Remember that the temptations that come into your life aren’t any different that 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 in to it. -1 Corinthians 10:13
There is always a way out.
-Refocusing your attention on something else. Because resisting a thought doesn’t work, it only intensifies our focus on the wrong thing & strengthens its allure. By resisting it, we actually reinforce it. The more we fight a feeling, the more it consumes & controls us. We strengthen it every time we think it.
The battle for sin is won or lost in our minds. Whatever gets our attention will get us. It’s a self defeating strategy to repeat “I must stop eating too much…stop smoking…stop lusting” because it keeps us focused on what we don’t want. We are setting ourselves up to repeat it. Temptation begins by capturing our attention, then arousing our emotions—the more we focus on “I don’t want this”, the stronger it draws us into its web.
Ignoring a temptation is far more effective than fighting it—because once our minds are on something else, the temptation loses its power. Sometimes this means leaving a tempting situation. If we want to be serious about defeating temptation, we must manage our mind: “Be careful how you think; your life is shaped by your thoughts”. Be selective, choosing carefully what we think about.
-Reveal your struggle to a godly friend or support group. Some temptations are only overcome with the help of a partner who prays for us, encourages us, & holds us accountable. Warren asks, Do we really want to be healed of that persistent temptation that keeps defeating us over & over? Don’t repress it, confess it! Don’t conceal it; reveal it. Revealing our feelings is the beginning of healing. Hiding our hurt only intensifies it, problems grow in the dark & become bigger—when exposed to the light of truth, they shrink. So let’s take off our masks, stop pretending we are perfect, and walk into freedom. We all fight the same temptations, “all of us have sinned”. Millions have felt our feelings, faced the same struggles we face now.
The truth is whatever we can’t talk about is already out of control in our lives: problems w/our finances, marriage, kids, thoughts, sexuality, secret habits, or anything else. If we could handle it on our own, we would have done so already—but we can’t. Willpower & personal resolution isn’t enough. Some problems are too ingrained, too habitual, too big to solve on our own. We need a small group or an accountability partner to encourage & support us, pray for us, love us, hold us accountable—then we can do the same for them.
When this happens, we experience great relief & liberation, the pressure valve is released & we see a glimmer of hope for our future.
Warren asks us a tough question—What are we pretending isn’t a problem in our lives? What are we afraid to talk about? We aren’t going to solve it on our own. It may be humbling to admit our weaknesses to others, but lack of humility is the very thing that keeps us from getting better.
-Resist the Devil. By taking the first step, & accepting God’s salvation. If we are believers, Satan can’t force us to do anything—he can only suggest. Secondly, we must use God’s Word as our weapon against Satan. There is power in His Word, & Satan fears it. Warren challenges us to memorize one verse a week for the rest of our lives, to make us stronger.
-Realize our vulnerability. God warns us to never get overconfident because we are then fooling ourselves. Given the right circumstances, any of us are capable of sin. We must never let down our guard & think we’re beyond temptation. Don’t carelessly place yourself in tempting situations—avoid them. It is easier to stay out of temptation than to get out of it.
Question to Consider: Who could I ask to be a spiritual partner to help me defeat a persistent temptation by praying for me?
My spiritual partners are within this group, and I am thankful for them–I am there for them also. All Warren discusses in this chapter are on the mark—all is applicable in our daily temptations, as in my never-ending battle w/losing weight, and instilling his steps have had immediate effects. I must remember to instill them with the even more difficult temptations that affect my spirituality & faith in God—remembering I am never beyond temptation.
* We will be writing about what inspires us from each consecutive chapter of Warren’s Purpose Driven Life. If you read along with us, please share your inspirations. There’s no need to catch up, just jump right in.