Point to Ponder: There is always a way out.
Verse to Remember: “God is faithful. He will keep the temptation from becoming so strong that you can’t stand up against it. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you will not give in to it.” — I Corinthians 10:13b (NLT)
Question to Consider: Who could I ask to be a spiritual partner to help me defeat a persistent temptation by praying for me?
1. Refocus your attention on something else
“It may surprise you that nowhere in the Bible are we told to ‘resist temptation.’ We are told to ‘resist the devil,’ but that is very different…we are advised to refocus our attention because resisting a thought doesn’t work. It only intensifies our focus on the wrong thing.”
2. Reveal your struggle to a godly friend or support group
“Some temptations are only overcome with the help of a partner who prays for you, encourages you, and holds you accountable… The reason we hide our faults is pride… Some problems are too ingrained, too habitual, and too big to solve on your own.”
3. Resist the Devil
“After we have humbled ourselves and submitted to God, we are then told to defy the Devil… accept God’s salvation… use the Word of God as your weapon… You can’t bluff satan with logic or your opinion, but you can use the weapon that makes him tremble — the truth of God.”
4. Realize your vulnerability
“Given the right circumstances, any of us are capable of any sin. We must never let down our guard and think we’re beyond temptation.”
This is a powerful teaching, and goes much deeper than the usual “just try harder and quote scripture” mantras offered by Christians who don’t want to face people’s deep shame (including their own). Yes, those are valuable activities, but Rick provides an impressive framework for understanding how and when to perform them. I might summarize it as:
Defeating sin is not easy. But it is possible, and Rick’s advice — building Character, embracing Community, and acknowledging the Reality of God’s word, in all Humility — is a fantastic place to start
Prayer: God, I thank you for the dramatic victories you given me in the past over besetting sins. I thank you especially for John Isaacs who counseled me through the many small successes and temporary defeats along the way that enabled those breakthroughs. I am grateful for the many wonderful men who have demonstrated humility, vulnerability, and accountability in their relationship to me. I am especially grateful to my parents, who demonstrated the value of both holiness and grace in all they did. May I continue to live up to all I have received, in, through, and for the sake of your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.