As I have counseled with numerous Christians I have come to realize temptation will come. I have seen temptation come in various forms such as addiction, pornography, homosexuality, and marital affairs. The enemy knows where you are the weakest and he will target those areas. If you have any areas in your life that has not be healed or exposed to the light of Jesus, satan can and often does attack in these “hidden” areas.
|Here is my go to place, the beach when I feel tempted|
and need to get alone with God. Where is your go to place
when you need to flee, run from temptation?
No matter how strong of a Christian you think you are, temptation will eventually come, and you must know your weaknesses and stand your ground. You might say,” I don’t have to worry about this because I attend church weekly, serve at church, and I have a close walk with the Lord.” That is wonderful and that means you will recognize when temptation comes and what to do when it comes. I have seen and known countless “strong” Christians fall into temptation that lead into deep sin. No Christian is immune from the temptations of satan and his cohorts. We must know what to do when temptation comes and be guarded always. This is nothing new, satan tempted Eve first in the garden and she fell for it! Temptation never comes in its purest, evilest form; instead it comes packaged with a beautiful red bow on top, ready for you to open. The only problem with this beautiful gift is that it is deceiving, once you unwrap (or fall into sin), the box or sin is empty. There is nothing in the box, satan deceived you. The enemy set you up to take the beautiful gift and once you open the box it is hard to return the gift to the sender. However, you can always send the empty box (sin) back by repenting and turning away from that sin.
Not all temptation will led to sin, however, a lot of times if you keep “looking at the beautiful box with its shiny red bow” you will eventually open the box. Turn immediately from temptation. It is not a sin to be tempted, all will be tempted, but temptation is where satan tries to get his hook into you. If satan can get you to look and gaze long enough, he will set you up and hook you into his trap and web of deceit. Now, let’s take the analogy of a fisherman who “hooks” bait on his lure to “catch fish.” Satan “hooks, lures” (tempting things/people) into your life so that you will take the “bait.” We know that when a fish is caught on a hook that hook is lodged into the fish’s throat, it is very difficult for the fish to escape now. When the fish was in the water the fish saw this “shiny, beautiful lure” and the fish was deceived into thinking it was food and the fish took the first bite and was hooked. That is what satan does to us, if he can present that “shiny, lure” (temptation), he hopes we will take the “first bite,” because when we do that we become “hooked.” How many people I have spoken with tell me, “I am hooked on pornography and I can’t stop, I just looked once.” Or I have heard, “I can’t stop this adulterous relationship, I am hooked to this person. It did not start out this way, it was innocent at first, just office flirtation, but now I can’t let them go.” Once you enter into satan’s dark world of sin, you become trapped and ensnared. Think about those words, reflect for a moment, does it appear it would be easy to disengage satan’s throws of sin once he gets you “hooked?”
Don’t think for a moment that once the “hook” goes in, satan will just release you. Let’s go back to the analogy of a fisherman who just caught a fish. The fish is hooked and when the fisherman reels the fish in, the fish fights, but the fish is hooked and is not going anywhere. If you have ever fished, you know once a fish is reeled in the fish only can be released when the fisherman unhooks the fish from the lure. If you want to be released from the “hook” first know satan will put up a fight, there may be a battle to release you and you may want to give up because the battle is difficult, but if you allow Jesus to “unhook” the sin, He can truly release you from the grips of this sin.
There are some key steps to take to OVERCOME temptation and stay away from sin:
1. FLEE. Flee, run, and get away from all situations that are tempting.
2. Choose to change your thinking. When thoughts come (and they will), replace that thought IMMEDIATELY with a faith-filled, positive thought and/or Scripture. DO NOT DWELL, PONDER on the tempting thought. The battlefield starts in your mind first! An example would be when a tempting thought comes replace immediately ( using Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy) with something like, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
3. Stay away from ALL tempting places and people. Examples: bar, casino, nightclub, seducing people, people you are attracted to, and any others that are tempting to you.
4. Be careful to guard your mind from T.V., movies, books, computer, phone (if your phone has internet), and all electronic devices. Replace these if they are a problem, place filters on electronic devices if you have to keep them, and NEVER use these devices ALONE if they are an issue for you. If you are alone in your bedroom and this is a problem for you, shut off ALL electronic devices including phone. Use these devices only when around others. I know this is difficult since we are the “age of technology.” But there is no other way. DO you TRULY want to be free?
5. Tell someone you trust, a pastor, Christian counselor, or friend. Confess your sins to one another so that you will be healed. James 5:16.
6. Confess, Repent. Cleanse yourself of all known sins so that you can be healed and receive the forgiveness that is yours in Christ. No condemnation, just God’s forgiveness of sins. That’s why He died for us!
7. Get an accountability partner if the sin is uncontrollable.
8. Read the Bible daily, pray daily and as often as needed, and worship Jesus through thanksgiving, praise, and music. This step cannot be underestimated! You cannot get rid of the temptation or sin without replacing God’s truth. The lies of the enemy have to be exposed to the truth of God’s word! You cannot skip this step!
Here are some Scriptures to reflect and meditate on. They are truth and are not from the author but from the Word of God. Do not take what I say or anyone else but what the Word of God says.
For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority. In Him you were also circumcised, in the putting off of the sinful nature, not with a circumcision done by hands of men but with the circumcision done by Christ, having been buried with Him in baptism and raised with Him through your faith in power of God, who raised Him from the dead. When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgive all your sins, having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; He took it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross. Colossians 2:9-15, NIV.
Praise Jesus! We are not prisoners of sin any longer, He nailed our sins to the cross, know the truth, the enemy cannot hold you captive if you are a born-again Christian! You can tell the enemy he has to flee from you in Jesus name!
Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness. But you know that He appeared so that He might take away our sins. And in Him is no sin. No one who lives in Him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen Him or known Him. 1 John 4:4-6, NIV.
Once again, we see that if and when we sin we have Jesus, our High Priest to take away our sins. We do not need to live bound in sin any longer.
You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred towards God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. Or do you think Scripture says without reason that the spirit he caused live in us envies intensely? But He gives us more grace. That is why the Scripture says:
“God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”
Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and He will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up. James: 4-10, NIV.
Submit to God, Flee from the devil and repent with sorrow and God will cleanse you and lift you up.
Read carefully and meditate on this Scripture from Galatians 5:16-26
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