Hello Readers, hope all’s well. Today I’m posting my latest post from my Medium account. Today’s topic is about temptation and addiction. I’ve written about a few helpful tips for avoiding that. Hope it’s interesting to you. Enjoy.
The next post in the Victory in Virtue series is coming up Wednesday, so stay tuned for that.
Whether it’s an addiction or a sinful bad habit, we all have something that greatly tempts us. We all have some weakness. We may be able to easily shake off some bad habits, while others give us a bitter struggle lasting our whole lifetime.
Fighting this struggle is one of the hardest things we’ll ever do, but the reward of a better life is well worth it. Still, we can try to make a hard fight easier by fighting smarter.
In today’s post I’m going to share some Christian tips and wisdom about fighting temptations and addictions through Christ.
Thorns in the flesh
But first let’s talk about “thorns in the flesh” as described by Paul.
Although addictions are demonic afflictions that ruin our lives and must be stopped, we will always have temptations. And we will always be weak to some temptations or urges, while stronger against others. Our flesh nature is a weakness that’s always working against us. It is what it is.
But without these thorns in the flesh we might start thinking we’re perfect. That we’re perfectly enlightened, awesome Christians who do everything right. These temptations and urges—these thorns in the flesh—keep us humble. They stop us from feeling like the greatest Christian in the world, because we know we have an embarrassing thorn in the flesh.
I was given a thorn in my body because of the outstanding revelations I’ve received so that I wouldn’t be conceited. It’s a messenger from Satan sent to torment me so that I wouldn’t be conceited.2 Corinthians 12:7–9 (CEB)
I pleaded with the Lord three times for it to leave me alone. He said to me, “My grace is enough for you, because power is made perfect in weakness.” So I’ll gladly spend my time bragging about my weaknesses so that Christ’s power can rest on me.
But even if our thorn(s) humble us, we shouldn’t feel ashamed of them. Jesus understands, He doesn’t judge us for what tempts us. He was tempted in every way that we are, so don’t worry—He understands how enticing these things are.
This leads me to my first tidbit of wisdom.
Jesus gets it
because we don’t have a high priest who can’t sympathize with our weaknesses but instead one who was tempted in every way that we are, except without sin.Hebrews 4:15 (CEB)
One thing that makes our thorns in the flesh harder to bear is the shame we feel over them. We might think our addictions, habits, or urges are foolish, embarrassing, disgusting, immoral, childish, or whatever. For example, gambling is an incredibly strong addiction, every bit as strong as drugs. And gambling addicts often feel crushing shame about giving over their life and all their money to games of chance.
These feelings make us hesitant to talk about our thorns in the flesh with people. But we don’t need to feel any shame when we talk to Jesus. Hebrews 4:15 says that He gets it, He knows all about the weakness of flesh. He knows all the ways we’re tempted, and He knows why they appeal.
Thank the LORD we have a Savior who understands our thorns in the flesh. He doesn’t judge us as foolish or disgusting for our thorns we feel foolish or disgusted about. There’s no addiction, or anything at all for that matter, that can make Him stop loving us. That’s Romans 8:38.
I’m convinced that nothing can separate us from God’s love in Christ Jesus our Lord: not death or life, not angels or rulers, not present things or future things, not powers or height or depth, or any other thing that is created.Romans 8:38–39 (CEB)
So we have the ultimate ally in our fight against temptation and addiction, and one who understands every ounce of our struggle. Don’t let this blessing go to waste—talk to Jesus about our thorns in the flesh!
And don’t wait too long to do it. That’s my next advice.
Hit the brakes on time
Jesus will help us to resist temptation. He can grant us the fortitude to resist, if we call on Him. But we should call Him on time!
I’m sure you know how oftentimes when we get tempted with our weakness, we follow it and start to indulge the temptation, even though we know it’s wrong or don’t really want to do it. Our flesh takes over and we lead ourselves into temptation. Before we know it, we’ve failed ourselves again and relapsed at whatever it is we’re trying to kick. It happens so fast.
Can anyone else relate?
Well, we should learn to outsmart our flesh. Imagine if you’re driving, and you see a cliff up ahead. When are you going to hit the brakes? Of course you would hit the brakes ASAP and stop the car now, rather than waiting another 200 meters.
Same thing with calling on Christ for help. When we see we’re headed into temptation, we need to call on Jesus ASAP. Don’t wait until we get closer to temptation! It’s harder to stop then, and a more precarious situation.
Besides that, to continue with the car metaphor, we must also watch where we’re driving. That’s my next advice.
