My feet usually hit the floor each morning at 5:00am. Ask me a few minutes after that if I’m easily tempted by the world and I’ll give you a big, fat, “No way, baby.”
Armed with some decent sleep, a fresh cup of coffee, and the fact that I’ve not put together a coherent thought or interacted with one single human being might have something to do with it. Heh. But give me a minute or two more and a few hungry kids around the breakfast table and it doesn’t take me long to wake up to the fact that my heart is deceitful, this world is relentless, and a strong cup of coffee will only get me so far.
It’s a tempting world that we live in.
Add to that our own sinful hearts (that, like Paul, regularly keep us doing what we don’t want to do), and a very real enemy (who prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour), and it’s no exaggeration that our feet hit the floor and enter into a war zone each and every day.
“My son, if sinners entice you, do not consent… do not walk in the way with them.” – Proverbs 1
No matter what stage of life we’re in, none of us is immune to temptation. Young or old, new believer or spiritually more mature, as long as we’re living in this world we’re surrounded by sin and other sinners. We’ll read in Proverbs this week that men are greedy for unjust gain and they aren’t afraid to take others with them, that the temptation for excess visits at every mealtime, that adultery is as close as a next door neighbor, and that evil is just one distracted step away. The sooner we recognize the great dangers that loom in and all around us, the sooner we can take steps to fight against them.
“…they set an ambush for their own lives. Such are the ways of everyone who is greedy for unjust gain; it takes away the life of its possessors.” – Proverbs 1:18-19
Here’s the thing… no matter how enticing sin initially looks, it never produces the payoff that we hope for. Only walking in God’s wisdom – finding our full trust, surrender, and satisfaction in Him – can give us the peace our hearts long for.
So practically speaking, how can we handle temptations when they come our way?
In her book Love to Eat, Hate to Eat, Elyse Fitzpatrick recommends writing a list of the steps you will take when you’re tempted. In her example she shares the following steps that refer to the temptation to overeat, but these can be easily adjusted to other temptations you may be facing:
- I’ll cry out to God and ask Him to help me, remembering that He has promised to never leave me or forsake me.
- I’ll focus my thoughts on His goodness and His wonderful blessings in my life.
- I’ll remember that my old desires or idols have never helped me find peace or joy.
- I’ll call my accountability partner and ask her for prayer.
- If possible, I’ll go out for a walk or move myself away from the kitchen to another room.
- I’ll remember that God Is watching me and that He loves me so much that He sent His Son to die for my sin.
- I’ll turn on some praise music or Scripture set to music and begin to sing and thank God for His kindness.
- I’ll get out my disciplined eating verses and begin to go over them.
- If I have already begun to sin, I’ll stop and repent. I’ll remember that I don’t have to continue on just because I’ve started. I’m not striving for perfection, and if I stop now, I know that God will be pleased.
No matter how “strong” we think we are, we can’t fight temptation with simple human grit. Jesus told His very own disciples that the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak (Matthew 26:41). Even today, Satan would love to catch us off-guard and unprepared, tempting us in our weakest areas when we least expect it. But with an action plan in place – one that puts wisdom from God’s Word at the forefront – we can take daily steps to fill our minds with truth and intentionally turn from the sin that so easily entangles us. And remember, if you ask God for wisdom in faith, He gives it generously (James 1:5).
Girl, now isn’t the time to back down. Let’s be alert as temptations come our way! What steps will you take today to stand strong in a tempting world? Let’s share practical encouragement with each other in the comments below…
At His feet,
Week 5 Video:
If you can’t see this video you can view it here.
Week 5 Challenge: Identify one area in your life where you are tempted to give into the world’s ways instead of walking in God’s wisdom. Write a list of practical steps you will take to combat this temptation, then seek out a godly mentor to pray for you, help point you to truth from God’s Word, and lovingly keep you accountable in this area.
Week 5 Reading Plan:
Week 5 Memory Verse: