1. Recognize your tendency towards sin.
“But each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed.”
James 1:14 explains that we are tempted when we become enticed to our own natural desires. The first step towards avoiding temptation is recognizing your human tendency to be tempted by our own fleshly desires. Temptation is a given, so don’t be surprised by it. Rather, expect to be tempted. Be prepared for it!
2. Run away from the temptation.
I love the new living translation of 1 Corinthians 10:13.
“The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.”
When you’re faced with temptation, look for that way out that God has promised and then run as fast as you can!
3. Resist with the word of truth.
Hebrews 4:12 says,
“For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.”
Though it can be helpful to read gods word when you’re tempted, sometimes that’s not practical. Even better is to practice reading the word daily, so that eventually you have so much of it inside you.
4. Refocus with praise.
How often have you been tempted to sin when your heart and mind were fully concentrated on worship to the lord? Praising God takes the focus off of you and puts it on God. You may not be strong enough to resist temptation on your own, but as you focus on God he will inhabit your praise. He will give you the strength you need to resist and to walk away from temptation.
5. Repent quickly when you fail.
In several places, the bible tells us the best way to resist temptation is to flee from it. Yet we all fail from time to time. Notice I didn’t say “repent quickly IF you fail.” Having a more realistic view – knowing that at times you fail – should help you repent quickly when you do. It’s not the end of the world when you fail. But it is very dangerous to persist in your sin.
“These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death.” James 1:15