RESPONDING WHEN TEMPTATION STRIKES
No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.
There was an old toaster in our dormitory kitchen that caused problems. Regardless of the setting, it burned the bread and the smoke would set off the fire alarm for the entire building. This happened twice in one semester, including the time when the entire dormitory was evacuated (this was after midnight, and yes it was my toast). Instead of dealing with the issue of the broken toaster, we continued to use it. Are you seeing any parallels with handling temptation?
As a pastor, I’ve had many people tell me that they have struggled to avoid viewing internet pornography and are not sure how to handle this temptation. What are the underlying reasons why pornography is addicting for some people? Is there any way out? Across the nation, there is heartache in many marriages as a result of this danger.
Deciding to have an extramarital affair is another destructive choice that is unfortunately eroding many marriages. What does the Bible say about resisting? There is a key principle when it comes to sexual temptation—Run! Don’t go near it. Don’t try to see how much you can handle.
Don’t come up with excuses, just quickly run away from it. When it comes to sexual temptations, it is best to avoid them altogether. Choosing purity might mean that you take a radical step like getting rid of your computer. Or it could mean that you only use the computer when other people are in the room. Some people have decided to only use their computer during the day as the temptation usually happens late at night.
You might need to distance yourself from someone who is a potential threat to your marriage
. The solution might involve accountability and some limits. Avoiding the situations that are most tempting to you is a wise first step. For some people, counseling and support groups can be extremely helpful in overcoming addictions. Do you know that God exhibits His incredible sustaining power by promising you a way out of every temptation?
When I read this verse, it reminds me that God is incredibly faithful and gracious! I picture a huge exit sign and God is pointing towards it. With His help, you can truly escape any temptation. What does the way out usually look like in your everyday life?
What else helps when you are in the heat of the temptation?
1) Prayer: In Matthew 6:13 Jesus says that we should ask God to help lead us away from temptation and to deliver us from the evil one and his traps.
2) Use The Word: In Matthew chapter 4, Jesus is tempted three times. Each time He is tempted, he quotes a Bible verse. He is doing this to show us that the Word of God is powerful. Read Ephesians chapter 6. Here we learn the Bible is a weapon we can use to fight off temptations and lies.
3) Good Decisions: With all of our heart, begin to seek God. James tells us that if we resist the devil, he will flee from us. Set boundaries. And if we draw near to God, He will draw near to us (James 4:7-8).
It is not wrong to be tempted. Temptation is the enticement. Even Jesus was tempted. But when we are tempted, God has given us a way out, so that we can be free from it. We don’t have to be locked in an unhealthy, sinful pattern. God has power for us to break out of it. God wants us to use His gracious exit when we are tempted.
1) What intense temptations are you facing?
3) What have you learned about handling temptation?
4) How will you start using God’s power to overcome these traps?
Ephesians 6:10-20. You can prevail in the spiritual battles— God empowers you.
Psalm 119:9-11. Purity is a realistic option: choose God’s best for your life.
Matthew 4:1-11. Jesus quoted Bible verses when He was tempted; it works.
Merciful God, thank You that You are always with me even when I am tempted by this world. I know You never tempt me, but instead You help me out of trouble. I want to apply Your Word and use it to overcome the attraction of sin. I know You always give me a way out with every temptation. Please help me to take You up on Your offer and resist what is wrong. I pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.
For more from Pastor Jesse Bradley and Activate Media Ministries, visit www.activatelife.org