In counseling others about their Christian walk, I often listen to people explain how the temptation is so strong and they need power to overcome the temptation. They claim to give in to the temptation even though they prayed for willpower. After listening to them voice how defeated they are, I offer a simple solution.
Remove the temptation. Jesus, whom was tempted in all ways as man, offered this bit of advice;
"If your right hand makes you stumble, cut it off and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to go into hell". - Mat 5:30 NASB
The key to overcoming temptation is to avoid temptation. Sometimes we simply need to go in another direction.
Now therefore, my sons, listen to me, And pay attention to the words of my mouth. Do not let your heart turn asideto her ways, Do not stray into her paths. For many are the victims she has cast down, And numerous are all her slain. - Pro 7:24-26 NASB
In Proverbs, we learn that it begins with knowing God's Word, followed by obeying God's Word, and also taking care not to stray. We are to "walk circumspect".
Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path. - Psa 119:105 NASB
Have you ever thought about what this popular verse says? God's Word is light. It shows us where we are, and where we are going. The Bible says God is light and in Him there is no darkness. He can not lead us astray. If we find ourselves in a compromising position, it is the result of our decisions. At that moment we need to change directions, make a correction to our course.
What I am describing here is compromise. Compromise is "sin lying at the door". If we open the door, sin enters in and we will suffer the consequences. Allow me to give 2 examples of compromise, one is tame, the other is more serious. Millions of people struggle with obesity. Gluttony is a sin. It is the result of a persons desire to feed his belly more than his soul. God doesn't want us to live this way. Not because God hates food, but rather because He knows that it is not good for us to live this way.
Many people say they just can't keep out of the refrigerator or the cupboards. The temptation is just too strong. The solution to this is to make your cupboards bare and your refrigerator empty or stocked with healthy alternatives. If you struggle with food, avoid events that have lots of food. Don't go to that birthday party. Pass on the Superbowl party. Turn down the lunch invite. Take the necessary steps to avoid food that is tempting.
Now lets look at a subject a little more serious in the sense of the ramifications of succoming. Adultery is common in the church and this is a tragedy. Homes are broken far too often due to someone acting in a selfish way. Sometimes it just takes one occasion to destroy a family. Often the one occasion is the result of compromise.
The attractive coworker. The frequent compliments, followed by the breaks and lunches seated together. Then the casual talks after work in the parking lot. Maybe an invite to hang with other coworkers at a local hotspot. Then the crowd thins and it is just the two of you. Before you know it, your hooked. This chain of events happens all too often. The bright side is it can all be avoided.
- Never allow yourself to be alone with a woman
- If complimented, politely say thank you but do not reciprocate the compliment
- Mention your wife in conversations with coworkers, compliment her beauty and character
- If invited to after work social events, invite your wife to join you, or don't go
- Never complain about your wife to another woman
- Never seek the counsel of another woman as an excuse to gain "insight"
- If a woman makes frequent advances, let your superior know that it is taking place and you do not like it.
In conclusion, temptation can be reduced greatly by taking minor steps, to avoid major temptations. We can live our lives in a compromising way, or we can raise up practical "layers of protections". Accountability is key, don't go about it alone. Make others aware of your struggles so you can remain accountable. Be a student of the Bible, know God's precepts. They will guide you out of temptations path.
My son, observe the commandment of your father And do not forsake the teaching of your mother; Bind them continually on your heart; Tie them around your neck. When you walk about, they will guide you; When you sleep, they will watch over you; And when you awake, they will talk to you. For the commandment is a lamp and the teaching is light; And reproofs for discipline are the way of life To keep you from the evil woman, From the smooth tongue of the adulteress. Do not desire her beauty in your heart, Nor let her capture you with her eyelids. For on account of a harlot one is reduced to a loaf of bread, And an adulteress hunts for the precious life. Can a man take fire in his bosom And his clothes not be burned? Or can a man walk on hot coals And his feet not be scorched? So is the one who goes in to his neighbor's wife; Whoever touches her will not go unpunished. - Pro 6:20-29 NASB