God does not promise that we will never be tempted, but that when we are, He will provide a way of escape. However, there are things that we can do as a Christian to avoid unnecessary temptation. Many times temptation can be completely avoided by following these simple tips.
In the model prayer that Jesus gave to his disciples in Matthew 6, He taught them to ask God to lead them away from temptation (Matthew 6:13). A daily relationship with God in prayer is a first step to avoiding temptation.
Use the Word of God
There are many good verses that will help you overcome certain temptations. Memorizing Bible verses targeted to combat your areas of temptation will be a protection and defense. 2 Corinthians 10:4 and 5 talk about pulling down things that get a stronghold in our life.
You need to work on memorizing a list of Bible verses that will help you avoid temptation. You cannot rely on finding a Bible at the moment of temptation. These verses have to become second nature to you.
Spend time in God’s word daily. Make it a habit. By knowing you will be confronted by the Bible in your reading tomorrow it can help you stay focused on God today.
Understand Your Personal Weaknesses
Not everyone is tempted in the same way. What is a struggle for one person may not be the least bit tempting to another person. For example one person may be tempted with smoking. For the next guy, smoking has never had a foothold on the person and therefore is not at all tempting.
James 1:14 says that we are drawn away with our own lusts. This indicates that each person has their own weak areas to deal with. You need to understand your own weakness so that you will know how to combat and avoid it.
God has promised to make a way to escape temptation. If you will look for the escape route then you can flee the temptation. Many times this way of escape is to literally walk (or run) away. Temptation often comes when you find yourself in certain situations or places. When you recognize one of those situations it is time to pack up your stuff and get out of there. (1 Corinthians 6:18; 10:14; 1 Timothy 6:11; 2 Timothy 2:22)
Create an Accountability Network
As Christians we have direct access to God. There is no place in the Bible where we are taught that we must confess our sins to others to have forgiveness from God. However, the Bible does teach that creating accountability with someone else can help you in your struggle against temptation (James 5:16).
You do not need to go into detail with your accountability partner about about your struggles, but they do need to know how to pray for you. Find someone who is a mature Christian. Often your pastor can fill this role, but it can also be a fellow church member. Tell them that you are struggling in a certain area. Look through the Bible together finding verses that will be a help to you. Have your friend ask you occasionally how you were doing in this area. Once a week is usually often enough. Make a promise to your friend that you will not lie to them when asked about how you are doing. You only hurt yourself when you lie to the other person. Ask your friend to pray for you—not stand in judgment.
Don’t be Discouraged
You should not become complacent about your sin. But you should also not allow it to defeat you. Sin is much more serious than eating too much dessert, but allow me to make an analogy. If you are on a diet and eat an extra cookie that you were not supposed to, does it make sense to quit your diet and eat the rest of the bag? The truth is that one extra cookie is a minor thing compared to how many good choices you made the previous week. It sounds silly to quit a diet because of 100 extra calories. Yet people do it all the time.
Realize that you probably will fall to temptation on occasion, but that is no reason to quit your Christian walk. Don’t accept your sin as if it doesn’t matter, but also realize that you have a choice in your future actions.
Confess and Repent
When you fall to temptation, go to God and confess. He already knows about your sin. You are not telling Him anything that is a surprise. But for your own sake you should humble yourself before God and confess your sin. The truth is, He has already forgiven you if you’re a Christian. Going to Him in confession makes it easier for you to have clear communication with Him.
Which of these tips about avoiding tempation was most helpful to you? Do you have any other tips to add to this list? Let us know in the comments.