The more we seek God, the more the enemy will dangle temptation in front of us. Every move of God in our lives will be met with a counter-move of Satan. As my pastor says, “If the devil isn’t bothering you, you might need to check your walk.”
“‘Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail'” (Luke 22:31-32a, NIV 84).
The first “you” in that verse is plural, referring to all the disciples. Because they chose to follow Jesus, Satan chose to test them, hoping to bring them down.
4 Ways to STOP Sin in Its Tracks
Satan wants to lead you away from doing God’s will. Even Jesus, as soon as He was baptized and began His earthly ministry, was tempted.
“Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil” (Matthew 4:1).
The Lord never tempts anyone (James 1:13-15), but I believe He allows times of testing to prove our faith before He will take us to the next level. Don’t worry: if we don’t pass the test the first time, we will get a retake.
Our goal, then, should be to pass our tests–to overcome temptation so we can go deeper in our relationship with the Lord and be used for His glory.
Speak the Word
When Jesus was tempted, He used the Word to overcome temptation.
“Jesus answered, ‘It is written: “Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God”‘” (Matthew 4:4).
We, too, need to use the Word of God when we are struggling with temptation. One thing that really helps is to look up Scriptures using a concordance on whatever topic we are dealing with.
For instance, we can look up verses that deal with gossip or lying. Copy them onto index cards and read over them every day. Memorize them if you can. Post them on your bathroom mirror or refrigerator. Keep the Word of God in front of you every day.
The Word is our greatest weapon, but sometimes in the heat of battle, we forget the power we have to stand. We need a way to be reminded that our God always gives us a way out.
“No temptation has seized you except what is common to man, And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it” (1 Corinthians 10:13).
Recently, I have been asking God to take me deeper in my relationship with Him. I want more of the power and presence of God in my life. Of course, I began to be tempted, even with areas that I have formerly had victory over.
As I was struggling with temptation last week, the Lord gave me a strategy for dealing with it. You see, often when I am in the middle of saying something I shouldn’t, I feel the Holy Spirit convicting me, but I am too embarrassed to just stop talking. Then I realized what an opportunity God was giving me to be an example to the other person.
So the Holy Spirit gave me this strategy called STOP. Cause, really, I just need to stop.
S: Say out loud, “You know what, the Holy Spirit is prompting me to be quiet right now, so I’m just gonna hush.” (Or whatever it is you need to stop doing.)
T: Take the opportunity to show the other person what it’s like to walk in the Spirit and not in the flesh.
O: Obey promptly and don’t rationalize your sin to yourself.
P: Pray for wisdom and grace to overcome that particular sin.
That may seem pretty elementary to you, but I still struggle with sin like this. God knows I need help, and this is what He gave me. So, think about whatever temptation you struggle with. Is it lying? Overeating? Judging? Unforgiveness?
No matter what we struggle with spiritually, we can learn to STOP. We may have to say out loud what the Holy Spirit is prompting us to do. We need to take the opportunity to be an example to those around us. We must obey promptly, because delayed obedience is disobedience. And we can pray for wisdom and grace to move forward with the Lord.
I don’t know if this helps with your struggles with temptation, but it sure helped me with mine. God has so much more in store for us, if we are willing to deal with the smallest sins in our lives and move forward with Him.
Don’t be held back by sin. God gives us what we need to overcome. So just STOP.