Are you struggling with sin that seems to be winning in your life? If so, here are some simple steps to victory in the battle:
- Realize a blog post alone can’t help you win. I’m glad you’re reading this post, but my words can’t give you all you need. Overcoming temptation is a war against a real enemy – and wearing the full armor of God is about more than reading blog posts.
- Pray every day the way Jesus taught us. We can’t miss what He said: “Do not bring us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one” (Matt. 6:13). Pray that prayer every day – as soon as you wake up, and before you sin.
- Quit playing games with your Christianity. We often wrestle with sin because our commitment to Christ has never gone beyond surface level. A real commitment to God, though = a real commitment to godliness.
- Recognize the enemy’s strategy to promote temporary pleasure over eternal consequences. He blinds us by magnifying the fun of sin while also minimizing the coming conviction and shame if we do sin.
- Admit your vulnerabilities to somebody. If you’re fighting the war of temptations alone, you’ve made yourself unnecessarily more vulnerable to defeat. Get somebody else in the foxhole with you.
- Be aware of your patterns. Maybe your temptation happens most often when you’re alone. Tired. Angry. With the wrong person. In the wrong place. Staying up too late. You know your patterns – so stop the fall before you ever get there.
- Be honest with yourself when you’re rationalizing and excusing your sin. Most, if not all, of us do this—we find reasons to give ourselves permission to fall. Don’t do that!
- Strengthen your spiritual disciplines. I know this step is basic, but it’s critical. When you learn to be in relationship with God through His Word and prayer, sin loses some of its attraction.
- Memorize Scripture, and keep it in front of you. Literally. Keep at least the texts below in your pocket, on your phone, or on your screen saver. Read them. Memorize them. Believe them. Use them. “God is faithful and He will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation He will also provide a way of escape, so that you are able to bear it.” (1 Cor 10:13);“Therefore, submit to God. But resist the Devil, and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7)
- Gouge out your eye if you must. Jesus used an exaggeration to make His point (Matt 5:29-30), but His point was clear: take every step you need to take to turn away from sin. I’ve specifically written about this step regarding pornography, but the principle applies to every temptation.
- Run. It’s really that simple. When temptation shows up, run the other way as fast as you can. Turn your head. Force-think another thought. Turn off the computer. Don’t linger on the edge of sin.
- Confess and repent quickly if you fall. If you do give in to temptation, don’t let the enemy so beat you up and accuse you that you never get off the ground. Run to Jesus, confess, accept His grace, and start again.
What steps would you add here?