Sunday School: Two Practical Tips to Avoiding Temptation
Written by Jenn Arman | February 3, 2013
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).
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