Run from anything that gives you evil thoughts . . . but stay close to anything that makes you want to do right.
– 2 Timothy 2:22 (LB)
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. – 1 Corinthians 10:13 (NLT)
God doesn’t give you more than you can handle. He gives you all that you need to get through it.
We all go through times of complete despair – a struggle so difficult that we don’t feel we are going to make it through. We can see no light at the end of the tunnel and we want to give up the fight. We are weak. We don’t want the struggle anymore. I’ve been there so many times in my life. I had given up on life. I didn’t want it anymore. I wanted to be free of this horrible place – this crazy world. This life is so stinkin’ hard sometimes and it hurts in the depths of your soul. I am here to tell you it can get easier, even awesome. I’m so glad to be alive today and I know now that I can handle anything that comes my way. I may not want to handle it at that moment, but I’ll get through it.
I have God, now. I had God before, but I just didn’t realize it. Or, perhaps I didn’t really have God, but he had me instead? He has always been close by, asking me to trust him and to have faith and to love him.
I spent the majority of my life being angry with God . . . ignoring him . . . yelling at him . . . ignoring him some more. I was frustrated with this life, frustrated with me, with everything.
I had miracles in my life, proving he was there, he was real, and still, that didn’t help me to build a closer connection with him. It did make me never question his existence again, and it made me realize I had a reason for being here. It did not make my life any easier. Do you know why? Because I did not open my heart any bigger than I felt I needed to. Believing and knowing God is real, as well as realizing you have a purpose (even though you have no clue what it is, yet) is not enough to create a close bond if you have no trust and faith that God will help you with every step of your life. That would not come till much, much later in my life (trust and faith).
I didn’t really even appreciate my life until I became pregnant with Hallie. Ah, pregnancy! Nauseous the entire time, but I’d love to go through it all over again. To feel life growing inside you, moving around, created out of love between you and your husband, even though she was a surprise – oh, what a blessing! Best surprise of my life! Coolest experience of my life. The chance to assist God in creating a miracle – the growth and birth of a new baby! Each child is a miracle and a gift from God.
Even these unwed mothers having babies – not a good thing to be unmarried – not what God intended, but it’s not the baby’s fault. Every baby should be treasured and treated as a blessing from God, because they are. They have a reason for being here and a plan in motion for their lives that God had planned long before they were conceived.
I pray each of us gets to that place of knowing we have a reason for being here and it’s an important reason and even in those most desperate struggles, we each stand strong, realize we have God to help us, if we ask for his help, and together, we can make it through anything. I pray this for you, every single day.
Mr. Warren gives us four biblical keys to defeating temptation in this chapter: (1) “Refocus your attention on something else;” (2) “Reveal your struggle to a godly friend or support group;” (3) “Resist the Devil;” (4) “Realize your vulnerability.”
When you say to yourself, “I’m not going to eat that chocolate. I am strong. I can resist. I don’t want the chocolate. The chocolate will not help me lose weight. Chocolate is not my friend.” — thinking these things are self-defeating. Those thoughts help to only reinforce the urge to eat that chocolate. It builds up the temptation. It spreads itself all over the place in our mind. Then, you tend to think about chocolate more than you did before. When the thought of chocolate or whatever is your weakness comes into your mind, simply refocus your thought on something else entirely. Saying “I’m not hungry” is not going to do it. Refocus on something that has nothing to do with food at all. “Oh, I have filing to do.” Ha! Like I really want to do that? Ok, just think of anything other than food. Get up, do something else to distract yourself, and soon enough, the thought will be replaced with something else. Choose something better. The thing you thought about will fade. I’m not going to say what the thing was. That will only reinforce. Get it? Mr. Warren says, “The battle for sin is won or lost in your mind. Whatever gets your attention will get you.” So true. “This is one time it is okay to run away.”
The second key is a little more of a block for me. I actually had this therapist once that I went to talk to in order to overcome some obstacles in my life (childhood issues, trust issues, blah, blah, blah). Do you know that therapy doesn’t work if you don’t trust your therapist? She didn’t really give me a reason to not trust her. She didn’t have to. I start out not trusting. It is a wall I have carefully and meticulously constructed, reinforced and carved over the last 42 years. She did actually say some goofy things that made me question her common sense. Plenty of brain/book sense, but she didn’t think some things through before just blurting them out, although she believed in what she was saying. I admit, I have this problem myself much of the time. 😉 But when you are seeking the counsel of a professional, you want to feel comfortable in the fact they know what they are talking about, and you want them to make sense. Revealing a struggle to a godly friend or support group is not always in our comfort zone. Although, depending on the struggle or temptation, when you have someone you can discuss it with, it can be helpful to have someone “who prays for you, encourages you, and hold you accountable.” Mr. Warren is right when he says “Revealing your feeling is the beginning of healing.” It can be quite liberating and freeing to share your struggle with someone.
Simply resisting the devil is not enough. We are supposed to fight back. Don’t be passive about it. It’s time to get aggressive. Use him as a basketball. Face him, do not fear him, bounce him around and place him in the net where he belongs and then keep him there. When he escapes and comes after you again, get after him again and put him back in the net.
In the Bible, Paul tells us, “Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” Mr. Warren says the first step to resisting the devil is by accepting God’s salvation. “You won’t be able to say no to the Devil unless you’ve said yes to Christ.”
“Don’t ever try to argue with the Devil. He’s better at arguing than you are, having had thousands of years to practice.” Memorizing scripture (the truth) is Satan’s enemy. The Word is a weapon you can use to fight him. The truth causes him to tremble – it weakens him and his hold over you.
“God warns us never to get cocky and overconfident; that is the recipe for disaster. . . . We must never let down our guard and think we’re beyond temptation. . . . Remember that it is easier to stay out of temptation than to get out of it.”
All and all, pretty good advice in this chapter. Do you feel it helps you at all? Are you armed against temptation?
It is Saturday and oh, what a wonderful day it will be. Hallie was suffering from a sore throat, body aches and a bit of fever yesterday but her fever broke around 9 p.m, thankfully. A lot of rest, a dose of kid Motrin and some love and prayers from Dr. Mom and her GranC (pronounced gran’-sy — what she calls my mom), and I think she’s ready to roll. Hopefully, she can make it to her ballgame today. Let us all go out and make it a wonderful day! Love you! *big bear hug*