5 Steps To Resist Temptation
“So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! 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” (1 Corinthians 10:12,13).
Question: If you were tempted, is it possible that under certain circumstances, you might not be able to resist? It isn’t a question of whether or not you could resist; it’s simply that you know you possibly would not. At that moment, your brain would shut off and feelings would take over. You would not think about the fact what you would do could destroy your career, your marriage, your integrity. Under certain circumstances you just don’t think; you act.
Before you answer that question, you need to ponder for a moment some of the situations in which men found themselves, whose stories could have been written up in any global news source, but instead they were written in the Bible. These are the sad chronicles of men who had so much going for them but threw it away when sexual temptations presented themselves and without thinking, took the plunge.
David, of course, is foremost among them, a man described as a “man after God’s heart.” No wonder Paul wrote, “So be careful. If you are thinking, ‘Oh, I would never behave like that’–let this be a warning to you. For you too may fall into sin” (1 Corinthians 10:12, LB). These men–the ones who failed the test of temptation–are balanced by a Joseph who resisted sexual temptation.
So how does a person know whether or not he is strong enough to resist the force of what you know is wrong?
Guideline #1: Make your decision ahead of time. With resolve, you affirm, “Never, under any set of circumstances will I back down from what I know is right.” Growing up with a fear of God helps you with this decision, but committing your life to Jesus Christ with firm resolve and deciding ahead of time that you will serve Him helps you drive a stake in the ground firm enough to hold you.
As I walked to my hotel in Sydney, Australia, a girl about 20 years old started walking beside me. “Do you want a girl?” she asked. I was overnight in a city where nobody knew me. Was I tempted? I glanced at the girl and thought of my daughters. “No,” I quietly said, “I’ve got three girls: a wife and two daughters about your age.” No problem. I decided ahead of time.
Guideline #2: Don’t be at the wrong place at the wrong time. That’s part of being prepared. Curiosity is deadly. If you have to meet privately with a person of the opposite sex, take a business associate with you. Don’t be misled by thinking, “Having lunch with her is strictly business.” Keep the door of your office open. “But everybody does it.” So what? You’re not everybody and neither is the person you married.
Guideline #3: Feed your mind and soul on what builds integrity, not what destroys it. While the Internet is a powerful communication tool, it’s a cesspool of pornography and filth. Hey, nobody can stop you from doing what you want to do, but the issue is what do you want to do? Paul wrote that you are to feed your mind on what is pure, honest, of good report and so forth. Check out what he says in Philippians 4 and concentrate on expediting it. Remember as you think, so are you.
Guideline #4: Be accountable. Join a men’s or women’s group, start a weekly meeting with a few friends who care enough to ask tough questions and be honest enough to give them straight answers.
Guideline #5: Keep your spiritual life vibrant. Your relationship with the Lord–being in the Word, praying regularly, being involved in your church–forms the bulwark that keeps those within safe from the storm without. Only the fool says, “It couldn’t happen to me,” but the wise man or woman ensures it won’t happen to them.
Resource reading: 1 Corinthians 10:1-13