Everyone encounters temptation, and Christians are certainly not immune. Our enemy knows what we are especially tempted by, and attacks us specifically in those areas. That is why we seem to be bombarded by certain temptations, while not others.
So what do we do to help avoid temptations, and resist the ones that come?
A strong prayer life is essential to the Christian walk and no place more than in the area of temptation. We need to develop a routine of daily prayer. Set aside a time specifically for prayer, and stop throughout the day to pray other times when we have moments of temptations.
In Jesus model prayer in Luke 11, He told us to pray that we might not be tempted.
Luke 11:4 … “do not lead us into temptation.”
He also told His disciples, prior to His arrest in Luke 22:40 and again in Luke 22:46, when they were tempted to sleep in the Garden of Gethsemane, “pray that you do not come into temptation.” He knew that in their own strength they would stumble, but in the power of the Holy Spirit they could endure the temptation to sleep.
Sadly, we know all too well, that prayers to avoid temptation, will not spare us from all temptation. We must also be diligent in avoiding areas of temptation. Be deliberate when using a computer, smartphone, watching television or when out in public. Know the websites you need to stay away from, install a filter on your PC and phone. Don’t subscribe to channels that have shows and movies that are not “family friendly”. Don’t take that second glance at an attractive woman you pass on the street. All these things sound obvious and simple, but do we do them?
Flee temptation when it comes. Despite our best efforts of avoiding temptations, they will come. We need to identify the temptation and flee immediately before it takes hold of us. Click off of that website, change the channel, or better yet just turn off the PC or TV.
Meditate on the Word of God instead of surfing the internet, or channel surfing.
John 14:15 … “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.
Galatians 5:16 … But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.
James 4:17 … So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.
Matthew 4:4 … ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’
2 Timothy 3:16-17 … All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.
HALT!! We are most vulnerable to temptation when we fall into one of four categories. Hungry, Angry, Lonely, and Tired. This has been proven by scientific studies, in various areas of addiction. People will often fall from sobriety when they are hungry, angry, lonely, or tired, because their ability to fight temptations is weakened in these conditions. If your body/mind is telling you that you are hungry, angry, lonely, or tired, give yourself what you need.
God’s desire is for us to be free from sin, so much so that He sent His Son to die a humiliating death in our place. So if He would go to that length to break sins power on us, wouldn’t He provide us the strength to enjoy freedom from sin?
Finally, it is key that we understand that while we cannot live a life that is totally free from sin, we can enjoy so much more freedom than we currently are enjoying. We need to remind ourselves day by day, and moment by moment the words that the great Apostle Paul wrote to the saints in Rome.