You have to begin somewhere. There has to be a first step.
If you want to rise above temptation, then you have to know where to start.
Begin With a Proper Foundation
Jesus tells us:
“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.” Matthew 7:24-25 NIV
In order to stand firm against temptation, we have to build our house on solid ground.
We have to get our thinking right. We have to make certain that our base assumptions are correct.
The Rock for Withstanding Temptation
I’m going to give you a foundational truth that you MUST BELIEVE before you can overcome a serious temptation.
I want to reinforce the word “believe” here before I go on. I’m not talking about a casual acknowledgement or acceptance of something as basically true. That won’t be enough.
You must have an unshakable conviction in this truth. You must have confidence in it no matter what you feel, experience or think. This truth has to be the foundational belief upon which all the rest of your thinking stands. Got it? If not, please read the previous three sentences again until you do.
Okay, now that we’ve got that behind us, I can give you the first step in winning against temptation. It is knowing that God says:
Thou Shalt Not, That You May
I learned this truth listening to the podcast of one of Steven Furtick’s sermons. Steven is the lead pastor at Elevation Church – one of the most innovative churches in America.
Let me unpack this for you a bit and tell you why you have to begin with it as your foundation.
Understanding God’s Intentions
God sets boundaries. These are the lines we are tempted to cross. The boundaries are His “thou shalt nots”. A great example is the Ten Commandments.
Steven believes that God says, “Thou shalt not…”
- That you may…enjoy the very best blessings God has to offer.
- That you may…avoid harming yourself physically, emotionally and spiritually.
- That you may…live in freedom from slavery to sin.
In other words, the first step in winning against temptation is to BELIEVE (remember how I defined believing) that God has YOUR best interests at heart. He isn’t trying to take all of your fun away. He isn’t placing undue restrictions on you just to make your life difficult. He gives you “thou shalt nots” to protect you.
God loves you and wants the absolute best for you.
He’s laid out a plan (with boundaries) for helping you experience all the best that life has to offer.
The enemy does everything he can to steal, kill and destroy the protection that God offers.
Why This Is So Important
Jesus said, “…the truth will make you free.” (John 8:32 NASB)
God doesn’t want to take anything good away from you. Also, He does not hold out on you. He’ll give you whatever you can handle.
Confused or deceived thinking about God’s intentions underlies all sin.
Really BELIEVING that God is on your side and that obedience to Him is the ONLY path to contentment, satisfaction and freedom is the essential first step. It is the foundational truth you need to grasp to stand firm.
You must be confident in this even when it is uncomfortable, inconvenient or hidden. No matter how you feel or what you want, you must trust in this truth unconditionally.
If you do, then you will be free. I’ll admit, this first step is a doozy.
Do you have an unshakable conviction that God’s intentions are the very best for you? Let me know your thoughts.