YOU WERE CREATED TO BECOME LIKE CHRIST
Day 27: Defeat temptation
“Run from anything that gives you the evil thoughts… but stay close to anything that makes you want to do right” (2 Timothy 2:22)
“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” (I Corinthians 10:13)
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: We are advised to refocus our attention because resisting a thought doesn’t work. 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 a feeling, the more it consumes and controls you. You strengthen it every time you think it. 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.
Temptation begins by capturing your attention. The more you focus on “I don’t want to do this,” the stronger it draws you into its web. Ignoring a temptation is far more effective than fighting it. Once you remind is on something else, the temptation loses its power. To reduce temptation, keep your mind occupied with God’s Word and other good thoughts. You defeat bad thoughts by thinking of something better. This is the principle of replacement. You overcome evil with good. Satan can’t get your attention when your mind is preoccupied with something else.
This takes a lifetime of practice, but with the help of the Holy Spirit you can reprogram the way you think.
— 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. Some temptations are only overcome with the help of a partner who prays for you, encourages you, and holds you accountable.
“Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed” (James 5:16)
Don’t repress it; confess it! Don’t conceal it; reveal it. Revealing your feeling is the beginning of healing.
Hiding your hurt only intensifies it. Problems grow in the dark and become bigger and bigger, but when exposed to the light of truth, they shrink. You are only as sick as your secrets. So take off your mask, stop pretending you’re perfect, and walk into freedom.
“God sets himself against the proud, but he shows favor to the humble. So humble yourselves before God” (James 4:6-7a)
— Resist the devil: After we have humbled ourselves and submitted to God, we are then told to defy the Devil. We are to fight back the devil.
How can we resist the Devil?
1) The first step is to accept God’s salvation. You won’t be able to say no the Devil unless you’ve said yes to Christ. Without Christ we are defenseless against the Devil, but with “the helmet of salvation” our minds are protected by God.
2) You must use the Word of God as your weapon against Satan. Jesus modeled this when he was tempted. Every time Satan suggested a temptation, Jesus countered by quoting Scripture. There is power in God’s Word, and Satan fears it. This is why memorizing Scripture is absolutely essential to defeating temptation.
— Realize your vulnerability: God warns us never to get cocky and overconfident; that is the recipe for disaster. That means we are good at fooling ourselves. Given the right circumstances, any of us are capable of any sin.
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.
The Bible says, “Don’t be so naive and self-confident. You’re not exempt. You could fall flat on your face as easily as anyone else. Forget about self-confidence; it’s useless. Cultivate God-confidence” (I Corinthians 10:12)
Summarized from Purpose driven life written by Rick Warren