Hey! It’s Jade here on the Surrendered Stomach blog. I know I’ve talked about surrender a lot lately. The whole purpose of starting this blog has been to chronicle and share my journey of full surrender to God in the area of eating. But I’m not sure I’ve ever mentioned something to which you and I should never, ever surrender–that is, temptation.
Temptations are insanely ubiquitous… and powerful too.
Don’t pretend like you don’t know what I’m talking about. They show up everyday and everywhere. On your plate, on your iPhone (Androids don’t exist), in your closet, in your office, and even in your own head!!!!
Actually, that’s where it starts.
Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away. James 1:14, NLT
There is no day, month or year on which we are free from temptation. June is no different than December and yesterday was no different than today. Oftentimes, we’re so used to going with the flow of our own desires that we don’t even recognize the temptations specifically designed for our downfall. At other times we may think that something is no longer a temptation for us. We become confident and way too self-assured. As soon as we think we’re doing okay, another temptation jumps out of nowhere and takes us down.
But there’s good news!
No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God [is] faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear [it]. -1Corinthians 10:13, NKJV (emphasis supplied)
Did you catch that?
Whatever your temptations are, God is more powerful. Whatever my temptations are, God is more powerful. He too is ubiquitous, rather omnipresent. He can be everywhere and anywhere to help you and I to beat temptation.
In fact, God has fail-safe strategies for tackling temptations and radically transforming them into opportunities to make us stronger, happier, and more in love with Him.
Since this blog is based on my personal journey of recovery from an eating disorder through surrender to God, I am seeking to apply these principles to my current temptations. However, an eating disorder may not be your struggle.
And that’s okay.
You have your own issues that God is just waiting to help you overcome. So what are you waiting for? Take these Bible-based strategies and apply them to what pushes you off the path of full surrender to God.
When temptations try to knock me off the path of surrender, I’ll be doing the same. 🙂
- Pray Like Crazy
Never stop praying. -Thessalonians 5:17, NLT
Prayer is powerful…in more ways than one. For now, I’m going to focus on the temptation-fighting aspect of prayer. And lemme’ tell ya, it works. When surrounded by temptation, as soon as you recognize what is going on, immediately begin to pray. This is the first and most important step in preventing a fall. After all, we are inherently weak and absolutely powerless to fight temptation alone. We are struggling with unseen powers of darkness. As hard is this may sound, it’s true (see Ephesians 6:12). Thus, we need One who is most powerful, mighty, and capable– that is, God.
When tempted, we should pray for God to be with us to give us strength to tackle temptation. Actually, when we invite Him to be with us, He will fight our battles for us. That is not to say that we have no part to play in overcoming temptation. Just as the Israelites of old had to step into the sea and began walking away from Pharaoh (please check out Exodus 14, it’s an inspiring chapter) to experience God’s deliverance, so we also have to walk in the path of deliverance that God has prepared for us.
And what is that path? It’s different for every temptation and every individual. I can’t tell you what it is, only God can. Just remember that God has made a way of escape for us in every. single. temptation. It may not be the same path every time, yet, when we are tempted, we should pray earnestly for God to give us His strength and show us His escape route. And when He does show us, we should pray for His power to take it.
Here’s a quick recap of what we should be praying for while faced with temptation:
- God to be with us to fight temptation for us.
- God to show us His escape route.
- God’s power to take His escape route.
- Seek Support
A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken. -Ecclesiastes 4:12, NLT
God created humans as social beings as evidenced in Genesis 2:18. We’ve all heard the old adage that “no man is an island.” We need each other. In light of this fundamental fact, seeking support from godly people can be quite effective in helping us to fight temptation.
While we should guard against depending on people because our only power against temptation comes from God, we should be open to utilizing the human resources that He has provided for our support. Let me put it this way: Others can help us in our battle against falling into temptation, but only God can keep us from falling.
Support can come in the form godly friends, parents, sisters, brothers, teachers, cousins, aunts, uncles, prayer groups, church members, neighbors…and the list goes on. Just remember to ask God for discernment and allow Him to lead because, humans are humans and sometimes do interesting things (in a bad sense).
