A German saying states “the devil catches most souls in a golden net” and when it comes to temptation, this is so true. Overcoming and staying away from temptation is tough. It’s golden net takes on many forms and waits to nab us with every step.
How Christians stay away from, and overcome, the “golden net” of temptation is what we’re going to explore today.
He’s constantly looking for sneaky ways to snare and get us to give into temptation. We can overcome and stay away from temptation though. We can defeat every temptation Satan sends our way.
Today, as always, we’ll go to God’s Word to discover our “way of escape”.
Here’s a PDF with the scriptures and questions from today’s devotion: Staying Away from Temptation with God’s Word
I woke up to a blood sugar of over 400 the other morning and knew I was to blame.
Ever since being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, 20+ years ago, I’ve struggled with food. The “struggle” involves what I eat before bed.
When first diagnosed I was told I had to eat a snack before bed in-order to stay alive at night. Eating a snack before bed, in and of itself, isn’t bad.
What was wrong, were the things I began eating in an attempt to prevent low blood sugar.
After one too many scary overnight lows left me waking up to paramedics, I replaced my somewhat healthy snacks with sour patch kids. That was 10+ years ago and for the last 8 or so years I’ve been trying to kick my sour patch habit.
An occasional sour patch kid isn’t bad, it’s that when I have them, I can’t stop eating them.
I’ll mindlessly eat one sour kid after the other and before I know it…all the sour patch kids have gone MIA.
Maybe you’re trying to kick a tempting yet unhealthy habit. Maybe, like me, you realize why you need to kick these unhealthy habits.
But…I’m guessing you also realize it’s easier said than done.
I can go for months without my sour patch kids and do a great job of either not having a snack before bed or having a healthy ‘good for me’ snack.
Then something happens, like stress or exhaustion, and that sour patch kid temptation comes back… even though I know better and don’t want them.
It’s hard to overcome and is great at coming up with all sorts of convincing excuses.
That quote is oh so true.
God got my sour patch attention, again, when my blood sugar ended up at 400. See, poor food choices affect our physical health.
All forms of temptation, when given into, affects our mental or physical health.
You and I, as children of God, are also the temples of God. The things we do to our bodies impact God’s temple.
I don’t want my food decisions to cause God’s temple to fall apart. I want what I eat to build up God’s dwelling place.
How about you?
Do you want temptation to negatively impact your witness or cause your body, God’s temple, to fall apart?
After waking up with sky high blood sugar God led me to His Word. Since there’s a good chance you may be struggling with some form of temptation, I want to share what God walked me through.
Together, we can make sure the things we do are building up, and not tearing down, the temple of the Holy Spirit, our bodies.
But Everyone Else Is...
“When tempted no one should say ‘God is tempting me’. For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed.” James 1:13-14
The first thing we have to do when working to overcome any form of temptation, food included, is to stop making excuses and own up to our choices.
Because we’re surrounded by temptation, it’s easy to make poor choices and excuses.
Common excuses include:
- ‘X’ person made me do it,
- I couldn’t help it,
- everybody else is doing it,
- it was just a mistake,
- the devil made me do it,
- I was pressured into it,
- I didn’t know it was wrong,
- God tempted me, or
- nobody’s perfect.
If the Holy Spirit has convicted us about something, we’ve gotta take action and not make excuses. As Christians we have to accept responsibility for our actions, find a way out, and ask God to forgive us.
- What temptations are you struggling with right now?
- How are you enticed or tempted?
- What has the Holy Spirit shown you?
- What kind of excuses are you making?
Take a moment and share these things with the Lord and ask Him to forgive you.
A Way Out
“So if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful, He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.” 1 Corinthians 10:12-13
I love the warning Paul gives in the first part of this passage, “be careful…”.
He understood that we can be doing so well and suddenly fall back into temptation. This is what happened to me. I was doing so good with my before bed snacks and then gave into a little deceptive voice that said “you need sour patch kids, one sour kid won’t hurt you”.
