We all face temptations of many kinds. God wants us to beat them. We don’t have to sin, as powerful as temptations feel. Here are 8 ways to gain the victory.
1. Pray before you are tempted
Jesus instructed his disciples to ask God to pray, “Lead us not into temptation and deliver us from evil.” And as he told us to pray, “Give us THIS DAY our daily bread”, it’s good to ask God to deliver us from temptation and evil THIS DAY.
2. Flee. A good run is better than a bad fall.
Stay as far away sin as you can. Don’t think you won’t fall. If you hired someone to transport your most valuable possessions, you wouldn’t tell them to see how close to the edge of a cliff they could drive. In Proverbs 7 a “young man lacking sense” wanders near the house of an woman at twilight, and just happens to run into her. She’s dressed sensually. She says her husband’s gone and describes her perfumed bed. Eventually he follows her like an ox going to slaughter. Eve got into trouble by engaging with Satan and looking at the how delicious the fruit looked. Flee temptation. Stay out of the car in the park in the dark.
3. Quote Scripture
That’s how Jesus overcame the tempter. When you feel like grumbling remind yourself to, “Rejoice always.” When tempted to give a harsh reply think, “A gentle answer turns away wrath.” When rankling against correction remind yourself, “God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Of course to quote Scripture when tempted means we must know it first, which means we must regularly take it in.
4. Pray in the midst of temptation.
Draw near to the throne of grace for help in time of need. Your sympathetic high priest who was tempted as you are yet without sin will help you. (Heb 4).
5. Get a brother or sister to pray with you.
Ecclesiastes 4:12 says, “Though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him a threefold cord is not quickly broken.”
6. Ask someone to hold you accountable.
A friend once said to me, “Mark, when I get back from my business trip this week, can you ask me if I watched TV in the hotel room? When I’m alone on trips I can be tempted to watch bad stuff. Knowing you are going to ask me will help me fight temptation.”
7. Remember God’s faithfulness.
“God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it” (1 CO 10:13). God will never let us be tempted beyond the strength he gives and if we ask he’ll “provide the way of escape” to get us through it.
8. Remind yourself that sin has consequences.
Remember Galatians 6:7: “Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap.”
When David committed adultery with Bathsheba and arranged for her husband’s death, God forgave him, but told him the sword would never depart from his house, that his own family members would do him great harm and the child he conceived with Bathsheba would die. (2 Sa 12: 10-14).
So here’s a quick summary:
Pray before you are tempted
Pray in the midst of temptation
Get a brother or sister to pray with you
Ask someone to hold you accountable
Remember God’s faithfulness
Remind yourself that sin has consequences
Keep fighting the good fight!