Do you ever find yourself before the Lord asking forgiveness AGAIN for the same sin…over, and over, and over? This may seem like a ridiculously obvious statement because it is so very simple, but we need to stop.
Paul warns in 1 Corinthians 10:12, “Let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.” In the Greek, the word for take heed is blepō, which embodies seeing, perceiving, knowing, understanding and turning. In order to turn and head a different direction, we have to stop first, knowing “God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make a way of escape, that you may be able to bear it” (1 Corinthians 10:13).
An escape route, though, is only as effective as its use; when God gives us a way out, we have to take it. When I repeatedly do the same thing, I get the same results. Until I take the different path the Lord lays before me, I end up in the same place.
So how do we fight our tendency toward temptation and sin? STOP!
Seek the Lord
Tell Him our temptation
Open our hearts to His redirection (in other words, be willing to repent!)
Purpose to do what He desires
In doing so, we are “casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5).
Here’s an example from my life. When I am aware of the temptation to shop or eat or engage in some other activity or pleasure because I want to reward myself or change an uncomfortable emotion, before taking a step in that direction, I can stop, turn my thoughts toward the Lord and talk to Him:
“Lord, right now, I turn my attention to You and seek You. I am tempted to eat or shop for find some sort of pleasure to change how I feel right now instead of giving my feelings to You and trusting You to help me. I’m tempted to rely on myself and my same old ways that never work.”
Now, I can open myself to His redirection, purposing in my heart to do what pleases Him instead of whatever it is that might please my flesh:
Lord, even as I am tempted right now to , I open my heart to Your redirection. Your word says You will not allow me to be tempted beyond what I can handle, and You will make a way out for me. Please, redirect my heart to You and Your ways. I am willing that You would make me willing to do whatever it takes to please You. I purpose in my heart right now to do whatever You ask of me.
Now do what He shows you to do. Don’t just fall into that same sin yet agin’ as we’d say in Texas.