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    Sunday School: Two Practical Tips to Avoiding Temptation

    The Bible tells us we’re supposed to flee from temptation. Now, it’s one thing to be in a tempting situation and choose to turn and run in the other direction–that takes great strength. But wouldn’t it be better if we didn’t get into those situations to begin with? I’m going to share with you my two biggest and most practical tips for avoiding tempting situations: accountability and awareness.

    First, let me tell you what I think is most difficult about these tips–they both require extreme honesty. Extreme honesty is tough because it usually involves either telling another person our darkest secrets or taking a long, hard look at ourselves; both can be very uncomfortable. If you can get past the initial discomfort, these tips will go a long way toward helping you overcome and avoid temptation.

    The first tip, accountability, means talking about our darkest struggles with other people. I know, I’ve done this and the idea still makes me squirm; it’s hard to share our most difficult temptations with others.

    Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much (James 5:16 NASB).

    I’m not suggesting you tell everyone you know about your deepest struggles–that wouldn’t be helpful. You need to choose your accountability group very carefully and with a lot of wisdom because you need to be specific with them. I recommend telling at least one trusted adult and 1-3 exceptionally trustworthy, Christian friends. It’s important everyone in your accountability group is a Christian so they encourage you according to Scripture and pray for you regularly.

    One of my biggest temptation struggles that I’ve mentioned before is pornography. The first person in my accountability group was my husband, Dave. I don’t think I’ve ever been more scared to tell someone something in my life, but I did and I also added my mentor and two best friends to that group.

    Any time I messed up, I confessed it to this group of trusted people and they’re still behind me to this day. It was the best thing I’ve ever done! I can’t tell you how much this has helped get me free from that struggle. When you drag your temptation struggles into the light by telling others about them, you drag them out of darkness and expose them to light.

    The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it (John 1:5 ESV).

    Our temptations gain power when we keep them secret, but even though they will try, they can’t overcome the light. We’ll struggle for with them, but eventually the light of Christ will win.

    My second tip is awareness. This involves being brutally honest with yourself. Sometimes the hardest temptations are things we know are wrong but that feel good at the time. It’s hard to overcome things that feel good while we’re doing them.

    When I talk about awareness, I mostly mean being aware of yourself. What things honestly tempt you the most? What things are you desperately trying to keep secret from others and sometimes from yourself? Is there a temptation you struggle with, but you haven’t admitted to yourself that it’s a problem? These are the kind of questions you can only answer for yourself and awareness only helps if you’re honest about your answers.

    It’s okay if you can’t identify every temptation in your life; Satan is constantly working on new temptations to throw our way. The important thing is to be honest with yourself once you identify temptations.

    The other important part of awareness is being aware of your surroundings. If you struggle with pornography and your friends want to go see a movie with one single scene of graphic nudity, you should probably say no. If you struggle with cussing and your family likes to watch TV shows with many bad words, then leave the room.

    Always ask yourself, “Could this aggravate my struggle with temptation?” If the answer is “Yes,” just say “No.” Then call someone in your accountability group for encouragement and so they can rejoice with you about making a great decision!

    PI girls, do you have more tips for avoiding temptation? Share them with us in the comments!

    No temptation has overtaken you but such as it common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it (1 Corinthians 10:13).

    More Stories Like This on Project Inspired:
    Sunday School: Is Fear a Sin?
    Sunday School: How Do I Break Free from Bad Habits?

    Jenn Arman
    Jenn Arman is a youth pastor, freelance writer and blogger. She was born in San Diego, California and raised 2 hours north east in the Inland Empire where she lives with her husband David and their cats. Jenn desires to bring glory to God and a healthy dose of reality to Christians through both writing and preaching. Visit jenniferarman.com for more on her work. You can also connect with her on www.facebook.com/JenniferArman.Writer and https://twitter.com/JennArman

    17 COMMENTS

    1. I love this! I think that being aware of yourself is so important. not only should you be aware of God in your life, but you should be aware of how you’re acting what you’re saying. is it Godly? would He be happy? love you all! God Bless!

    2. Good tips! 🙂 It’s hard to leave the room when my family is watching shows with many sexual scenes and swearing (I don’t like either of those) because I want to spend time with them and that’s sometimes the only time they’re all available. 🙁

    3. I NEEDED this article.Thank you so much,Jennifer! Lord,I need your help fighthing temptations.I can’t face them by myself.Help me find people who will support me through this. Get me to a point where I don’t even give them a second thought. Satan,I rebuke you in the name of JESUS!!!!! In your POWERFUL name,amen.

      • Sportslover, that is really great that you’ve made it 3 weeks! Every time I’m tempted by pornography I remember something: I’ve said NO to pornography before, so I can say NO right now. Stay strong! I’ll be praying for ya. 🙂

      • Sportslover, One of the things that made me so ashamed of my pornography addiction was the thought that it was “a guys struggle”. Honestly it made me question a lot about myself for a while, but I’ve done a lot of research and it turns out there are a lot of women and girls who struggle with it.

        One thing I suggest is get away from the computer. If you are experiencing the temptation, get outside and go for a walk, get on the phone with an accountability friend, go have a conversation with a parent or sibling, but get away from technology for a while.

        Breaking a pornography addiction is hard. It is a lifelong struggle, but it will get easier. Another thing to remember is don’t beat yourself up if you make a mistake. I slipped up so many times when I first started working to overcome this and I would get so depressed, don’t let that happen to you. That is the devil trying to convince you that even with Christ you aren’t strong enough to beat this, but with Christ, you do have the power to break this struggle.

        I will keep you in my prayers <3

    4. I over heard a couple of girls In my church talking about masturbating. I was kind of confused at first but then and thought came into my mind… Is masturbating a sin? Can someone please answer my question?

      • Hi sophielove900! I’ve wondered about that, as well and I talked to my mom about it awhile ago. Masturbating IS a sin because it causes us to think impure thoughts. The Bible clearly states that we are to strive for a pure mind. “It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God; and that in this matter no one should wrong his brother or take advantage of him. The Lord will punish men for all such sins, as we have already told you and warned you. For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. Therefore, he who rejects this instruction does not reject man but God, who gives you his Holy Spirit” 1 Thessalonians 4:3-8

        1 Corinthians 6:18 “Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body. 19 Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.”

        Hope this helps you!
        Blessings

    5. Your honesty is extremely encouraging. I’ve struggled with porn for about 3 years, and it hasn’t really gotten any better. I don’t know how to stop, considering I’ve become really good at hiding it from my parents..And I don’t know who to tell, I’m so ashamed, because I feel like no one would expect me to be into such an embarrassing addiction..I considered telling my youth pastor, but I’m not sure if it’s appropriate to tell a guy something like that…Can you give me any advice?

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