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The Life Cycle of a Dangerous Choice - Part 6

By: Arnie Cole & Michael Ross

The Answer: Overcome Temptation Through Christ’s Power

I’m thrilled about the second half of Romans 6:23—“but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” We can stop sweating and start cheering. In fact, put down this book right now and break out into a loud cheer. It’s okay if people think you are crazy; this is a crazy, wonderful truth!

While we do not have the strength to free ourselves, Jesus does.

Only His blood can wash away sin and destroy its work within us. Only Jesus can break the chains that bind us and bring freedom through forgiveness and grace that will allow us to escape the wages of death. But in doing so, our “Frankenstein inside” must be put to death—along with our old selves that are chained to sin. We must become new creations in order to be completely free. And God has made a way.

First, understand that God wants everything: the good, the bad, and the ugly in our lives. No “half-measures” will do. (Remember what Anne learned in the “Starting Point” section of this book?) As we hand it all over to Him, Jesus begins His work in us. He digs deep into our hearts and uproots our old ways of thinking and doing things—our selfish desires, addictions, idols, negativity, bitterness, confusion—and He replaces it all. And the God who forgives “and gives back so much more” doesn’t stop there. He takes our hand and leads us to our ultimate home. Eternal life with Him.

Second, keep in mind that the process may be a bit terrifying at first—and we may be resistant. Yet because He loves us, God is always speaking to our hearts, coaxing, advising, wooing us back to the right path—trying to infuse us with wisdom and courage to stay strong, to deny temptation, to make right choices. It starts as a whisper, “No, come away, avert your eyes, close your ears, put your hand over your mouth, think on these things: whatever is good and kind and pure…

Third, becoming victorious over temptation requires early recognition of the conception of sin. As an old saying goes, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” As we examine the birthing process of sin and death, we find that there is space built into the process giving us room to turn around, walk away, or deny the urge to move forward … to abstain.

Finally, being self-aware and honest with ourselves (and God) is essential. For example, the presence of anger, past wounds, confusion, or low self-confidence can create the perfect condition for temptation to take hold in us. (This is the gestational process.) It is affected by certain integral conditions: exposure to the thing which attracts us, access or opportunity to engage with it, and desire for it. What’s more, if we engage and flirt with the attraction, it subtly takes hold of our imagination—our rational thought processes—and we begin to rationalize why we should surrender to it. The desire for it can grow unless we stop the process at the onset and surrender instead to Christ’s power.

After all, there just isn’t room in our hearts for Satan’s lies and God’s truth. So keep God’s Word hidden in your heart. (More on this later.) . The Bible says, “Therefore, let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. No temptation has overtaken you except such that is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able to bear, but will, with the temptation, make a way of escape, (emphasis mine) so you may be able to bear it.” [1]

Now let’s roll up our sleeves and get practical! In the following section, let us nudge you toward change as you engage God’s transformational truths (from the Bible), learn the secrets that are helping other believers (based on current research findings), and chart a realistic plan that can help you navigate any temptation trap you’ll encounter.

[1] 1 Corinthians 10:12,13, The Geneva Bible NKJV.

From Tempted, Tested, True

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