Don’t tempt temptation
If we play with fire, we’re going to get burned. To be safe we need to avoid the fire altogether, as best we can. We must not tempt ourselves when we don’t need to!
I wrote another post on this exact topic titled “Lead Yourself Not into Temptation.” In that post I said that life is already guaranteed to be difficult. We’re going to go through many seasons of suffering, during which we’ll be tempted. God will make us walk through the valley of the shadow of death many times. So why go down there when we don’t need to?!
Temptation is a constant in life. To stay as strong as possible against it, we need to stay away from it. Don’t go toward it when we don’t need to. Don’t deal with when we don’t need to.
Don’t think about it when it’s not in our face. If we think about it for more than a few moments, we won’t be able to stop thinking about getting it. Soon enough we’ll go out to get it, whatever it is. All thoughts about our thorn in the flesh must be shut down quick!
So to succeed at not leading ourselves into temptation, we should follow the proven addiction recovery advice of removing from our life the “people, places, and things” associated with our addiction or temptation. If we keep those parts of our life, we’ll always be tempted.
To put a Christian angle on that, pray to the LORD that He will guide our path. Pray to Him that He might keep us away from temptation. And pray for the wisdom to recognize the situations we need to avoid or run from.
An addiction gets out of hand so quickly. Never tempt temptation. Stay away from temptation and don’t even think about it. Because God will lead us through many dark times in our life when we’ll be horribly tempted, looking for relief or escape.
So when times are good and we’re not being tempted, we don’t need to stick our hand in the fire to see if it’s hot. All we need to do is think back and remember that it burns.
Rely on God
The last piece of wisdom is to rely on Jesus’s strength to resist our thorn in the flesh. To stay strong in our battle against addiction and temptation.
We need His power to be able to succeed and stay free, in recovery. If we rely on our own resistance, we’re bound to fail at some point. Could be sooner, could be later, but we will slip up and fall if we rely on our own power.
We have the ultimate recovery ally on our side—accept His help! Jesus wants us to be free from all our addictions, and our bad habits. Although our thorn in the flesh will always remain, Jesus wants us to master it rather than the other way around.
He will teach us how to do so, and He will grant us strength to resist temptation when we call on Him. How fortunate for us, because as I’m sure you all know, we try as hard as we can, try everything we can think of, yet we still fall into temptation.
We all need to realize we’re powerless against addiction and temptation. We have no power of our own to rely on. But Jesus Christ has all the power, and He is the power. He is all the power we need, and He will lend us that power when we need it.
So we must learn to rely on His power. Only then can we fight.
And fight we must! That brings us to the final bit of wisdom.
Try again, and again, and again …
This is, hands down, the most important thing we need to understand when trying to kick an addiction or fight temptation.
When we fall (which we will), we need to get up quick. And the next time we fall, we need to get up again. And again. And again. And again and again … as long as it takes. If it takes our whole life, then that’s how long we need to fight for.
No one can stop a person who never gives up! And, a person who never gives up can’t fail. We only fail once we stop trying.
We need to keep fighting temptation, and keep getting up when we get knocked down! Because we can be sure we’ll get knocked down sometimes, but we’re not out of the fight until we give up.
Pray to the LORD for the strength it takes to fight this battle. Don’t give up, because there is a light at the end of the tunnel if we don’t. That’s Galatians 6:9.
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.Galatians 6:9 (NIV)
To defeat addiction, reform sinful habits, and resist temptation is as simple (and as painfully difficult) as never throwing in the towel.
Don’t get tired of doing good
I hope some of this has been helpful. There’s much more I could say, but I need to end this post somewhere or I’ll keep going forever.
Some of this wisdom can be “de-Christianized” and still be valid. But I tried to put a Christian spin on it whenever I could.
Here’s another thing we should remember: We’re doing good!
Yes, if we’re trying to reform ourselves, we’re doing the right thing and we’re going in the right direction. That’s very important, and many people don’t care about it. If we’re making a serious effort to defeat or resist any thorn in our flesh, whether it’s an addiction or a sinful bad habit, we’re doing a good thing.
So, like Galatians 6:9 says, don’t get tired of doing a good thing. As long as we don’t give up, we will reap the benefits when we overcome.
Well that’s all for today. If you enjoyed today’s post, please be sure to Subscribe using the link below. And please consider Supporting My Blog using the Tip Jar. Any amount is much appreciated!
Until next time, be strong and do good!
Your new best friend in Christ,
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