This morning, we continue our study on the purpose driven life with Purpose 3 – “You were created to become like Christ”
“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 (LB)
“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.” 1 CORINTHIANS 10:13 (NLT)
THERE IS ALWAYS A WAY OUT.
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.
1) Refocus your attention on something else.
The battle for sin is won or lost in your mind. Whatever gets your attention will get you. That’s why Job said, “I made a covenant with my eyes not to look with lust upon a young woman.” And David prayed, “Keep me from paying attention to what is worthless.”
Spiritually, your mind is your most vulnerable organ. 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. That’s why the Bible repeatedly tells us to keep our minds focused: “Fix your thoughts on Jesus.” “Always think about Jesus Christ.” “Fill your minds with those things that are good and that deserve praise: things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and honorable.”
If you’re serious about defeating temptation you must manage your mind and monitor your media intake. The wisest man who ever lived warned, “Be careful how you think; your life is shaped by your thoughts.” Don’t allow trash into your mind indiscriminately. Be selective. Choose carefully what you think about. Follow Paul’s model: “We capture every thought and make it give up and obey Christ.” This takes a lifetime of practice, but with the help of the Holy Spirit you can reprogram the way you think.
2) 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. The Bible says, “You are better off to have a friend than to be all alone…. If you fall, your friend can help you up. But if you fall without having a friend nearby, you are really in trouble.”
3) Resist the Devil
After we have humbled ourselves and submitted to God, we are then told to defy the Devil. The rest of James 4:7 says, “Resist the Devil and he will flee from you.” We don’t passively resign ourselves to his attacks. We are to fight back.
The New Testament often describes the Christian life as a spiritual battle against evil forces, using war terms such as fight, conquer, strive, and overcome. Christians are often compared to soldiers serving in enemy territory. How can we resist the Devil? Paul tells us, “Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”
4) Realise your vulnerability
God warns us never to get cocky and overconfident; that is the recipe for disaster. Jeremiah said, “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure.”That means we are good at fooling ourselves. Given the right circumstances, any of us are capable of any sin. We must never let down our guard and think we’re beyond temptation.
Don’t carelessly place yourself in tempting situations. Avoid them. Remember that it 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.”
Have a great day!
Pastor Peter Jordan (Adapted from the “Purpose Driven Life” by Rick Warren)