Christians struggle with sin. Are you surprised? I’m not. The Bible even tells us that temptation is common to all people.
“No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation, He will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”
1 Corinthians 10:13 (ESV)
If temptation has been getting the best of you, you need a way of escape. You need a plan:
#1- STARVE THE MONSTER
What we feed grows.
I remember the 1980’s Lay’s potato chip ad, “No one can eat just one!” It was a great slogan because it was true. Everyone could relate to it. My friends and I even put it to the test. We invited some folks over and we put several bowls of chips out on the table. Then we gave them the challenge: “Bet you can’t eat just one!” Of course, there were some who resisted eating any of the chips at all. But, every person who ate one, ate more. Many people gave up right away and ate them two at a time from the very beginning. But as the evening progressed, even those who tried to eat just one, found themselves mindlessly eating more.
That’s how it is with most desires in life. Once you start, it’s hard to stop. Anyone who has ever tried to quit smoking knows this all too well. They kick the habit for a few days and think they can have “just one” only to find themselves back to a pack a day in no time.
Recovering alcoholics will tell you, there’s no such thing as “just one” drink. Sin is like an addiction. It’s something you just can’t dabble in. The only way to tame those desires (to tame that “monster”) is to starve him out.
So how do we “starve the monster”? Let’s look at what the Bible says:
1 Corinthians 6:18 says to “Flee from sexual immorality…”
Flee. In other words…
This applies to all temptations. Don’t just stand there and try to resist it. Get out of there! Get away from it. RUN!
When you choose to sin and that light bulb goes off in your head letting you know that you should not be doing what you’re doing- that’s God. And that’s your signal to RUN!
Don’t stand in the middle of the donut shop trying not to eat the donuts. Get out of there! RUN!
If you are married and you find yourself attracted to someone other than your spouse, get away from them! Get out of there! RUN!
If you are an alcoholic, don’t think you can go to the bar with your friends and be the designated driver. Get out of there! RUN!
Don’t put yourself in those situations. In other words…
#3- PLAN AHEAD
Make decisions ahead of time.
If you are going out to eat at a restaurant and don’t want to be tempted to cheat on your diet- look up the menu ahead of time and make a good choice. Then you will be ready to order when you get there and will not even need to look at or be tempted by the menu.
If you’re married, and you find yourself attracted or drawn to someone at a certain place- make a decision not to go to that place anymore.
If you are tempted to look at inappropriate things on the internet, put blockers on your phone or computer or make a decision to only use them in public spaces.
If you find yourself tempted to go “too far” with the person you are dating when the two of you are alone- take measures to ensure that you’re not alone.
If we are honest with ourselves, we all know what our temptations are. Mine may be different from yours, but we all have them. But, please know, that being tempted is not a sin. Jesus was tempted. (Matthew 4) Yet He was sinless. (2 Corinthians 5:21) Sin happens when we make the choice to follow through with that temptation. And often we make that choice when we let our guards down.
“Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8
The devil knows what tempts you and he will make sure it’s presented to you. So, you must be on guard at all times, by staying connected to God and seeking His help and guidance. In other words…
“Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Matthew 26:41
Heavenly Father, we come to you now asking for Your help. You know our weaknesses. You know our temptations. Help us, Father, to be alert and aware of Satan’s traps and schemes. Strengthen us, Lord, to make good decisions, to plan ahead, and to avoid temptation. Lead us not into temptation Lord, but deliver us from evil. In Jesus’ name, Amen.