Applying this Scripture, we realize that we’re not alone. No one is a temptation odd-ball. When we look at someone else who appears to have a life of ease, we can know that person has already come through difficult times, is going through difficulties, or will one day face a struggle. Therefore, the tendency to excuse ourselves based on the erroneous thought “no one has it quite like I do” will only serve to keep us tethered to things that will limit us.
Secondly, when we set our sight on God, we eliminate a lot of trouble up front. It’s harder to give in to weaknesses when our minds are otherwise occupied with the goodness of God and His work.
Thirdly, some temptation can be avoided. Scripture says, “flee fornication.” This indicates there is a window of opportunity to steer away from temptation. Avoiding certain places, particular people, and specific activities can be a path around temptation. Instead of denying the possibility of failure, recognizing potential weakness and recalling past failures can be a set-up for success for it allows us to prepare ahead of time for what may come our way. That preparation includes eliminating secrecy by seeking an accountability partner. One person who struggled with pornography said he agreed upon a “sin date” with his pastor. He marked on the calendar a day he’d give himself permission to fail. Every other day he’d say, “No. I have to wait until (that day). I can’t give in today.” By the 3rd “sin date,” he decided he didn't have to give in to the temptation at all. Each person's plan of action may look differently; its just important to have one. It may be to practice what to say in the heat of the moment, to get professional help, or to push out the bad with a better choice (thoughts/foods), but the plan can help in the moment of encountering temptation.
When temptation cannot be avoided, God has promised us His strength to help bear the load. His strength comes from His word and His presence. Worshiping Him brings His presence near and shifts our desire away from distractions and onto God. Scripture is a sword that cuts away the desire bit by bit until one day the struggle with temptation no longer exists. Reminding ourselves that Jesus bore the flesh struggle so we don’t have to is yet another way that God bears our trouble with us. “I want to smoke,” one man said before adding, “but Jesus doesn't want to.” I used to have these mental sparring matches with people who’d offended me. Wow! I could slice and dice with the most profound phrases. This went on for a while before it even dawned on me what I was doing. I was harboring ill feelings, nurturing a grudge, and wasting my thoughts on angry outbursts no one but I could hear. By the time I saw what was happening, I had a mental stronghold. I couldn't change my thinking until I started quoting Scripture every time I caught myself having ugly thoughts. I’d speak blessing instead of anger in my thoughts. I’d imagine myself loving and showering gifts on the person who’d aggravated me. One day I was cleaning house, and I realized I couldn't remember the last time I had a mental confrontation or an offended thought. God had given me support through my temptation until I had victory.
Tip/Tidbit: Are you struggling with a temptation? Make an over-comer’s plan of action that includes an accountability partner, Scripture, and a reminder that your story can be one of victory.