– Rick Warren
From what I understand, a tree grows most rapidly during times of strong winds. You might think a tree would grow fastest during calm winds and good rain, but the fact is, the resistance of the tree from the wind makes it grow faster. In a similar way, every time we resist sin when we are tempted, we become more like Christ because no one has resisted to the point of bloodshed like Jesus did, as the author of Hebrews writes, “In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood” (Heb. 12:4). Resisting and defeating temptation makes us more like Jesus, which is a very good thing.
Hiding His Word
The psalmist gives us a great way to resist temptation and not be overcome by sin, writing, “I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you” (Psalm 119:11). This storing up of God’s Word means memorizing Scripture and quoting it when we are tempted to sin. Memorizing and quoting Scripture in your mind is like taking up “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Eph. 6:17) and using it to fight temptation. It’s the only offensive weapon in the armor of God, but it is enough!
Covenant With God
Job had a great idea: He made a covenant with his eyes! You’re thinking, “What?” Job said, “I have made a covenant with my eyes; how then could I gaze at a virgin” (Job 31:1), meaning that when he was tempted to look at a woman, he vowed to look away, thereby avoiding lusting in his heart for her because Jesus saw lusting as committing adultery of the heart (Matt. 5:28). When I’m at home and some graphic sexual or violent image comes on, I flip the remote immediately. I don’t watch a lot of TV because it’s bad for the “eye gate.” So covenant with God to look away, and you’ll live a holier life and become more like Jesus.
Be a Person of Prayer
Jesus gave us good advice to fight temptation, saying, “Rise and pray that you may not enter into temptation” (Luke 22:46). Prayer is a great way to fight temptation because when we are speaking with God, it’s a lot harder to cave into temptation and sin. Jesus was a man of prayer, and I’m not sure He could have done all He did without devoting so much time to it. If Jesus spent so much time in prayer, then how much more do we need it, being frail and feeble? Praying will help us avoid temptation, which can lead to sin, and this makes us more like Christ.
Don’t lose heart. You can defeat temptation by giving every ounce of your strength to resist it, by memorizing God’s Word, by making a covenant ahead of time to guard your eyes, and by being a man or woman of prayer. The more we defeat our temptations, the more we become like Christ. Is there any goal more worthy than that?