Temptation - noun - the decision to do something, especially something wrong or unwise.
Whether its the temptation to lie, to eat an extra 3 cookies or to give into lust, temptation is a battle we will all face until Jesus returns.
Before I became a Christian I used to smoke, I dabbled in drugs but thankfully I never became addicted to them. Cigarettes however, became a normal part of my life for 3 years. Once God saved me I stopped smoking, no more Stinky smoker Sia! Since that time I encouraged others who wanted to give up smoking, lovingly pushing them to God to set them free from the addiction. I never thought the temptation to smoke would come back to taunt me but it did.
Last year I became increasingly aware of cigarettes, whether I would see one on the floor or see someone smoking, my mind would get flooded with the temptation to smoke again. Not "smoke smoke but maybe just one" I would think to myself. I remember going to watch my hubby play football & being surrounded by smokers, you would expect me to be worried about the smoke getting into my fresh blow-dry, but instead I was fighting the temptation to breathe in the smoke around me. Gross I know. Smoking had consumed my mind. By the way this time of temptation was when I was feeling quite distant from God (see my Dusty Bibles & Distant Hearts blog.) I find that temptations seem to be much stronger when Satan knows we are at our weakest spiritually.
Although the temptation really was so strong God helped me not to give into it. Below are the steps I took & take whenever temptation/sin (of any kind) tries to lure me into its trap.
Pinpoint your temptations & PRAY.
Identify exactly what is tempting you, don't ignore it because the urge will only get stronger. Of course, God knows everything about us but its important to open up your heart to God. Bring your struggles out into the open to the only one who can help you to overcome them! In Matthew 6:13 Jesus tells us to pray against temptation & Satans works. Prayer is the most powerful way we can fight temptation.
Find someone who you can trust & tell them what you've been struggling with. Ask them to come alongside you through prayer & encouragement. When I was tempted to smoke having a Godly friend to check up on me made such a difference.
READ the word of God.
Fuelling our spirits through reading the Bible is key, the scriptures direct us in how we are may glorify God & they strengthen us in times of temptation. Memorising scripture also helps tremendously. Read, 1 John 1:8-2:2, James 1: 13-18, Galatians 5: 16-26.
Trigger points & safeguarding.
What is it that's causing you to be tempted & how does it tend to happen? For example, if you are tempted to have sex outside of marriage theres a trigger point to when it happens. Perhaps it starts off with being alone together, then a kiss, then so on and so forth.. To safeguard yourself from falling into temptation putting in wise boundaries will minimise the chances of it happening. In my situation I realised that I never desired to smoke when I was with my husband, probably because of the shame of it. So, I told him how I was being tempted. That way he could pray for me & help me out. I also changed my seat at football matches so that I wasn't sitting so close to the smokers, this made it easier for me not to enjoy the smell of the smoke.
FLEE! Don't trust yourself!
Trust God who tells us to FLEE TEMPTATION! One of the mistakes we often make is thinking we are invincible. Yes the Holy Spirit dwells in us BUT we have been given the gift of free will which means we can ignore The Holy Spirit's conviction & sin if we choose to. Realise that we are all capable of falling into temptations so we have to be prayerful & wise. If you're on a diet, bopping into a sweet smelling bakery probably isn't the best idea. In the same way we need to help ourselves out & not put ourselves in dangerous situations. Don't just hope that you don't fall into temptation, be proactive, put things in place to ensure you don't!
Lastly, I honestly can't go on enough about the importance of accountability! Always be accountable, even if you mess up! The enemy wants us to feel ashamed & alone but God came that we may have freedom & liberty in Him!
If after following these steps you find that you are still falling into temptation its a good idea to seek Godly advice from a Pastor or church leader that you can trust.
All my love,
Sia ♥ x