A thought from Rick Warren (2012-10-23) from his book, The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here For? (p. 269). Zondervan. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)
This is the way to start to handle a temptation. Rick says, “Every time you try to block a thought out of your mind, you drive it deeper into your memory. By resisting it, you actually reinforce it. This is especially true with temptation. You don’t defeat temptation by fighting the feeling of it. The more you fight a feeling, the more it consumes and controls you. You strengthen it every time you think it.”
I know you have found that true. I don’t want that donut but I really do. I don’t want it, I don’t want it but I really do want it, I really do want it. Will power can only go so far especially in spiritual issues.
Rick then says, “Since temptation always begins with a thought, the quickest way to neutralize its allure is to turn your attention to something else. Don’t fight the thought, just change the channel of your mind and get interested in another idea. This is the first step in defeating temptation.”
I had a banana at Starbucks this morning. Is that because I wanted it more than I wanted a Maple Oat Scone? No it’s because I wanted to be healthier and lose weight more. I finally made it under 210 lbs. this week. That was a major accomplishment for me. Now it is on to under 200. That desire is greater than my desire to have a Maple Oat Scone.
Now in dealing with being tempted to sin it is also either won or lost in your mind. Job said in Job 31: 1 (NLT), “I made a covenant with my eyes not to look with lust upon a young woman.” And David prayed in Psalm 119: 37a (TEV), “Keep me from paying attention to what is worthless.”
Rick says, “Satan can’t get your attention when your mind is preoccupied with something else. That’s why the Bible repeatedly tells us to keep our minds focused.” Hebrews 3: 1 (NIV) says, “Fix your thoughts on Jesus.” 2 Timothy 2: 8 (GWT), “Always think about Jesus Christ.” Philippians 4: 8 (TEV), “Fill your minds with those things that are good and that deserve praise: things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and honorable.”
If you are having a problem in a particular area find a verse in the Bible, memorize it and every time the temptation comes up reinforce what is right by praying the scripture. That can be a starting point. It will take time but through the Spirit’s help you can conquer it.
So for what temptation do you need to find a verse?