Do not let sin control the way you live; do not give in to sinful desires. (Romans 6:12)
You know the feeling? You shouldn’t eat that stuff, but you do. Either you are so hungry it sounds reasonable, or you just have some kind of craving that must be satisfied. You “drive through”, wolf it down and 5 minutes later your whole system wants to repent! I think you know I’m not talking just McDonald’s cheeseburgers. It’s that temptation to satisfy a deep soul craving with a hollow, empty, deceitful whatever. What can you do about it?
1. Be still. (Ps 46:10). It is so easy to overlook this primary help. Sin entices us to make a move. It stirs desire. The passion cranks up our body and we think the only way to spell relief is to just go ahead and do it. Be still…get your body calm…quiet prayer helps slow you down.
2. Look for that way out. Paul reminds us in 1 Cor. 10:13 to look for the way out of temptation. As we devote ourselves to being still, we will also notice a “grace space” emerging. This is that place where we actually can make a decision. It’s there…now choose wisely.
3. Run. That sounds weird doesn’t it? First I’m telling you to be still…now I’m exhorting you to run! Here’s the deal…if you are still being tempted at stage three…run away like a man on fire! 2 Tim. 2:22 shouts, “flee evil desires…”. Joseph didn’t hang around to chat with Potiphor’s wife…although he was resisting he knew it was time to get out. Sometimes we just need to move. Push away the computer, turn the eyes, close our mouth, and run!
4. Get some exercise. When our desires flare up there are numerous chemicals dumped in our blood stream. They stir and stimulate us. The only way they are quieted is through physical exertion. I know it sounds weird, but it is physiologically true. One reason temptation lasts is that we don’t get some physical exercise. A brisk walk. Cut some wood. Mow the lawn quickly. Do something for about 20-30 minutes.This is why the monks of old (and perhaps still those today) used to do hard physical labor when tempted.
5. Practice…grace. We are being transformed day by day. If you perhaps you slide into junk-ville…pick yourself up…dust off…ask God for forgiveness and restart. The mercy of the Lord is new every morning. It means if you wake up it is a sure sign you’ve got another chance. Practice. One key ally to sin is shame. It keeps you feeling guilty and starved…a vulnerable target to the junk dealer. Be free…walk in grace.