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Three Steps to Defeating Temptation

Practical tips and Bible verses to help you resist overindulging this holiday season.

Holiday gourmet dessert
Credit: martinturzak

The Christmas season is in full swing, bringing fun times with family and friends as well as opportunities to express and deepen your faith. But along with all that joy and wonder comes something else: temptation. It’s oh-so-easy to eat too much, spend too much and overwhelm yourself with to-do lists a mile long.

Of course, temptation doesn’t just show up around holiday time. It’s with you every day—in ways both subtle and overt. Satan, whom the Bible calls “the tempter”(Matthew 4:3), is an expert at creating custom-made temptations for each of us. But don’t despair! God has given you an “escape hatch” as unique as every temptation. “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 endure it” (1 Corinthians 10:13).

Want to defeat your temptations? This three-step strategy can help:

1. Know your dangers. 
Think about your own temptations. Where are you tempted? When? With whom? Why? The more you understand the situations that cause you to fall, the easier it is to work around them. “A prudent man sees danger and takes refuge, but the simple keep going and suffer for it” (Proverbs 22:3).

2. Pray.
Even if you can’tsee a way to resist temptation, God can. Jesus was “tempted in every way, just as we are — yet was without sin” (Hebrews 4:15). What better resource is there than the One who overcame temptation? Ask him to show you the path around your weaknesses.

3. Plan your detour.
Find a replacement thought pattern. Instead of thinking about buying yet another Christmas present for your children or spouse, focus on how you can spend that money on the poor. Yearning for chocolate cake? Imagine the taste of a gorgeous, crisp, colorful apple instead. Direct your attention to that uplifting book on your nightstand instead of to surfing the Internet. Choose where your treasure is, then focus on it. And “there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:21).

Standing firm when you feel yourself slipping into behaviors that are less-than-pleasing to Jesus is a sure-fire way to draw closer to him. And what better time that Christmas to do that!

Download your FREE ebook, Let These Bible Verses Help You: 12 Psalms and Bible Passages to Deepen Your Joy, Happiness, Hope and Faith.

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