C.S. Lewis in his book, Mere Christianity, makes the case that resisting temptation is not easy for Christians:
A silly idea is current that good people do not know what temptation means. This is an obvious lie. Only those who try to resist temptation know how strong it is... A man who gives in to temptation after five minutes simply does not know what it would have been like an hour later. That is why bad people, in one sense, know very little about badness. They have lived a sheltered life by always giving in.
Being tempted does not mean that you have sinned, nor does it mean that you will. Jesus' temptations Luke 4:1-14) are proof that one is not sinning when he/she is being tempted. It is important, however, to have strategies for dealing with all the temptations we will face in our lives. There are practical ways to deal with temptations that will leave each of us feeling better about ourselves without having to deal with the aftermath of guilt.
Stay away from Situations That Make Us Vulnerable
We must stay away from people and situations that will cause us to compromise our convictions. Will Rogers was right when he said, "The road to success is dotted with many tempting parking spaces." Keeping ourselves out of parking spaces that will affect our vulnerability is crucial for our success in saying no to whatever is tempting us.
Pray Throughout the Temptation
Take Temptation Seriously
Temptation is serious. It must never be taken lightly. It is important to resist any desire that would rob our relationship with God, Jesus, and Spirit. Jesus' brother James reminds us of the ultimate outcome of temptation when we choose to go with our sinful desires:
Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away. These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death (James 1:14-15 NLT)
James also teaches us how to resist these temptations:
Submit yourselves, then to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you... (James 4:7-8).The moment we let our guard down, is the very moment we become vulnerable and more likely we give in to the temptation. Temptation is serious and we must choose to draw near to God for help.
While it is extremely important to read and know Scripture, to pray for God's help, and to resist temptation's pull, we need human help. We all need someone who we will let hold us accountable. Someone who will be "straight up" and honest with us and our life as Jesus' disciple. We need to know this person has our best interest at heart. And, we need to invite them to help us with our temptations. At the same time, we must stay focused on God's will and stay away from those things that will harm us! We must never keep God out of any part of life! We need to keep Jesus on the center stage of our hearts. We must allow the Holy Spirit to do the convincing that God's way is the right way and help us stay far away from what could tempt us to do wrong.
Remember, be God Controlled!
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