A few weeks ago, a teacher at my church did a lesson on being “threatened” by sin… the times when we get tempted. It was a great lesson and I’d like to put a few thoughts of mine on paper.
When it comes to sinning, or temptation to sin, so many times we “sit” in our sin. We assume we have will power that we don’t actually have. Then, after our mistake is made, we look back and realize, “oops, I should have known better”. It’s so easy to say “i can go to the bar, I just won’t drink” or “I’m just cussing under my breath” or “They’re just in swimsuits” or the more extreme “I’m just talking… I’m not cheating”. In the end, this only leads to trouble.
God wants to not only say no to temptation, but flee from temptation. Not only should you be free of sin, but soooo free that no one can question your sinlessness… So how can we run from temptation? There are many, many ways to do this… and too many times we don’t “go all the way”. Here are the things that have really been laid on my heart the past few days.
1 Timothy 6:11 But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness.
Immerse yourself in scripture
The power of scripture can’t be explained in any number of words, it has to be experienced… This cannot be expressed enough. I can’t count the number of times that a scripture read has directly applied to a current situation I was in.
One thing I think we should all commit to is scripture memorization. I am admittedly horrible at this. The ones I did learn, I have since forgotten. It takes a daily/weekly commitment to store sections of scripture in your heart.
Psalm 119:11 I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.
Find yourself a confidant
You need to have good friends. Everyone thinks they have them, but ask yourself, how have these friends reacted to crisis in the past? You need people that will be there, not people that will gossip.
Isolating yourself during a crisis makes you more vulnerable than you previously were. One soldier in a combatant city by himself is vulnerable and weak… but a group is strong and resilient.
I’ve been lucky to have some great friends in my life. People I can share anything, without the fear of judgement. During your darkest moments, those friends should be the people you run to. Parents can even fulfill this role, as I’m sure those of you with good parents can recall times their wisdom helped you through a situation.
But, what good do these resources do if you don’t run to them in crisis? No man, or woman, is strong enough to do the life journey on their own. God made us in a way that we need others around us… use the assets you have in your life to strengthen you and build you up.
Deal with any past history
Too many times we think we have the will power. Many of our actions, especially those reoccurring sins have some root in our life. It could be a childhood experience. It could just be that maybe we lack some self control. Trying to find that origin can also help you fight the sin.
If need be, get counseling. Many of us are too proud, especially men. But in reality, it takes more strength to admit that you have a problem and need outside help. It’s too easy to deny having any issue and to push your sin to the back of your mind.We all think we don’t need a shrink… Truth is, counseling can at least be that confidant you might not have. Nothing can leave that room, which means another level of trust and openness.
Writing this post does not mean I’m perfect. In fact, I feel I’ve been so convicted because I might be one of the worst offenders of not fully protecting myself from the temptation/sins of the world. Only through the power of Christ, his scripture, and his people is the strength available to overcome… And can you ever be TOO STRONG spiritually? I think not…
1 Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. 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.
I’ll finish with a thought I heard a few months back… God commands us to take 10% of our income and give it back to him, as part of his first fruits. Some struggle with this, some don’t. But what if 10% wasn’t just of your money, but what about 10% of your time? 2.4 hours a day… or say 1.6 hours(not including sleeping)… how much more centered, how much more fulfilling, how much easier it would be to resist a worldly moral lapse…