Avoiding Temptation and Sin
I’ve received messages from quite a few Christians lately who admit they are struggling with doubt, temptation and sin like never before. The proliferation of false teaching and lack of commitment in the body of Christ comes as no surprise since the Bible warns us about various trials believers will face as the return of Jesus Christ draws near. As Christians, how do we avoid temptation and overcome intense times of testing?
Be Honest with Yourself and God
Some Christians are thinking and doing things they never thought they would as followers of Jesus Christ. The biggest trap of the enemy is to convince us things we know are wrong for us personally (through the conviction of the Holy Spirit and the Word) are really okay. Be honest, call it what it is. And if in doubt, don’t do it. You will always be able to find folks who will help you rationalize sin – but if you know in your heart God is telling you no, walk away and never look back.
1 John 1:5-6 says, “This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth.”
Fellowship with Balanced, Positive People
Be careful about who you let into your life. If he can, the enemy will use those closest to us to bring turmoil and confusion at every turn. And remember, no other person or thing can make you happy or complete – don’t put that burden on someone else.
1 Corinthians 15:33 says, “Do not be misled; bad company corrupts good character.”
Renew Your Mind
We must always examine our thoughts, motives and desires to make sure they line up with what God wants. Bad habits are formed over a long period of time and it takes just as long to change our behaviors. Dwell on what is good and not what is evil.
Romans 12:2 says, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
Don’t Beat Yourself up Over the Past
Once you’ve confessed your sins to God, he casts them as far as the east from the west. However, our friends, family and even other Christians love to bring up our past because it makes them feel better about their failures. Don’t give in to the temptation to hurt or punish yourself because you feel guilty about former sins; it’s really no different than the young girl who cuts herself to get relief from the emotional pain she feels.
Isaiah 43:18-19 says, “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.”
Study and Memorize the Bible
John 15:3 says, “You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you.” Studying the Bible is the most powerful thing you can do to avoid temptation and sin. The more you understand the promises of God, the more confident you will be in your ability to overcome temptation. Find and memorize passages that deal with your situation and repeat them until you believe them in your spirit.
Romans 8:31 says, “What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us?” Regardless of what others tell you, God wants you to succeed in all you do – he is for you and not against you.