We are all faced with it … temptation … and it takes you down a slippery path that not only hurts you, but it also hurts others.
In my life, I have been faced with it alot, mostly when I was younger. Not because I had all of this self-control, but because of reading God’s Word and allowing Him to speak into my life, I learned that I can do something about it before it becomes a train wreck.
How about you? What are the temptations that you struggle with? A temptation is a sin when we act upon it.
Let’s give an example: Someone has done or said something to you that was hurtful. Immediately, something comes into your mind and you unlock the door of self-control and let it slip right on out of your mouth. That’s temptation. Aw, but it didn’t do any harm, did it? Of course, to your heart and to the other person and anyone else who was witness to it.
It could be the temptation of desiring something or someone. Let’s say you are married and you see someone and you are thinking: ‘He/she is HOT!’ Now, if you continue to dwell on that and it continues where you are doing that more often, that is emotional/mental adultery. You are starting to desire, even though you may not think so or are willing to admit it … it is so.
What about the temptation to desire something someone has or what someone does? Is that harmful? Who is going to be hurt by it just by thinking about it?
God created our bodies as interconnected. That means what happens physiologically can have an impact physically. So, what you think about can manifest in a physical way … to sin.
What about the temptation to lie? That happens alot among marriages, it is very destructive. And, it is very hard to stop lie after lie after lie.
Are you there? Are you thinking about going there? Whatever the temptation is that you have, it is a slippery slope to destruction. Whatever relationships you have can be jeopardized. And, that’s human relationships.
There is one relationship that is harmed in all of this in a mighty way: your relationship with Jesus Christ!
Did you know that the average person opens their mouth to speak over 700 times per day? That’s not words per day, that’s just opening the mouth to speak!
So, how do we in this time, change the temptations? How is it possible with all of the visual and auditory stimulation present in today’s world? Is it possible for you and I to stop them just by sheer will, by sheer determination?
5 Ways to Stop Temptation
Pray, asking God to search your heart: That sounds like we must give permission! Yes, we do. He will not intrude, so yes, we must ask. If you won’t ask, then you know that there are things you should stop doing but do not want to.
Pray, asking God to point out anything that is wrong in your life: Asking God to search our heart is also giving permission to point out ungodly things in our lives. This will include physical, emotional, spiritual, visual, auditory and verbal.
Think on right things: Change your focus, change what you think about, listen to and watch. Also, read Philippians 4:6
Don’t allow yourself to desire something or someone: This is actually selfish thinking and destructive to yourself and others. It is the same thing that the devil said to Jesus: If you bow down to me, I will give you everything you desire (paraphrased).
Stop surrounding yourself with the same people: If the crowd you are hanging with is encouraging temptation, helping you with it or you are afraid to say no because you will no longer be liked, then you need to change your crowd. Remember: a real friend will not lead you in the wrong direction and they will not try to talk you into or encourage you to do something wrong. Do you have a friend such as this?
“Take control of what I say, O Lord, and keep my lips sealed. Don’t let me lust for evil things, don’t let me participate in acts of wickedness. Don’t let me share in the delicacies of those who do evil.” Psalm 141:3-4
“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.” Psalm 139:23-24
Of course, prayer should always be your first course of action along with reading God’s Word. You need both to activate together. Praying David’s prayer back to God is a good thing. Keep praying, keep believing, keep reading God’s Word.
God wants to activate change in our lives. Asking God to remove the temptation, keep you away from temptation, or change your circumstances. God wants you to ask Him to change your heart!
Change what you focus on, spend more time with God. You will find that diving deeper into God, into the center of His heart, will change your life immeasurably.
My prayer is that you will seek that change, even if you think you have no temptation. Ask God to search your heart and point out anything unrighteous, then be obedient!
What are the ways that are helpful to you to turn from temptation?