We are all tempted. Talking about it to people who love and know us well is important. I wrote about that here.
How we deal with temptation is a huge indicator of our health and maturity as a Christian.
Jesus lays out a simple two step plan to avoid temptation.
“Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Matthew 26:41)
“Why do you sleep? Rise and pray, lest you enter into temptation.” (Luke 22:46)
Did you see it?
Step #1. Watch
Step #2. Pray
Watch: Take a look at your life. Your patterns, your alone time, your relationships. What happens in your life before you fall into sin? What leads you there?
Get rid of it.
Get rid of every opportunity to sin before your moment of weakness comes – for it will come. When it does, make sure you have designed your life in such a way that you have removed the source of sinful opportunities.
Don’t allow yourself to be tempted, as much as possible. This may mean installing Internet filters (we all should have them), changing your schedule, cutting off ties to old relationships. Watch your life. Don’t set yourself up to fall easily into sin.
Pray: I recently heard a message about prayer where the pastor asked the listeners, “How many of you have been praying too much and really feel like you need to cut back on your prayer time?”
We all need to pray more and pray more fervently. We need to pray Scripture and we need to pray “Deliver me from evil.”
Luke’s rendition of Jesus’ words to His disciples have the admonishment, “Why do you sleep? Rise and pray….”
We all need sleep, but we also need to pray. Could it be that many Christians are living in sin because we don’t take holiness and purity seriously? It takes a passion to conquer a passion. The pattern I notice is that you don’t really get out of sin until you’ve had enough, and you say, “Whatever it takes!” You fight like your life is at stake – because you know it is.
For me, growing in my relationship with Jesus, means that I need to be ever more committed to living a life of prayer and purity, to seeking Him with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength, and to live a life daily seeking the fulness of the Holy Spirit. “Walk in the Spirit and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.”