You spend nights diving into the Bible, and mornings praising God for the breath of life, the privilege of seeing another day. Sundays are reserved for church as you sing with everything within you, reminding yourself that worship without spirit is merely karaoke. The pastor speaks as every word seeps into your spirit. You give your monetary seed. You meditate on the Word daily. You are blossoming in your walk with God, and just when everything seems to be going right, you receive an unexpected yet familiar visitor at your door… temptation. You look through the peephole, contemplating whether to let “it” in or not.
We’ve all been in this situation as Christians. The hardest part about facing temptation is that it is appealing which is why it is such a challenge to reject it. Let’s be real. But as enticing as it may be, we also have the power to fight it. And I would like to provide you with some weapons and tools you can use the next time you find temptation awaiting you:
Recognize its toxicity
When it comes to sin, the cons outweigh the pros, especially long-term. They gratify the flesh, but are severely toxic to the spirit. Especially if it is a sin you used to struggle with, reflect on how it negatively impacted you. Philippians 3:8 states that, “I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage that I may gain Christ.” Trash serves no purpose other than to decay. You have to remember why you left it behind, God didn’t bring you out of it for you to return to it!
Focus on what’s ahead
You have to think of how this sin can jeopardize both your ‘mortal’ future and spiritual future. And be honest with yourself in the sense that is it really worth committing? You may think this sin will be a one-time thing where everything will be unicorns and rainbows afterwards but the Word says that a little yeast works through the whole batch of dough (Galatians 5:9). Sin provides temporary pleasure, but staying fixated on the cross provides eternal joy. After rationalizing, you’ll come to the conclusion that it is not worth it at all, it won’t add anything to your life but rather subtracts. Philippians 3:13-14 states, “Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” You are heaven-bound, keep going!
Deny the flesh
Sometimes you hear people say “I couldn’t help myself!” after giving into temptation, which really means “my flesh couldn’t help itself!” You have to compartmentalize yourself and remember that you are both flesh and spirit. Your flesh craves it, but your spirit has the power to say no! You must deny yourself and take up the cross (Matthew 16:24). Resisting sin requires prayer and warfare. God will equip you with strength, self-control, and courage. In addition, it is important to read your Bible. The more you are aligned with God, the less inclined and focused you are on sinning. Let God distract you from what distracts you from Him. Got it?
Stay away from anything which feeds into your temptation. Sometimes when we don’t want to commit the actual sin, we find ways around it which would arouse similar feelings or remind us of that sin. Let’s be reaaaal! If you know those sultry, slow jams can stimulate lust, don’t listen to them. If you know you will be vulnerable to drunkenness by going to a certain party, don’t go. We like to blame the devil, but at times we provoke ourselves to sin. Be aware of potential things, environments, even people that can motivate you to sin.
In summary, do not open the door. It is also important to remember that if you choose to open the door, God’s love for you won’t end, but just because He loves us doesn’t mean we should take advantage of His grace. Someone once told me that every time we sin, we are putting a nail into Jesus. It isn’t a guilt-trip, but a warm reminder that you were bought with a price and even though we have the luxury of being forgiven, with God we also have the power to resist and overcome sin.