The most important strategy for beating temptation is avoid it all together. Stay out of the contest. Do not even go near it. As humans we like to play with danger, to have options, and take trouble head-on, because we believe that we can always pack on more power than our opponents. Not true!
With these temptations our instincts get us into trouble. You see, temptation pits us against our own sin nature and all the powers of evil. Just look around you. Sin weakens us and compromises our ability to receive God’s favor that He wants to give us.
Ponder this thought, we would never sin if we were never tempted. Stay away from the deceptive tactics of Satan whenever possible. Eve would not have eaten the forbidden fruit if she stayed away from the forbidden tree. The same is true for us.
For example, I overcame drug addiction. And because I have decided not to smoke pot, or use any other recreational drugs, I avoid places that are prone to have drugs available; parties and friends that use drugs. Someone who has overcome drunkenness will tell you that having decided not to drink, they stay out of bars, liquor stores, and away from drinking friends.
Someone who struggles with pornography has stated that he had started pulling into an adult video store on his way home from work. It had now become a habit. He was asked “is there another route you can take to get home?” He admitted that he never considered that option, but also watched trashy shows on HBO while his wife was sleeping at night. “Do you really want to quit?“ he was asked. He answered in the affirmative. He was advised to cancel his subscription to HBO. He did, and now enjoys sleeping with his wife in peace.
When you are ready to quit something that is ruining your life, you will do whatever necessary to remove that sin. But know this, it is refreshing to know that if you ask God to help you avoid evil, He will. He is your Father and watches out for you even when you do not. Just ask Him and He will tell you where not to go.
The Bible tells us in 1 Corinthians 10:13, “13 No temptation [regardless of its source] has overtaken or enticed you that is not common to human experience [nor is any temptation unusual or beyond human resistance]; but God is faithful [to His word—He is compassionate and trustworthy], and He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability [to resist], but along with the temptation He [has in the past and is now and] will [always] provide the way out as well, so that you will be able to endure it [without yielding, and will overcome temptation with joy].”
Imagine for a minute that you are standing in front of your home and see a stranger coming up your street. He is dressed in black and walks in your direction. You notice that he is checking mailboxes and house numbers. You realize that this figure is here to do you harm, so you suck behind some bushes. A soon as the stranger finds your address, he steps up to your door and knocks.
As you watch, the door opens, and you see something remarkable. The person answering the door is Jesus.
The stranger hesitates, “Excuse me, but isn’t this the house of _____?” And he speaks your name.
Jesus replies, “As a matter of fact, it is. But My friend has asked Me to guard the door.”
The stranger tense, grinds his teeth, and seems to consider forcing his way in. Then he looks down at the hand on the knob. He sees the nail scars. He glances up at Jesus’ head and the marks left by the thorns.
And the stranger scowls as he turns away…
This is a defensive measure used by Martin Luther, the reat reformed of the sixteenth century, when he faced temptaions of all kinds. On the front lines of a spiritual awakening that wa shaking the world. Luther felt himself under constant attack. His story of Jesus answering the door of his home when temptation came calling had a specific purpose. It was his way of meditating on a powerful truth about Christ’s power to help us escape temptation. “Because He Himself [in His humanity] has suffered in being tempted, He is able to help and provide immediate assistance to those who are being tempted and exposed to suffering.” Hebrews 2:18.
This is the wonderful escape clause in 1 Corinthians 10:13. In His faithfulness, God pledges to not allow any temptation to push you beyond your ability to resist.
How do I use this? I say aloud, “This temptation to (name of sin) is not too strong for me, because my Father has limited it to what I am able to cope with right now; the truth of it is that there is a way out of this temptation, and God will not allow it to overpower me!”
You see my friend, God will help you in your temptation. He will open the way for you to escape.
If you do not already have a personal relationship with God, and desire one, why not prayer this prayer:
God I’m sorry for my sin. I turn from it right now. I thank You for sending Jesus Christ to die on the cross for my sin. Jesus, I ask You to come into my heart and life right now. Be my Lord, Savior, and friend. Help me to follow You all the days of my life as Your disciple. Thank You for forgiving me and receiving me right now. Thank You that my sin is forgiven and that I’m going to Heaven. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.
Perhaps you have strayed from Jesus Christ. You have been a prodigal son or daughter. God will forgive you right now if you will return to Him. He tells us in Scripture, “My wayward children, come back to Me and I will heal your wayward hearts” (Jeremiah 3:22, If you would like to return to God and rededicate your life to Him right now, you may want to pray like this:
God I’m sorry for my sin. I’m, sorry that I have strayed from You. I ask You to forgive me now as I repent of my sin. I don’t want to live like a prodigal any longer. Renew and revive me as I once again follow You as my God. Thank You for Your forgiveness. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.