Many people are intimidated by the fact that they are tempted, like they shouldn’t even be in that situation or that they should be able to control it. But you shouldn’t feel guilty about temptation. It’s not a sin to be tempted. It’s a sin to give in to temptation. The Bible says that Jesus experienced every temptation known to man, but he didn’t sin. Temptation is not a sin. It’s how you respond to it that matters.
The Bible says we need to flee temptation: “Be alert. Continue strong in the faith. Have courage, and be strong” (1 Corinthians 16:13 NCV). To “be alert” means to know what tempts you so that you can stay away from it.
There are two things you need to stay away from: tempting situations (circumstances) and tempting associations (people who tempt you). One of our pastors, John Baker, says, “You hang around the barber shop long enough, you’re going to get a haircut.” It’s true! If you have a problem with alcohol, you don’t go to the bar to eat a sandwich. You stay away from it. You need to know what tempts you, when it tempts you, where it tempts you, who tempts you, and then just stay away from those situations and people.
If you get tempted in airport bookstores, don’t go to airport bookstores. If you get tempted by a certain channel, don’t have that channel on your TV. We have parental block on our TV, and the youngest person in our house is my wife, Kay. We don’t have kids at home any more, but I don’t want to even risk going through channels and stumbling upon something I don’t need to see.
You also need to avoid tempting associations. The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 15:33, “Do not be fooled. ‘Bad companions ruin good character’” (TEV). There are some people you need to stop relating to. There may be some friends who maybe should not be your friends, because it’s always easier for them to pull you down than for you to pull them up. If they’re leading you away from Christ, they’re not friends. Bad company corrupts good character.
So what should you do if you try to avoid those tempting circumstances and people but still find yourself in a sticky situation? Get out! Don’t just walk away — run! You don’t fight it; you flee it. And you go after the good stuff in life instead.
Thoughts – What are the situations or circumstances in which you know you will be tempted? What is your plan for avoiding those situations?
- Who are the friends that help you in your walk with Christ and who can help you in any struggle with temptation? Why is it important to receive this kind of encouragement?
- What are the God-honoring things or thoughts that you can employ to flee temptations?
By Rick Warren
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