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Tempted? – 5 tips to DEAL WITH IT

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Keep my commands and you will live; guard my teachings as the apple of your eye. Proverbs 7:2

Allyna found herself in a precarious situation after accepting a seemingly innocent invitation. It was just a few friends getting together and hanging out. You know, everyone bringing their favorite side to accompany the delicious brats provided by the host and hostess. She was told playing cards, pitching washers, and taking in a movie was the laid-back agenda. She didn’t know everyone invited but assumed the best. It wasn’t long into the party until the atmosphere got smoky in more ways than brats cooking on the grill. Drugs, alcohol, and advances by a few unknown male guests cranked up quickly. Not only that but it seems the movie might fall into the category of X-rated. She wondered how she ended up in a night filled with temptations and a lack of bravery to leave on her part. She didn’t set out for this to happen. This was never her intentions for the evening.

Most of us would agree, when temptation rears its ugly head, it was never our intention for it to happen. Yes, there are times we intentionally plan to participate but, most of the time temptations catch us off-guard and creep up when we least expect it. Do you think those addicted to drugs, alcohol, porn, sex, food, … intentionally planned for it to take over their entire body, mind, and soul? Can you really say all adultery had a direct laid-out plan and schedule to endure divorce costs, child support issues, sexually transmitted disease, a loss of peace, a reputation hit, and a broken family? I would dare to say it never starts out that way.  

Gwen Smith in her book I Want It All says, “The act of giving in to temptation always leads to suffering, because these actions turn us away from the will of God.” It comes down to choosing between physical desires or God’s authority. Yes, it sounds like a simple choice but, I am here to tell you, it is difficult to fight back fleshy desires. We live in a society where we want instant pleasure and “right now” happiness. Please don’t make me think about the costs later. I need to live in the moment. Plus, if I just give into the issue, it will satisfy my craving and then it won’t be a problem nor will it be on my mind. Poof! It will never reappear! (Yes, I have believed this lie a time or two as well!)

The Bible tells us that temptations will come, we are not exempt, and we need to prepare. So how is this possible? I don’t have all the answers but here are a few tips I have found to be helpful.

1. Deal with the Elephant – List areas in which you are prone to temptation. Call them by name and identify those that make you so vulnerable. I guess you could say this is the admitting stage.

2. Slay the cause – There has to be a reason behind the attraction. Why do they have a stronghold on your life? Yes, this is the “nitty-gritty” source step. How can you be prepared for some of them if you don’t know what triggers it? I went half my life not knowing and it took some deep counseling sessions to identify the cause. I am not suggesting this stage will be easy but, it is well worth it. Also, list where your choice will lead if you continue.  

3. Succumb to God – Lay it down and confess it to the one who can truly help. Put into practice “Where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord”. Talk to Him and submit your struggle. Ask for His guidance and direction to overcome. This might be a lifetime conversation with the Lord and a continuous battle but, I can promise you He will increase your strength and give you the power to walk out a life devoted to Him if this is your true heart’s desire. Surrender, my friend. God loves you beyond measure.

4. Saturate your life – Guard your life with God’s Word. Spend time in it. Place your name in the verses filled with commands and blessings. They are all for you. His Word assists in knowing in advance how to respond to temptation. So, rely on scripture to strengthen you. Listen to the Holy Spirit and let Him lead.

5. Plan for it – It is not a secret that we have to avoid situations leading to temptation. We must be fully aware of our location, setting, and timeframe. Satan knows when to hit you and is aware of the perfect seducing timing. (Dirtbag! Oops, I said that out loud.) Decide in advance the situations to avoid and have an escape plan. You might even think about someone who could be your accountability partner. Just know this means transparency, honesty, confidentiality, and trust. Pick wisely.  

Temptations are real! They surround us if we don’t deal with them. God wants to give you a fulfilling life. His Word tells us in Proverbs 6:23 that His “commands are a lamp, this teaching is a light, and the corrections of discipline are the way to life”. He didn’t promise us an easy road. However, He wants us ready and prepared to detect and avoid paths to destruction. He can shed light and hope in and on your situation.

Seek wisdom and find help with your temptations. Please don’t let them overtake you. God cares too much for you. You were bought with an extreme price. You are valuable to God and well worth the effort to do some temptation work within.

I am praying for you as you tackle it together with God.    

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