We’re all tempted, we all have our struggles and often we feel like we’re the only ones ‘bad enough’ to have them. Here’s the good news: EVERYONE is tempted, EVERYONE has failed and best of all, God already has a plan.
God is so gracious – He never leaves us without an exit. Even though it doesn’t feel like it at times (which is a lie straight from the devil), there is ALWAYS a way out.
Remember that the tempatations 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 into it (1 Corinthians 10:13 NLT)
The Purpose Driven Life spoke about four biblical principles we can use as weapons in our daily struggle with temptation.
- Refocus your attention on something else. Nowhere in the bible are we told to ‘resist temptation’. We are told to ‘resist the devil’ but that is very different. Every time you try to block a thought out of your mind, you drive it deeper into your memory. By resisting it, you actually reinforce it. This is especially true with temptation. You don’t defeat temptation by fighting the feeling of it. The more you fight a feeling, the more it consumes and controls you. You strengthen it every time you think it. Ignoring a temptation is far more effective than fighting it. Once your mind is on something else, the temptation loses its power. The chapter goes on to suggest that at times we might need to leave a tempting situation eg movie theatre, gossiping group etc. It also explains that our minds are our most spiritually vulnerable organ and by memorising Bible verses we are loading bullets in our gun to shoot right back at temptation.
- 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.” (Ecc 4:9-10) Do you really want to be healed of that persistent temptation that keeps defeating you over and over? God’s solution is plain: Don’t repress it; confess it! Don’t conceal it; reveal it. Revealing your feeling is the beginning of healing.
- Resist the devil. 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.” (Eph 6:17) The first step is to accept God’s salvation. You won’t be able to say not to the devil unless you’ve said yes to Christ. Without Christ we are defenseless against the devil, but with the helmet of salvation our minds are protected by God. Remember this: if you are a believer, satan cannot force you to do anything. He can only suggest. Second, use the Word of God as your weapon against satan. Don’t ever try to argue with the devil. He’s better at arguing than you are, having had thousands of years to practice but you can use the weapons that makes him tremble – the truth of God.
- Realise your vulnerability. God never wants us to get cocky and over confident; that is a recipe for disaster. “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond care” (Jer 17:9) – that means we are good at fooling ourselves. 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.
These truths are so freeing and empowering. What is your temptation? While reading this chapter I realised I have temptations I’ve never spoken about. Some of them are so sneaky and quiet I had never realised they were there. God’s great like that – shining light on the dark places!
There is so much more wisdom in this chapter so if you’re struggling with temptation in your life, please grab a copy and read the entire chapter. Then let me know what you thought!
Thanks for reading, have a great day and if this post has meant anything to you, please leave a comment – I love hearing from you!
PLEASE NOTE: Quotations in this and other posts relating to The Purpose Driven Life (usually entitled Day:?) are sourced from The Purpose Driven Life book by Rick Warren unless otherwise stated. This is an independant study and is based on my opinion and experience only. Copies of The Purpose Driven Life book are available for purchase from all good christian books stores, including Koorong. The first seven chapters of the book can be downloaded FREE from Rick Warren’s official site here.