Monday, April 1, 2013

The Purpose Driven Life - Day 27

Day 27 - Defeating Temptation

'God never gives us more than we can handle.'  Most of us have heard this saying before, therefore we know that if we believe it to be true, than we must also believe that we have the strength to defeat any temptation.  

Today's lesson teaches that this is true, however, we cannot just sit back and say simply think that alone will stop temptation from getting us.  We have work to do! 

Here we will learn the four Biblical keys to defeating temptation:

Refocusing your attention on something else!
Seems pretty cut and dry - right?  Well, perhaps it is. However, it may not always be easy to do.  First we need to learn the difference between refocusing our attention vs. ignoring the temptation.  How many of us have been on yet another diet and find ourselves tempted by a commercial for some type of food.  A cheeseburger, a bag of chips, a cake ... and we tell ourselves, "I will not eat, I will not eat, I WILL NOT EAT!!" ... and before you know it, you are in the kitchen making grilled cheese sandwiches at midnight! (Not that I am speaking from experience here ;-) )  The problem is that we try to trick our mind, depending on willpower and resolutions, which simply - frankly, do not work!  

Instead, we need to refocus our attention.  When you feel the urge to eat - or smoke - or cheat - or "fill in sin here" ... we need to get up .... turn off the TV - or remove yourself from the temptation outlet ... and do something else! Wash the dishes, take the dog for a walk, make the bed, sweep the floor, wash your hair, do a crossword puzzle, phone a friend, read EnchantedEssence. (Shameless plug! lol)  Something - anything that will redirect the mind from the tempting through - the impulse - to something productive that will not harm you and you will not regret five minutes after it's over.

Reveal your struggle to a Godly friend or support group.
We know that there is strength in numbers.  My mom use to example this with pencils. Taking one and breaking it in half - then taking a group of pencils and demonstrating how much more difficult they were to break.  This was usually done when she would lecture about us siblings sticking together.  The same principal applies when you are struggling with temptations and habits you are trying to break. When you confide in a friend, you now are accountable. You have someone to pray for you. Someone to pick you up when you stumble. Someone to call when you are feeling weak.  You are only as sick as your secrets. When you find someone you can trust to share your weaknesses with - this in and of itself empowers you to do better. To be stronger!  The truth of the matter is that whatever you cannot talk about is already controlling your life!

Resist the Devil
You will not be able to say NO to the Devil until you have said YES to Christ. So, the first step here is to accept God's salvation. Without the Lord we are defenseless against Satan.  If you believe, if you walk with Christ, then Satan cannot touch you!

Secondly, you must use your best tool - God's Word to defeat Satan. Jesus used scripture to counter the Devil's temptations. There was no arguing or bargaining ... no out smarting ... don't ever try to conversate with Satan - it will not work.  Your best weapon is the Word of God.  The Devil hates this. In fact, he fears it! 

Pastor Rick issues a challenge that if you do not have scripture memorized - know that you are unarmed, and so, he invites you to memorize one verse per week - for the rest of your life.  You then will not only have the Word of God with you - you will know and understand which verses are suitable for which situations. 

Realize your vulnerability.
This simply means that we need to heed God's warning to not ever be cocky or overconfident, for this is a recipe for disaster. The mind is a tricky thing and we can easily be fooled by our own mind. "I've got this!" ..... NO, you don't!  The fact is that any of us are capable of sin. And none of us are beyond temptation.

My favorite quote of the day is this. "Remember that it is easier to stay out of temptation than to get out of it." 

The Bible says: "Don't be so naive and self-confident. You're not exempt. You could fall flat on your face as easily as anyone else. Forget about self-confidence; it's useless. Cultivate God-confidence."

"God is faithful. He will keep the temptation from becoming so strong that you can't stand up against it. When you are tempted, He will show you a way out so that you will not give in to it." - 1 Corinthians 10:13B (NLT)