All it takes is a harmless peek on a screen and suddenly you find yourself drawn to pornography. Or a little flirting leads to an emotional affair that comes dangerously close to a physical encounter.
Sexual temptation is all around us and we are encouraged to give in and experiment. However, the Bible is clear on reserving sex for marriage and keeping ourselves pure. The fall out of casual sex and infidelity is significant and ruins relationships. So from a Christian perspective, what works to overcome temptation?
First be encouraged by this scripture which tells us we can overcome temptation with God’s Help.
“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13 (NIV)
1. Flee from it.
“Flee from sexual immorality.” 1 Corinthians 6:18
It is easy to give in to temptation when you indulge your desires and allow the moment to take over. God knows that our natural desire is to give in to temptation when we entertain it. Rather than indulging a temptation, we are told to run from it. Indulging temptation only gives strength to it.
2. Trust God, not yourself, to help you.
The greatest risk to falling into temptation is thinking that you alone can handle it. Distrust yourself and trust God. Dependence on Him and not self is the key to overcoming.
3. Watch and pray.
“Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Matthew 26:41
This was Jesus’ instruction to his disciples. He knew they had good intentions, but that their human nature was subject to weakness. The way to overcome is to stay watchful for the pitfalls and pray. Prayer is our communication with God. Talk to Him about the temptation. Ask Him to strengthen you when you are weak. When we are weak, He is strong.
4. Put on the full armor of God.
“Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.” Ephesians 6:11
The war that is waged is one of principalities and powers and requires putting on the full armor of God to resist temptation. The darts of temptation need to be met with the breastplate of righteousness, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit. Without protection, we are easily wounded by the arrows that pierce.
5. Fear the Lord.
A healthy fear of the Lord is crucial to a successful walk of faith. Sin brings destruction. God’s way is meant to keep us from the snares of sin and the negative consequences that follow. Our loving Father shows us the way to escape unnecessary heartache. If we fear God and think about His ways, we can choose to walk an upright life with His help.