However, there are many godly people to whom we can turn for support when pressed by temptation. For me these people are my family, my mom in particular. For you it may be someone different…
Seek Bible-based counsel and advice. Pray together with that person or ask them to pray for you. The Bible says that we are to seek to edify once another. (See Hebrews 10:24, 25.) Thus, while we should still seek to bless others, we are to accept edification and encouragement from others as well. Other people can help us to see things from a different perspective and kindly come alongside us in support through prayer, godly counsel, and accountability.
When we wisely share our struggles and allow godly people to support us through prayer, it keeps us accountable. Consider this hypothetical illustration: A girl is addicted to candy. Every time she sees candy she just has to eat it. Recently, God has shared that its time for her to stop eating candy and she wants to be obedient. She removes all candy from her home and from her desk at school in order to avoid temptation…
Now she’s sitting in a doctor’s office and notices a bowl of candy on the table near her. It is within easy reach and instinctively she reaches out her hand to take a piece. Then she remembers…and immediately asks God for strength not to eat the candy. Since her mom is sitting right beside her and knows that she is striving to eliminate candy, she tells her mom about her present struggle and asks for prayer. Her mom prays with her and wisely suggests that they move to a different location in the waiting room to move away from the temptation. Victory! The candy was never touched.
Even though we may be tempted to go it alone, God has placed other people in our lives to be a blessing to us and to help us to fight temptation through prayer, godly counsel, and accountability!
- Unsheathe Your Sword
“…By the word of Your lips, I have kept away from the paths of the destroyer. -Psalm 17:4, NKJV
The Word of God is powerful. It’s exactly what Jesus used when Satan tempted Him on his wearisome 40 day fast. In fact, you can read the story here:
Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted there by the devil. For forty days and forty nights he fasted and became very hungry. During that time the devil came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become loaves of bread.” But Jesus told him, “No! The Scriptures say, ‘People do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.'”
Then the devil took him to the holy city, Jerusalem, to the highest point of the Temple, and said, “If you are the Son of God, jump off! For the Scriptures say, ‘He will order his angels to protect you. And they will hold you up with their hands so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone.'” Jesus responded, “The Scriptures also say, ‘You must not test the LORD your God.'”
Next the devil took him to the peak of a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. “I will give it all to you,” he said, “if you will kneel down and worship me.” “Get out of here, Satan,” Jesus told him. “For the Scriptures say, ‘You must worship the LORD your God and serve only him.'”
Then the devil went away, and angels came and took care of Jesus. -Matthew 4:1-11 NLT, (emphasis supplied)
Notice how Jesus used the word of God every time. That’s what we should do too. When tempted to think or act in ways that do not glorify God, we can use God’s Word to keep us from falling. Of course Jesus was hungry after fasting for 40 days. Who wouldn’t be? I’m sure that everything in Him wanted something, anything to eat. Yet Jesus bypassed His own cravings and emotions, instead using God’s powerful words to prevent Him from capitulating to Satan’s wishes.
The Bible compares God’s Word to a sword. With it we can slice Satan’s sophistry to smithereens. 😉 Practically, we utilize this sword by reading the Bible and storing it in our minds through scripture memorization. (Check out this fine scripture memorization tool.)
Let’s face it. We all have moments in the day where we have to stop and wait. Many of us wait on a daily basis in traffic, at stop lights, on elevators, for a friend who is late for a lunch date, or in line at the grocery store. It is during these moments that we can seize the opportunity to store up God’s Word and fortify our minds. Then, when temptations come, and they will, we’ll be ready to respond in the strength and truth of God’s Word just like Jesus did!
Your word I have hidden in my heart,
That I might not sin against You. Psalm 119:111, NKJV
The law of his God is in his heart;
None of his steps shall slide. Psalm 37:31, NKJV
The next time you and I are tempted to do wrong, let’s take advantage of these amazing strategies for overcoming that God has provided. Pray like crazy, seek support, and unsheathe your sword today!
I’d like to sign off with this awesome text!
Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present [you] faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, To the only wise God our Saviour, [be] glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen. Jude 1:24-25, KJV