How do I resist temptation?
Getting out of sin and temptation has more to do with understanding who you are than about looking at what you’ve done or what you are tempted to do.
As a follow-up to last-week’s post, let’s look again at some lies that people believe about temptation and turn the tables against the tempter…
1) LIE: You are a bad person if you are tempted (or keep being tempted with things you think you should not be thinking about)
As we said, Jesus Himself, the Son of God, was tempted when He walked this earth.
We, as children of God, can be tempted. That’s normal.
Look at yourself in the mirror and say, “I’m a child of God! It doesn’t matter how much I’ve been tempted or how much I’ve given in and sinned… I’m not a bad person. I’m a child of God. God is not condemning me. Jesus paid the price for me to be free from this… and I’m going to be free!”
2) LIE: Nobody else deals with this temptation over and over again like you do…
The truth is that EVERYONE deals with temptation. The devil is not creative, he’s just persistent. he’ll spend years trying to make a person fail.
You are not a “uniquely bad” person. There’s only so many categories of bad things in this world. If you got tempted, or even sinned, don’t isolate yourself from God and others who care about you. Show up in church and sit on the front row. Smile at all the people who you think were too good to be tempted with the kinds of sin that you thought about. Realize that they were tempted, and maybe did some things wrong… it doesn’t matter, God still loves them. He still loves you.
3) LIE: The temptation is just too strong for me, so I keep giving in and sinning…
God has already made a way out for you! Look for it! Ask Him where it is!
As we said, The Lord goes with you everywhere. He said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Heb. 13:5) That means Jesus is there when you are tempted. Jesus is there when you are considering doing wrong. Jesus is there if you follow through with the temptation.
There’s no sense in playing games from the start. Just say,
“Jesus! I’m being tempted to _______.”
“Help me to not do it.”
“Show me the way of escape!”
Just realizing that Jesus is really there puts a quick damper on temptation. It’s like a person at work who is tempted to look at youtube videos on his computer instead of getting his work done. While the boss is nearby, since he knows it’s wrong, he doesn’t open the player. If he thinks no one will know, he goofs off and watches the videos.
Jesus is ALWAYS with you. His Spirit is ALWAYS in you… and He’s there to help you before you mess up — so you don’t, not to make you feel bad after you mess up.
How do I stop if I’ve already given in before?
Just practice saying “No” to the temptation once.
Don’t make an extravagant promise to “NEVER” do that again.
Plan that the “NEXT” time you are faced with that temptation, you are going to resist it. Don’t worry about the other times the enemy might tempt you with it — he will try again and again till he realizes it won’t work. But start with the next time. Once you have resisted one time, then you can stand up and say, “I am able to resist!”
When the temptation comes back again, resist that one time again — but this time you have proof that you did resist it before. If you mess up and do it, take it to the Lord, receive His prepayment of forgiveness, and start this all over again for the NEXT time the temptation comes — make a decision to resist the NEXT one.
Eventually, it will lose it’s grip on you.