3 Biblical Strategies To Help You Resist Sin

3 Biblical Strategies To Help You Resist Sin February 12, 2018

How can you fight off lust in a world where there’s so much sexually explicit images?

Turn

Jesus said “that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matt 5:48), so how can we possibly do that in a world where there’s sexually explicit images just about everywhere you look? It’s in public in the way people dress, on the Internet, TV, magazines, newspapers, and just about any place human eyes can see, so how can we keep our hearts from lusting after the images we see in the world? Job gave me an idea how to deal with the lusting eye, and for him, it was turn your heard, or don’t look. When we look at something that might make us lust, the best thing to do is to quickly look the other way. For me, it was Job’s covenantal eyes, saying, “I have made a covenant with my eyes; how then could I gaze at a virgin” (Job 31:1)? Solomon’s wisdom tells us, “Do not desire her beauty in your heart, and do not let her capture you with her eyelashes; for the price of a prostitute is only a loaf of bread, but a married woman hunts down a precious life” (Prov 6:25-26), so if we don’t want to desire such beauty to the point of lusting, we should choose to look away. It is just not worth the grief it will bring in ruined or destroyed relationships if we allow ourselves to act on that lust. What enters the eye gate enters the heart. Jesus said, “The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness” (Matt 6:22-23)! Just as what goes into the mouth, enters the body, whatever enters they eye gate, enters the heart…and often, finds a home.

Run

God’s will is clearly defined in Scripture, where the Apostle Paul writes, “by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect” (Rom 12:1-2), so “this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor” (1 Thess 4:3-4). Sometimes that abstaining comes in the form of leaving the place or situation where you’re tempted. That means we should “flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart” (2 Tim 2:22). Several times the Bible says our response to avoiding sin is to run or to flee. For example, Paul writes that we must “Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body” (1 Cor 6:18). Don’t think you can’t be tempted, because “each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death” (James 1:14-15). This is partly why the Apostle Peter wrote, “I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul” (1 Pet 2:11), and sometimes why it’s best to run when you’re tempted.

Read

After a believer has put their trust in Christ, they have just begun the battle…the battle against the flesh. That’s something the Apostle Paul was clearly aware of, writing, “For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing” (Rom 7:19). Even after conversion, we all still sin (1 John 1:8, 10), so we must “Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry” (Col 3:5), but what can help us do that, besides run from temptation and turn our eyes away? How can you turn away from or run from your imagination? The psalmist gives us sage advice by writing, “I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you” (Psalm 119:11). In effect, the psalmist is saying he memorized Scripture so that he might not sin against God. The seemingly insignificant word “that” in this verse, is the hinge on which the door of the Word of God turns and slams the door on temptation shut. Hiding God’s Word in our hearts gives us ammo for times when we need to resist temptation. For Job, it was turning his eyes away when he looked at a woman. For others, it was running as fast as they can, but the Word of God has power (Isaiah 55:11; Rom 1:16; 1 Cor 1:18), and we need God’s power, which are found in His Spirit and in His Word. That’s because, “all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world” (1 John 2:16).

Conclusion

The best way to avoid lusting and temptation, which can carry us away into sin, is to immediately look away from anything that tempts you; remove yourself from a tempting situation; and hide God’s Word in your heart, because God’s Word has power where we do not (Rom 1:16; 1 Cor 1:18), and we need to tap that power in order to fight the temptation to lust, which could lead to a sin of sexual immorality.

Article by Jack Wellman

Jack Wellman is Pastor of the Mulvane Brethren Church in Mulvane Kansas. Jack is a writer at Christian Quotes and also the Senior Writer at What Christians Want To Know whose mission is to equip, encourage, and energize Christians and to address questions about the believer’s daily walk with God and the Bible. You can follow Jack on Google Plus or check out his book Teaching Children the Gospel available on Amazon.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • pud

    LOL

  • Doubting Thomas

    Jesus recommended ocular self-amputation as a good sin avoidance strategy:
    And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. It is
    better for you to enter life with one eye than with two eyes to be
    thrown into the hell of fire.”

    • Jack Wellman

      Never heard of hyperbole apparently. Sad.

      • Doubting Thomas

        I’ve heard of hyperbole. What I haven’t heard of is a good method to determine hyperbole in the Bible.

        • Jack Wellman

          A “good method” is simply reading what is said and determining if this is humanly possible or not or if it’s the norm. Obvoius, Jesus’ used hyperbole very often.

          • Doubting Thomas

            Well the Catholic church made a saint of a woman who reportedly plucked her own eye out to comply with the verse. I guess her hyperbole meter was a bit off.

            Also, it’s difficult to use human norms when someone says a ridiculous thing like if you look at a woman with lust you have committed adultery. I would expect that would be taken as hyperbole, but many Christians take it as literal truth.

        • Tiny J

          The Holy Spirit. Its why we have it.

          • Doubting Thomas

            This is a wonderfully testable claim. If the Holy Spirit informs people of the correct interpretation of Biblical passages, then we should see evidence of that.

            What do you think would happen if you got two Christian denominations that had differing interpretations of a passage and had the members ask the Holy Spirit to help them interpret it? They should all get the same interpretation, right? Why would the HS tell them different interpretations?

            I think the denominations would say the HS told them that their own interpretation was the correct one. This is because the HS is just the term religious people use to describe the voice in their head the rest of us refer to as our conscience.

          • Tiny J

            “This is a wonderfully testable claim.”
            I know.
            .
            ” -we should see evidence of that.”
            We do.
            .
            “What do you think would happen if you got two Christian denominations that had differing interpretations of a passage and had the members ask the Holy Spirit to help them interpret it? They should all get the same interpretation, right? Why would the HS tell them different interpretations?”
            Yes. That is what happens.
            .
            “I think the denominations would say the HS told them that their own interpretation was the correct one.”
            You just said they’d receive the same interpretation. Now you’re saying that’s not true? Besides which if you have more loyalty to the name on your building than to God, you don’t operate in the power of the Holy Spirit. 1 Cor 3:4
            .
            “-the HS is just the term religious people use to describe the voice in their head the rest of us refer to as our conscience.”
            No.

          • Doubting Thomas

            I’m saying that what we would expect to see if the HS was talking to people (the HS would tell people the same interpretation) is different than what I expect we’ll actually see (every denomination claiming the HS said their interpretation is correct). Given that over time Christianity has split from one group into tens of thousands of different denominations, I think the evidence highly favors my side. Either that, or the Holy Spirit is really lazy.

  • Tiny J

    Some practical advice for people who aren’t babies in Christ anymore:
    If you’re married and struggling with lust, are you actually having sex? I never had a problem with lust after I figured out what it was and why it was bad. As an adult, I had my first real period of struggling with lust and immediately started praying over it all day, every day (I had a job at the time that let me be alone all day). After 5 days of prayer, I was asking “Why is this happening?” when the Holy Spirit spoke to me, clear as a bell. The conversation went a little like this:
    Me: “Why is this happening? Make it stop, please!”
    HS: “You haven’t had sex in over three months.”
    Me: “…Well…that’s not good.”
    HS: “No. It isn’t. Is it?”
    .
    I think it would be safe to apply the same line of reasoning to other temptations as well. Meet gluttony with fasting followed by a healthy diet. Meet pride by remembering Jesus set a standard we can never meet, etc.

    • pud

      LOL

    • Jack Wellman

      Excellent comment, ” Meet pride by remembering Jesus set a standard we can never meet,” Thank you.

  • pud

    Self flagellation jack….every time you see an ad or billboard…I’m sure it would please the “lord”