So far, in this mini-series, we’ve talked about falling into temptation; worshipping idols; and what things in our life is taking precedence over the priority list. Today, I want to talk about how to get back on track when we have fallen into the temptation of worshipping the idols in our lives, and allowing things to take the place of our priorities instead of God.
How do we get back on track and stay there?
- Identify what is causing you to get off track.
Have you sat down and made a list of the things that are getting in the way of you having your quiet time each morning, or quality time with your family, or building a better marriage or relationship with your kids? If not, I would highly encourage you to do so. Be real with yourself. Be honest.
Identify the areas that are showing up over and over again. Is it too much time on Facebook? Is it spending money frivolously? Is work taking up so much of your time you have nothing to give your family? What about television? Is it taking up so much of your time that there is no room for communication in your home anymore?
These are all areas that I had to take a good hard look at in my own life! I know you can probably relate to some of these things yourself.
As I said in #1 above, we have to identify what is causing us to get off track first.
After we have discovered the “what”, it’s time to discover the why.
2. Identify the “why.”
Let’s take television as an example. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Why am I watching television?
- Is it for entertainment?
- Is it because I am bored?
- Is it because there is nothing else to do?
- Is it because I just need some down time?
For myself, I work at home. Until we started taking children into our home from Safe Families for Children, I was home alone most of the daytime hours when my husband would work days. When he worked nights, I was home most of the time alone, because he was either sleeping or working. So I found myself trying to drown out the silence! I needed the noise because otherwise, it was just too quiet! (Now that we have kids in the house, trust me, the silence is no longer an issue!) :-)
But again, I have to go back to why the silence was bothering me. The only thing I could come up with is that the silence represented me being alone. I don’t like to be alone. Yes, there are days where being alone is nice, but when it happens a lot, I don’t like it. I would start to find myself getting bored, or lonely, so I would turn on the television for “company”. Sounds weird, huh? To put it in deeper context: I was trying to fill a void in my life.
3. Identify the “how.”
What happens when we try to fill a void with something other than Jesus? What happens when we cave into our fleshly desires? What happens when we don’t listen to the Holy Spirit prodding us to read the Word, or take a walk, or call a friend, or or or….??? We take our eyes off of Jesus, and we begin to sink, like Peter did in Matthew 14:28-30:
“And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be you, bid me come to you on the water. And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me.”
When Peter took his eyes off of Jesus, and began to look at the storm around him, fear crept in, and he began to sink. That’s what happens with us, too, when we take our eyes off of Jesus; the boredom, loneliness, worry, stress, fear, all begin to creep in, along with many other things! As we talked about in Tuesday and Wednesday’s blogs, we have to keep our eyes focused on JESUS at all times, or we will fall into temptation!
Now that we have identified the triggers, let’s talk about HOW to get out of temptation. We’ve already indentified one way: Keep our eyes focused on JESUS. We are guaranteed a way out of temptation if we keep our eyes on Jesus. Let’s look at 1 Corinthians 10:13, and see what God promises us here:
“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And 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.”
First we see that there is NO temptation that is able to take us over. Why? Because God promises that He will not let us be tempted beyond what we can bear. He didn’t say we would never be tempted, or that we would never have fleshly desires, but He did say that He would provide a way out of these temptations when they did come! Praise God!! That is a promise that God has made to us! Amen!
So the first thing we need to do is ASK the Lord for a way out of this temptation. Asking means we need to communicate our weakness (John 15:5) to Him first, and then ask (2 Timothy 2:22) for His help. Then since we already know that we are unable to get away from this temptation in our own power, we need to depend on GOD and His power! Our flesh is weak! But God is able to do anything, even the things that we think are simply impossible!
His way is always the best escape, or exit door, we can find!! John 10:9: “I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved…” God will rescue us, if we trust Him! (2 Peter 2:9)
We also need to remember that we cannot do this in our own strength! Our flesh will always fail! (Colossians 2:21-23) It is only inHis strength that we are able to do ALL things!
Escaping temptation is our duty as a Christian. We have to start by identifying the “what,” followed by the “why,” then proceeding with the “how.” We have to trust that God will always provide a way out of our temptation…no matter what it is, and no matter how strong it is! We need to keep our eyes focused on Him. Cling to Him. Surrender to Him. Run to Him. Never trust the flesh. Always trust the Holy Spirit.
This concludes my series on “I AM Free to Run.” I hope you have enjoyed it. I hope you were able to gain something from this series.
My prayer for you is that you will always seek God, in the good times and bad; in the easy times and tough! He is always there for you, no matter what your circumstances are, or how big they are!
Always remember, there is NOTHING impossible for God!
Always In His Love,