Satan lies. Period.
How’re we to do that?
By turning to the Lord.
He helps us recognize the things that tempt and cause us trouble and shows us what is right. God strengthens us so we can run from all temptation.
He offers us Himself as a way of escape and a secure refuge from temptation.
The first step when temptation comes, is recognizing and running from it.
“If you hold to My teaching you are really My disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:31a-32
We won’t recognize temptation if we’re not spending time with God.
Time in God’s Word is how we grow and mature as Christians and how we learn “truth”. Jesus is truth and He’s the one who sets us free from all temptations.
“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” John 8:36
Following Christ involves following the truths of God’s Word, not what the world calls “truth”.
Ask the Holy Spirit to help you recognize any area of your life that isn’t inline with God’s truths.
To recognize truth we need to spend time reading the Bible.
- Would you set a part time each day to spend reading God’s Word?
I like to read a small portion of Proverbs each day. It doesn’t take a lot of time but reading, even one Proverb, provides rich guidance.
“The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trust in Him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to Him in song. The Lord is the strength of His people, a fortress of salvation for His anointed one.” Psalms 28:7-8
We have the Holy Spirit living inside of us. This means our source of strength is with us 24/7.
We just have to remember He’s there and choose to ask for His help.
It’s easy to make excuses when temptation shows it’s deceptively pretty face but Christians are without excuse. The same power and strength that Jesus relied on while on earth is with us.
Notice the battle terms, ‘shield’ and ‘fortress’, David used when he wrote this Psalm?
Those words mean strong protection.
The shield keeps the fiery darts of temptation from making it to us. The fortress means we’re surrounded by an impenetrable wall.
- How does this verse provide hope, when temptation comes your way?
- What does the Lord’s strength mean to you?
- In what areas are you needing His strength?
“The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliver; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation. He is my stronghold, my refuge and my savior…” 2 Samuel 22:2-3
The imagery of a refuge is so comforting to me.
I envision being inside my Abba Father’s house, a cup of tea in hand, sitting in front of a crackling fire, and God reading to me while a horrible battle is going on outside the front window.
Friends, that battle is life.
That battle is the gunshots of temptation the enemies constantly aiming at us.
When we give in to temptation and those gunshots pierce our skin, damage is done – whether or not we notice it.
God has provided everything we need to flee from temptation and its damage. We have to be willing to stay in the refuge God provides. The moment we put a pinky toe outside the door, we risk getting shot.
We have to recognize temptation and run to our place of refuge, the Lord God Almighty. Better yet, we stay in our refuge as we go about day-to-day life.
This is possible friends – God promises to “never leave or forsake us”.
- Where, in the past, have you attempted to find refuge?
This could be places, things, or people. Anything we turn to, in an attempt to feel safe and secure, is something we’re using as a refuge.
I was using sour patch kids to find refuge. How silly is that.
What happened? They resulted in sky high blood sugar that’s horribly damaging to my health.
- How does refuge with God differ from the above things?
- Is there anything difficult about finding refuge in the Lord?
- If so, what and why?
No matter the temptation, our response should be the same. We should go to the Lord. Then we’ll learn the truth about how, as Christians, we’re to live.
When we recognize the truth we can then turn to the Lord and ask Him to strengthen us.
It’s too hard.
With strength provided, we can run and find refuge with our loving heavenly Father.
- How do we stay away from and overcome temptation?
We recognize truth, find strength, and take refuge.
I’ve provided links to verses on truth, strength, refuge, and temptation in case you’d like to spend time, over the coming weeks, studying each of these things.
We’d also love to be praying with you so leave us a comment below or send us an email here.
Friday I’ll be providing some practical tips for overcoming food temptations and living free from the bondage food can have on us.
“The Lord is near to all who call on Him, to all who call on Him in truth. He fulfills the desires of those who fear Him; he hears their cry and saves them. The Lord watches over all who love Him…” Psalm 145:17-20a
Click one of the links below for Bible verses on the different topics in today’s devotion.