Avoiding Temptation

God does not promise that we will never be tempted, but that when we are, He does provide a way of escape. However, there are things that we can do as a Christian to avoid unnecessary temptation. Many times temptation can be completely avoided by following these simple tips.

Pray: In the model prayer that Jesus gave to his disciples in the Sermon on the Mount, He taught them to ask God to lead them away from temptation (Matthew 6:13). A daily relationship with God in prayer is a first step to avoiding temptation. It’s hard to sin while you’re praying!

Use the Word of God: There are many good verses that will help you overcome certain temptations. Memorizing Bible verses targeted to combat your areas of temptation will be a protection and defense. 2 Corinthians 10:4-5 talk about pulling down things that get a stronghold in our life.

You need to work on memorizing a list of Bible verses that will help you avoid temptation. You can’t rely on finding a Bible at the moment of temptation. These verses have to become second nature to you.

Spend time in God’s word daily. Make it a habit. By knowing you will be confronted by the Bible in your reading tomorrow it can help you stay focused on God today.

Understand Your Personal Weaknesses: Not everyone is tempted in the same way. What is a struggle for one person may not be the least bit tempting to another person. For example one person may be tempted with smoking. For the next guy, smoking has never had a foothold on the person and therefore is not at all tempting.

James 1:14 says that we are drawn away with our own lusts. This indicates that each person has their own weak areas to deal with. You need to understand your own weakness so that you will know how to combat and avoid it.

Flee Temptation: God has promised to make a way to escape temptation. If you will look for the escape route, then you can flee the temptation. Many times this way of escape is to literally walk (or run) away. Temptation often comes when you find yourself in certain situations or places. When you recognize one of those situations it is time to pack up your stuff and get out of there. (1 Corinthians 6:18; 10:14; 1 Timothy 6:11; 2 Timothy 2:22)

Create an Accountability Network: As Christians we have direct access to God. There is no place in the Bible where we are taught that we must confess our sins to others to have forgiveness from God. However, the Bible does teach that creating accountability with someone else can help you in your struggle against temptation (James 5:16).

You do not need to go into detail with your accountability partner about about your struggles, but they do need to know how to pray for you. Find someone who is a mature Christian. Find someone who knows you, loves you, and whom you trust. Tell them that you are struggling in a certain area. Look through the Bible together finding verses that will be a help to you. Have your friend ask you occasionally how you were doing in this area. Once a week is usually often enough. Make a promise to your friend that you will not lie to them when asked about how you are doing. You only hurt yourself when you lie to the other person. Ask your friend to pray for you—not stand in judgment.

Don’t be Discouraged: You should not become complacent about your sin, but you should also not allow it to defeat you. Sin is much more serious than eating too much dessert, but allow me to make an analogy. If you are on a diet and eat an extra cookie that you were not supposed to, does it make sense to quit your diet and eat the rest of the bag? The truth is that one extra cookie is a minor thing compared to how many good choices you made the previous week. It sounds silly to quit a diet because of 100 extra calories. Yet people do it all the time.

Realize that you probably will fall to temptation on occasion, but that is no reason to quit your Christian walk. Don’t accept your sin as if it doesn’t matter, but also realize that you have a choice in your future actions.

Confess and Repent: When you fall to temptation, go to God and confess. He already knows about your sin. You are not telling Him anything that is a surprise, but for your own sake you should humble yourself before God and confess your sin. The truth is, He has already forgiven you if you’re a Christian. Going to Him in confession makes it easier for you to have clear communication with Him.

I found this information at What Christians Want to Know.

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Getting to the Point

I recently read about the effectiveness of an advertising campaign that you probably have heard about.

In the annals of US advertising history, one of the most efficient slogans ever is the California milk producers’ two-word question, “Got milk?” With that phrase, the group captured almost everyone’s attention. In surveys, the slogan was recognized by more than 90 percent of the people polled.

If “Got milk?” is so good at reminding people to drink “cow juice,” perhaps we can create some two-word slogans to remind ourselves to live more godly lives. My Sunday Bible study class is going through the book of James. While we are only into the second chapter, chapter four has some great two-liners that can help us live a godly life.

  1. Give in! James 4:7 tells us to submit to God. Our sovereign God loves us, so why not let Him run the show? Submission to God helps us resist the devil. I love the fact that when we submit to God and resist the devil, the enemy will flee from us!
  2. Get close! James 4:8 reminds us of the value of drawing near to God. It’s up to us to close the gap between us and God.One old saying is that when we feel as though God is far away, guess who moved?
  3. Clean up! James 4:8 also reminds us to make sure our hearts are clean. That happens through confessing our sins to God. It’s about being committed to purity in speech, intention, thought and deed. We are sinners by nature and by choice, which is the reason for our separation from God. So purify the heart, because our lives reflect that which is in the heart.
  4. Get down! James 4:6, 10 says we need to be humble before God, which includes viewing our sin as something to weep over. We won’t strut into the presence of God, we will come to him in humility, knowing that there is no human reason he should allow us into heaven. We come to him by his grace alone, through faith (Ephesians 2:8-9), trusting in the sacrificial death and resurrection of Christ.

Give in! Get close! Clean up! Get down! I believe James is getting to the point, and being very concise. These pairs of words may not look as good on a T-shirt as “Got milk?” but they sure will look good on us.

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A Checklist for Encouragers

The command to “encourage” others is found throughout the Bible. In 1 Thessalonians 5:11-23, Paul gives many specific examples of how we can encourage others. The end of each line is a suggestion you might consider doing to encourage someone else this week.

Build each other up: 1 Thessalonians 5:11 (Point out to someone a quality you appreciate in him or her)

Respect leaders: 1 Thessalonians 5:12 (Look for ways to cooperate with others and influence them to greater achievement)

Hold leaders in highest regard: 1 Thessalonians 5:13 (Hold back your next critical comment about those in positions of responsibility. Say “thank you” to your leaders for their efforts; pray for them regularly)

Live in peace: 1 Thessalonians 5:13 (Seek ways to get along with others)

Warn those who are lazy: 1 Thessalonians 5:14 (Challenge someone to join you in a project)

Encourage the timid: 1 Thessalonians 5:14 (Encourage those who are timid by reminding them of God’s promises; help them see themselves from God’s perspective)

Help the weak: 1 Thessalonians 5:14 (Support those who are weak by loving them and praying for them)

Be patient: 1 Thessalonians 5:14 (Think of a situation that tries your patience and plan ahead of time how you can stay calm)

Resist revenge: 1 Thessalonians 5:15 (Instead of planning to get even with those who mistreat you, do good to them)

Be joyful: 1 Thessalonians 5:16 (Remember that even in the midst of turmoil, God is in charge)

Pray continually: 1 Thessalonians 5:17 (God is always with you – talk to him)

Give thanks: 1 Thessalonians 5:18 (Make a list of all the gifts God has given you, giving thanks to God for each one)

Do not put out the Spirit’s fire: 1 Thessalonians 5:19 (Cooperate with the Spirit the next time he prompts you to participate in kingdom work)

Do not treat prophecies with contempt: 1 Thessalonians 5:20 (Receive God’s Word from those who teach it or speak His Word)

Avoid every evil: 1 Thessalonians 5:22 (Avoid situations where you will be drawn into temptation; plan your way of escape)

Count on God’s help: 1 Thessalonians 5:23 (Realize that the Christian life is to be lived not in our own strength but through God’s power)

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