Temptation & Triggers
Because Jesus experienced
temptation when he suffered, he is able to help others when they
are tempted. You struggle against sin, but your struggles haven't
killed you. -- Hebrews 2:18;12:4
10:13 says, "Remember that the temptations
that come into your life are no different from what others experience,
And God is faithful. He will keep the temptation from becoming so strong
that you can't stand up against it. When you are tempted, he will show
you a way out so that you will not give in to it." (NLT)
There are certain situations that make you
more vulnerable to temptation. You must manage your mind and monitor your
media intake. Ads for diets, as well as other products and services that
are counterproductive to healthy living and recovery are everywhere. But,
they are a reality of the world we live in. Learning to "navigate" through
these temptations (triggers) is part of this work. "
Some circumstances will cause you to
fall immediately, while others won't bother you too much. These
situations are unique to your weaknesses. You need to identify them,
because Satan already knows them. How many times has the enemy (Satan)
tempted you to think, "A good God wouldn't keep me from this,
would he? Satan knows exactly how to get you
to fall. He is constantly working to put you into those circumstances.
The devil is poised to pounce, and would like nothing better than
to catch you napping." -- 1 Peter 5:8
Ask yourself when
you are most tempted to eat, binge, purge. Is there a particular
day of week, time of day? Where are most tempted? Work, home? Who
is with me when I'm tempted? Ask, "How do I usually feel when I'm
most tempted". Is when you're lonely, depressed, bored, or under
stress? Identify your patterns of temptation and be prepared to
confront those situations. The Bible says to be ready to face temptation.
"Don't give the devil a chance". -- Ephesians 4:27. This
is part of overcoming temptation. And every temptation is an opportunity
to do good.
It's always that way when the enemy
(Satan) gets us to concentrate on the temptation instead of God.
God has promised never to allow to give you more than you can handle.
He won't permit a temptation that you can't overcome. But, you must
do your part by practicing Biblical teachings to defeat and overcome
temptation. Temptation will pester you, but temptation will not
master you. What hope this brings!
cannot keep birds from flying over your head,
but you can keep them from building a nest in
-- Martin Luther
How Temptation Works
Satan would tell you that because of what has been done to you, or happened
to you, you will never be whole, well, healed, set free, or of any value
to God. That is a lie! Any thought that takes you back to your life before
Christ and torments you is not from God.
Satan wants you to focus on what you were. He hates that you are now
a new creature, and so he wages war on your mind. If Satan can cause you
to focus your thoughts on things which are past, then you cannot dwell
or concentrate on what God has before you. Satan's goal is to set up strongholds
or fortresses in our minds.
From the Bible we learn that temptation follows a 4-step process (which
Satan used both on Adam and Eve, and on Jesus).
- One: Satan identifies
a desire inside of you. We
think temptation is 'around us', but God says it begins 'within
us'. If you didn't have the internal desire, the temptation would
not attract you. Temptation always starts in your mind, not in
circumstances. Jesus said, "For from within, out of a
person's heart, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft,
murder, adultery, greed, wickedness, deceit, eagerness for lustful
pleasure, envy, slander, pride and foolishness. All these vile
things come from within" -- Mark 7:21-23. James tells
us, "a whole army of evil desires within you".
tries to get you to doubt what God has said, "What is really
wrong? Did God really say not to do it? Didn't God mean this for
someone else? Doesn't God want me to be happy?" The Bible
warns, "Watch out! Don't let evil thoughts or doubts make
any of you turn from the living God" -- Hebrews 3:12
Satan is incapable of telling the truth and is called 'The Father of
Lies'. Anything he tells you will be untrue or just a half-truth. He
offers his lies to replace what God has already said in his Word. Satan
says, "You will not die. You'll be wiser like God. You can get
away with it. No one will ever know. Food will solve your problem. Besides,
look at all the other girls doing it. It's just a little sin".
But a little sin is like being a little pregnant, it will eventually
You finally act on the thought you've been toying with in your mind.
What began as an idea now becomes behavior. You give in to whatever
got your attention. You believe Satan's lies and fall into the trap
that James warns about, "We are tempted when we are drawn away
and trapped by our own evil desires. Then our evil desires conceive
and give birth to sin; and sin, when it is full grown, gives birth to
death. Do not be deceived, my dear friends." - James 1:14-16
Our responsibility is to stop him. In warfare
it's strategic to set up a beach head in your enemy's territory. This
gives you a base of operations. And it is the same in spiritual warfare
between Satan and us. When you dwell on things that are not of God, or
that are against God, you are giving the enemy ground on which he can
erect a stronghold or fortress.
is the man who doesn't give in and do wrong when he is tempted,
for afterwards he will get as his reward the crown of life that
God has promised those who love him. --
- Refuse to
be intimidated. Many
Christians are frightened and demoralized by tempting thoughts,
feeling guilty that they aren't 'beyond' temptation. They feel
ashamed just for being tempted. This is a misunderstanding --
you will never outgrow temptation. In one sense you can consider
temptation a compliment, because Satan doesn't tempt the evildoers.
Temptation is a sign that Satan hates you -- not a sign of weakness
or worldliness. Be realistic about the inevitability of temptation;
you will never be able to avoid it completely. In fact, the closer
you get to God, the more Satan will try to tempt you. The Bible
says, "When you are tempted,..." not "if".
Paul advises, "Remember that the temptations that come
into your life are not different from what others experience."
-- 1 Corinthians 10:13. You can't keep the Devil from suggesting
thoughts, but you can choose not to dwell on them, or act on them.
Treat it as distraction and refocus on God.
your pattern of temptation and be prepared. There are certain
situations that you more vulnerable. Wise planning reduces temptation.
Follow the advice of Proverbs: "Plan carefully what you do ...
Avoid evil and walk straight ahead. Don't go one step to the right way."
"God's people avoid evil ways, and they protect themselves by watching
where they go."
- Request help from
God wants you to ask him for help. He's always there. He says, "Call
on me in times of trouble. I will rescue you, and you will honor me".
--Psalm 50:15. The Bible says that our cries for help will be heard.
Jesus "understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same
temptation we do, yet he did not sin". -- Hebrews 4:15. God's love
is everlasting and his patience endures forever. Even if you have
to cry out for help a thousand times a day, remember He is listening
and wants to you give mercy and grace. Pray, and ask Him for the strength
and power to do the right thing, and then expect Him to answer you.
keeps us dependent on God. Instead of giving up, look to God, and expect
Him to help you. "When people are tempted and still continue strong, they
should be happy. After they have proved their faith, God will reward them
with life forever." -- James 1:12
every weakness of ours, because he was tempted in every way we are. So whenever we are in need, we should come bravely before
the throne of God. There we will be treated with undeserved kindness,
and we will find help. (Heb. 4:15-16)
that the temptations that come into your life are no different from
what others experience. And God is faithful. He will keep the temptation
from becoming so strong that you can't stand up against it. When
you are tempted, He will show you a way out so that you will not
give in to it. It is easier to stay away from temptation and triggers,
that to get out of it (temptation).
you're tempted by food, stop! For example, if you have to stop to take
a pee, don't go to McDonald's, go to a gas station. If your need to buy
a magazine, go to the drugstore and not the grocery store. Ask God to
show you a way through the trail or away from the temptation. Then follow
His direction, and experience the victory you have in Him.
have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ
lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the
Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. -- Gal. 2:20
Christ lives in us, we can acknowledge and defeat temptation!
Excerpts from "The
Purpose Driven Life" by Rick Warren, Growing Through Temptation
and "The 21-Day Habit"