Tempted?

(Continued from the October 2012 issue of Clubhouse magazine.)

By now, you know that resisting temptation is harder than just saying no to fresh-baked cookies. (Although that particular temptation never goes away.) Maybe there’s a TV show you’re not supposed to watch, or you feel tempted to use bad words around some of your friends. Or maybe, like Harris, you sometimes think that life is all about you.

The Devil will try to convince you that giving in to these little temptations doesn’t really count as sin. But God doesn’t measure sin in terms of big and little; He wants us to honor Him in all of our choices. Thankfully, He promised to help. In 1 Corinthians 10:13 (NIV), it says, “God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.”

The next time you feel tempted, pray about it. God already knows what you’re going through, and He doesn’t want you to face it alone. (After all, life is not all about you.) If you ask, He will send the Holy Spirit to encourage you and to shine a light on the truth. The rest of 1 Corinthians 10:13 says that “when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out.” What an incredible promise!


Location, Location, Location

While God is so much bigger than any temptation, we still have a part to play. Most temptation doesn’t appear out of the blue; you can feel it building up inside you over time. It’s important to recognize what’s happening and keep yourself away from situations that will make things worse.

If you don’t want to be tricked, stop going to magic shows. Likewise, if there’s a program you’re not supposed to watch, make sure you’re not sitting in front of the TV when it starts. If you just can’t stop gossiping around your friends, hang out with a different crowd at lunchtime. And whatever you do, avoid long spouts of boredom. The Devil is already good enough at temptation; you don’t need to make it any easier for him.


Talk It Through

If the same temptation pops up again and again, you might want some extra help. An accountability partner is a special friend who listens to your struggles and helps you lean on God through the tough times. A partner may have faced the same temptation and learned to resist it with God’s help. (If you don’t know how to find an accountability partner, ask your pastor.)

You might feel embarrassed talking about this stuff. But remember, temptation is not a sin; it’s how you respond that matters.


God Will Forgive

From Aaron to Zephaniah, everyone except Jesus gave into temptation at least once (Romans 3:23). When that happens, it’s easy to believe that sin now controls our lives. But that’s not how God works. He loves us so much that He will forgive any sin and lead us into a better life. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9, NIV).

Let today be the day you trust God enough to change your life. He is ready and able; all you have to do is ask.

Copyright © 2012 Focus on the Family. Used by permission; Photo © 2012 Mike Burns/Flickr, used under Creative Commons license.