Jonathan's Perspective  

Sep 3

'Outsmart Temptation'

Temptation is a part of everyone’s life. James states it this way, ‘each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed.’(Jms 1:14) Some people may despair and say, ‘Well, I can’t get away from myself so I might as well not fight it.’ But everyone has their weak spot, their Achilles heel. The temptation may be as mundane as overeating or not exercising enough. It may be as difficult as addiction to alcohol or pornography.  But there is enormous hope for overcoming temptation and bringing about Christ-centered change in your life. Here are several practical ways to be empowered to do what you really want to do, and not fall prey to temptation.

First, catch a vision for who you want to become. Paint it in bright colors in all its glorious detail. Make it so appealing that you yearn for it in your heart every time you turn your eyes to it. Then write it down and put it where you will see it every day. 

Second, figure out when and where you give in, when you are most tempted to do the wrong thing which takes you away from your goal. What time of day is it? What are the conditions which surround that temptation? Where does it happen most often?

Third, design a strategy based on four simple rules. Distract. When you are tempted, change your focus of thought. Think about something else you like. Engage in work. Do anything that will distract you from the negative temptation. Distance. Put space between you and the temptation. Remove yourself from the situation when you are vulnerable to giving in. Delay. Tell yourself that you will reconsider the bad behavior in 15 minutes. Usually the urge will pass in

5 – 10 minutes enabling you to make a rational decision to do what you truly want to do. Substitute. When you feel the urge to give in to temptation, then take that as a cue to do something else.

Let me give you an example. Perhaps you want to have a joyful reunion with your family when you come home at night. Write that down and put it on your computer at work. The temptation is to take out your work-related frustrations on your family. The difficult time is the transition from work to home. Distract yourself from work by thinking about what your spouse or kids did during the day. Think of it as preparing for your next important meeting. Distance yourself from work. Let the literal distance from work become a mental distance from the challenges and problems of the day. Delay your fixation on work problems by deciding at what time you will engage those problems later that night or the next day. Finally, substitute trying to solve work problems with trying to solve home problems. Let the drive be a cue to think how you are going to encourage, help, and care for each of your family members when you get home.

What temptation do you face? Ask God for wisdom and understanding about what steps to take to combat the temptations you face. Then stick with it using the techniques of distract, distance, delay and substitute. God will lift you up when you fall, and help you take your next steps. And don’t forget that your brothers and sisters in Christ want to help you be your best – including me. Give me a call if you want a help creating a plan and prayer about it.

Onward and upward,

Jonathan

 

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