Updated: Jan 10, 2020
The responses to last week's post about lust let me know that I'm definitely not alone in the struggle!! So, I decided to share my top 10 favorite scriptures for overcoming temptation.
These are my go-to affirmations when I feel like lust is trying to get the best of me. It's brought me so much strength and has retrained my mind to think and act in purity, even in the toughest situations.
The first thing you should know is that you're not alone. No matter how put-together someone seems, there is still something that they struggle with. And if the rest of us can work to overcome those things, then you can too.
You should also know that you have God's help. He's going to block anything that would be unbearable for you, so the fact that you are faced with it means that you already have victory over it. You just have to decide to walk in that.
If you're anything like me, then you've asked this question before. "How?"
How are we supposed to stay pure in a culture that runs on skin and sex?!
Well, thankfully, there's an answer for us...
1. Read the Word
2. Hide it in your heart
3. Obey it
The more you become familiar with the Word of God, the closer you'll get to God Himself. And once you have a personal relationship with Him, saying "no" to anything that will disappoint Him becomes second-nature.
We have a piece of God living on the inside of us- we call it the Spirit. Jesus called this Spirit our "Helper" because its purpose is to lead us in the right direction. Lust and temptation control us when we allow our flesh (sinful selves) to smother the Spirit within us.
The most effective way I've found to uncover the Spirit is to fast and pray. Fasting denies the flesh, while prayer feeds the Spirit, elevating it over our flesh so that you are able to hear it clearly and follow it.
As I mentioned before, the world thrives on lust and temptation. They welcome and embrace it. In order to overcome, we have to separate ourselves from worldly things. Aspects of your life will have to change if you want to stop succumbing to temptation. Remove yourself from people, places, and activities that feed your lustful nature, even if the habit seems non-threatening. Anything can become a lust trigger for you. Open yourself up to God and allow Him to transform your mind.
I've heard people ask, "If God wanted us to deny our flesh, then why did He create our bodies to pleasure each other." Well... He didn't! He created us for Himself. That's not to say that we are never to bring pleasure to each other. God also created sex and he wants us to enjoy that as well. But we have to do that within the guidelines that He has set in His word.
We have to retrain our minds to think differently about our bodies and how to use them. Everything about us was carefully created for a purpose, and it's highly offensive to God to pervert that purpose.
I'm a firm believer that when you look long, you look wrong! Protect your eyes and be careful what you allow them to meditate on. What we see influences what we think, and what we think influences what we do. God looks at the heart. Even if we have no intentions of acting on certain things, meditating on them causes us to sin in our hearts, which is just bad in the eyes of God.
I have to admit... back in the days when I was only about 25% saved, I lived in a cycle of doing whatever I wanted, feeling bad about it, and asking for forgiveness repeatedly. But once I learned more about what it means to have an actual relationship with God, I became more and more uncomfortable with taking advantage of His grace. I mean, we don't deserve it in the first place. Accepting the Lord as our Savior means that we have become dead to sin. If we are made free, then why would we continue choosing to be a slave by giving in to sin?
This verse is very clear: Run from lust! Literally, run! Surround yourself with people who share your desire to live in purity. Peer pressure is real. Don't overestimate your ability to say "no" in a highly tempting environment.
If the other scriptures haven't convinced you then this one should! It's very simple - there are no grey areas in righteousness. Sin leads to death. The Spirit leads to life and peace. Every time you say "no" to temptation, you're saying "yes" to life.
This verse gives us two pieces of vital information:
1. God never tempts us. We are tempted when we allow our own desires to pull us away from righteousness
2. The progression of death by sin starts with a desire (or a thought), which leads to acting on the desire (sin). If it's not controlled, the sin will grow to uncontrollable levels that eventually lead to death. It's not that the sin itself will kill you (per se), but sin leads to spiritual death.
In the end, spiritual death won't happen just once. It happens over and over for eternity. Striving for the things that lead to spiritual life will not only bring you life and peace on earth, but it will also provide you with eternal life as well. Keeping the big picture in mind makes it so much easier to refuse the things that lead to sin and death, knowing that eternal life is the ultimate goal.