How-to overcome temptation
Temptation can crash upon our consciousness like a tempest threatening to topple our home. This experience catches us off guard and can create a sense of powerlessness.
Yet we know that:
"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
So how do we overcome temptation rather than temptation overtake us?
Temptation is part of a process:
"But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death." — James 1:14-15
So we should pay attention to what's happening before temptation strikes.
Did my choices/thoughts move me toward God or away from God?
Did I interpret life in such a way that caused me to doubt God's goodness?
Did something happen that created a particular space for temptation?
When to get help
Like mold, temptation also grows in the dark.
We not only need a category for confessing sin but also need to accustom ourselves to confessing temptation.
Put another way: The best time to confess sinful tendencies is at the front end of the temptation's growth cycle.
At the first hint of temptation:
Text a safe friend/friends.
Confess your desires and temptation.
Ask for prayer.
Ask them to check in on your later.
humiliating or humbling
Transparency is both humiliating and humbling. But God gives grace to the humble (James 4:6), and grace is what we need when desire is growing in the dark.
Plus, safe, Christ-like friends will meet you with compassion, not judgment. Their love will quell your shame, guilt, and fear. Their presence will shine the light of Christ into the darkness of the moment.
And where the light of love lands, darkness cannot overcome it.
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