Struggling with temptation in our lives and trying to resist is certainly a confusing and overwhelming time.
We feel strong desires to do something that we know is not right, and we have a difficult struggle to make the right decision.
Today, I would like to share with you how to resist temptation.
This is what I consider to be the most effective and sustainable way in the long term.
To talk about this topic, I would like to do so from the teaching of a bible story that illustrates quite well what I want to share.
It is the story of David and King Saul.
At one point, King Saul full of jealousy and envy towards David, trying to protect his kingdom from being given by God to David, resolves to kill him unjustly.
I say unjustly because David had always been fully faithful to him, and had done nothing against Saul or his kingdom to deserve death.
David hid with some men who followed him in a cave, and Saul was searching the area to locate David and murder him.
At one point, Saul feels the need to go to the bathroom and inadvertently uses the same cave that David hides in with his men to relieve himself.
At that moment, realizing that Saul was at one point completely vulnerable and totally alone in the darkness of the cave, David’s men urged him to kill him at that very moment.
Let’s look at what David does in response to this temptation that was presented to him:
David got up and, without making any noise, cut off the edge of Saul’s cloak.
But his conscience remorsed at what he had done, and he said to his men, “May the Lord free me to do to the king what you suggest!
I cannot raise my hand against him, because he is the Lord’s anointed.
In this way David restrained the men from him and did not allow them to attack Saul.
1 Samuel 24:4 – 7
From David, in this bible story, we learn how to resist temptation.
At first reading, one might think that the temptation David suffered was resisted by a decision that was made at the very moment.
However, upon looking more carefully, one can see that Saul’s life was not preserved by David’s response to a single moment of temptation.
Really what happens in this story, is that it was preserved by the character of David, which had been forged in the fear of God in many ways and at many times in the past.
In the face of the temptation David faced, a sanctified and character of integrity was the means by which he could resist the trial.
The decisions David had made in the past were what determined his response in the present.
Small efforts to do the right thing in the past made him the kind of person who could have a strong conviction of what was right and turn away from the wrong.
In times of temptation, when we have a consciousness sensitive to God’s voice and have sought to be faithful in small things, a heavy burden takes hold of our hearts just thinking about doing the wrong thing.
This prevents us from doing what is wrong and makes us hate and turn away from it.
It is an experience that can only be understood by living it.
In my opinion, this is an impressive story of character integrity, a character forged in the fear of God and in daily faithfulness to what is right.
Dear reader, a character of integrity that resists temptation is like a muscle that is strengthened by exercising frequently.
It’s possible that right now you’re struggling so hard with a specific temptation because in the past you’ve made decisions that have weakened the integrity of your character.
In the long run, we cannot resist forever by being intensely tempted over and over again by the same thing.
The intensity of temptation has a relationship inversely proportional to the strength and integrity of character.
That’s why instead of expecting to resist at any given time, we need to develop systems to have automatic responses to it.
Temptation is not resisted only when it arises, it is resisted before it is presented with appropriate decisions that build our character.
I dare to share with you what was my prayer today after studying this topic:
Lord, I would like to have integrity in my character.
Father, show me where there is sin in my life so that I can forsake it.
Please build in me a character of integrity.
I hope these words have been a blessing to your life.
And what do you think? Are you struggling with temptation? What is your opinion or experience? Share it in the comments.