HANG IN THERE: Some truths to encourage you when you’re fighting temptations
“I do not understand the things I do. I do not do what I want to do, and I do the things I hate. And if I do not want to do the hated things I do, that means I agree that the law is good. But I am not really the one who is doing these hated things: it is sin living in me that does them…I do not do the good things I want to do, but I do the bad things I do not want to do.” (Romans 7:15-17; 19 New Century Version.)
There’s a probability that you can connect with the struggles of the writer above. It’s also possible that you don’t; then perhaps what I’m about to share with you may seem irrelevant. If that’s the case then simply store this exhortation in your archives; save it for the rainy day, because if I be a man of God believe me when I say ‘one day you’re going to need it’.
We all have our moments of ‘fighting temptations’
Some of us have fallen into sin once, or twice maybe thrice (I’m starting to lose count) and cried out to God for forgiveness. With tears in our eyes and our hearts broken we’ve sworn not to do it again. We survived the wind for a short time, maybe days or weeks. But the cunning serpent, that eternal con artist never comes when our guards are up.
The tempter comes during the times when we’re most susceptible; and suddenly you find yourself doing the bad stuff you didn’t want to do. By the time the temptation is over we’re left alone like the man in the tomb cutting yourself with stones.
Fighting temptations is had for a believer, because sometimes the church does not want top talk about some of the issues believers struggle with on a daily basis. There are times when the tempted finds himself/herself in a perplexing position. You begin to ask questions:
‘But lord I thought I overcame this issue years ago?’
‘Lord I’m too spiritual to be struggling with this sin…there’s too much word on the inside of me…I’m a praying man…?’
If you can connect with Romans 5:15-17 then you can probably connect with genesis 4:7b
‘…sin is ready to attack you. Sin wants you, but you must rule over it.’ Genesis 4:7b New Century Version
The lure of sin can be so, so tempting, so seducing, so powerful…but we must rule over its desire.
As Christians we’re not called to be affected; we’re called to affect. We must overcome, because holiness is our calling. Seemingly overwhelming temptation will come, but grace to overcome shall abound.
Please allow me share with you four simple truths that could help you meander your way through life’s rough paths of temptation:
i Draw closer to GOD:
Many times when we shock ourselves with sin, guilt sets in. as a result the first instinct is to flee from God’s presence. Guilt is a tool the enemy uses to make us feel so unworthy that we flee from God’s presence. In the Garden of Eden, when man sinned against God, did that stop God from seeking fellowship with man? NO! But as a result of guilt man attempted to hide from God.
So my brothers and sisters no matter what you’ve done, ask the Lord for forgiveness and chase after Him like your next breath depends on seeing His face.
The pursuit of God’s presence is the reason we live. It’s the reason there’s air in my lungs and in your alveoli. It’s the reason we suck in oxygen. As we draw closer to Him He increases in us; thus the influence of God’s spirit increases within us and the influence of the flesh decreases. When you’re fighting temptations seek Him more than you’ve ever sought Him.
ii Give up the tempters:
What stuff around your environment predisposes you to certain sin patterns?
You’ve got to answer that question honestly. When this is answered then you have to give up to go up. friends may need to go; habits may need to be sacrificed; routines may need to be changed.
The pursuit of God is all that counts. That’s all that matters. Nothing should come between you and GOD. Not a habit, a boyfriend or girlfriend, a CD or magazine.
iii Build character:
This is a slow and gradual process, which requires commitment. Good character is no gift. Human nature has its desires and lusts but character can be built. This we must do piece-by-piece. Weeks, months and years must be invested. Don’t expect to get it right in a day; it’s a gradual process. We build character slowly on a daily basis.
A man of feelings swings both ways: sometimes doing the things he doesn’t want to do. When he can muster enough strength he does the good he can do. But character keeps you on course in season and out of season. When everyone is watching and when no one is watching; when you can get away with it and when you can’t.
iii Hang in there:
That’s a simple truth. You see, every onslaught of temptation has an expiry date (check the bottom of the container). Each time we say no to sin we become stronger and draw closer to the end of hell’s onslaught. One day it will be over and those who endure until the end will receive the master’s reward. Be determined to survive. It will take grit, determination and a never say die attitude.
Think of the folks that God can bless through you. Heaven and those souls are counting on you. The seed in your loins needs you to win. Your spouse needs you to win. The finish line is not so far away. So my friend, hold on to the horns of the altars. Your victory over sin is certain; all you’ve got to do is hang in there.