentrated on worshiping the Lord? I’m guessing your answer is never.
Praising God takes our focus off of self and puts it on God. You may not be strong enough to resist temptation on your own, but as you focus on God, he will inhabit your praises. He will give you the strength to resist and walk away from the temptation.
May I suggest Psalm 147 as a good place to start?
5. REPENT QUICKLY WHEN YOU FAIL
In several places, the Bible tells us the best way to resist temptation is to flee from it (1 Corinthians 6:18; 1 Corinthians 10:14; 1 Timothy 6:11; 2 Timothy 2:22). Yet still, we fall from time to time.
When we fail to flee from temptation, inevitably we fall.
Notice I didn’t say, repent quickly if you fail. Having a more realistic view—knowing that at times you will fail—should help you to repent quickly when you do fall.
Failing is not the end of the world, but it is dangerous to persist in your sin. Going back to James 1, verse 15 explains that sin “when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.”
Continuing in sin leads to spiritual death, and often even physical death. That is why it’s best to repent quickly when you know you’ve fallen into sin.
A FEW MORE TIPS
Try this Prayer for Dealing with Temptation.
Choose a Bible Reading Plan.
Develop a Christian Friendship—Someone to Call When You’re Feeling Tempted.
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