How to Resist Temptation

“I can resist anything except temptation.” That candid admission of how easy we slip into sin’s commission is famously attributed to Oscar Wilde, an Irish playwright.

His solution to get rid of temptation:  “give in to it!”

How can we resist temptation?  It’s too important to settle for a Wilde guess!

What’s the answer to temptation?  “No.”

Good answer but hope that’s worked better for you than it has for me! You know the feeling … it gets so discouraging to give in, give in, to the same old sin.

For over a year now I’ve been wanting to piece together the complete process given in the Bible for how to resist temptation. I did this for myself, but wonder if I can tempt you to want this information for yourself.   We need to study these scriptures, pray about them, meditate on them, fast about them and resolve to do them.

  • Diligent faithful daily mindset

The foundational key is the regular mindset we have day in and day out.  We want the mind of Christ (Philippians 4:5).  We bring “every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5).

We pray as Jesus taught, “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil [the evil one]” (Matthew 6:13).

A four-year-old boy learning the Lord’s prayer recited “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us some email.”

A minister parked his car in a no-parking zone in a large city because he was short of time and couldn’t find a space with a meter. So he put a note under the windshield wiper that read: “I have circled the block 100 times. If I don’t park here, I’ll miss my appointment. FORGIVE US OUR TRESPASSES.”        When he returned, he found a citation from a police officer along with this note:  “I’ve circled this block for 10 years. If I don’t give you a ticket, I’ll lose my job. LEAD US NOT INTO TEMPTATION.”

All of us can say:  “Lead us not into temptation.  I can find the way myself!”

Being renewed in the Spirit daily (Ephesians 4:23) will keep the flesh in check.  When we set our heart on the things above (Colossians 3:1), then our interests in “the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life” (1 John 2:16) diminish.  Being transformed by the renewing of our minds will help us not be conformed to this world (Romans 12:2)!

Jesus was full of the Holy Spirit.   Einstein is credited with using his brain capacity more than any other human—about 10%.  This seems to be the maximum achievable through the spirit in man (1 Corinthians 2:11)—the spirit that distinguishes humans from animals and means that we are not animals as is often erroneously claimed.  Perhaps the missing 90% will be achieved when we have the “fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:19) and are made 100% Spirit in resurrection.

For now daily we need the Spirit-led mindset that makes us so occupied with doing God’s ways that we don’t have time to be tempted to flout them.

Stay tuned for the next post in this four-part series:  How to Resist Temptation 2

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