This last Sunday I (Josh) preached a message entitled “God Wants you Free,” and ended the sermon by listing six (there are many more) practical principles from Scripture that have helped me and are designed to help you, as a Christian, avoid the temptations in your life. As promised, I’ve tried to ‘compress’ those principles here for your own study and review. 

For any who may have missed the ‘lead in’ to these practical principles on Sunday, I’ll attempt to sum up briefly what I took nearly twenty minutes to do during the service:

1.True freedom is being able to say ‘no’ to sin & ‘yes’ to God every time.

2.True freedom is rooted in a right relationship with God.

3. Sin is failure to let God be God and placing something or someone in God’s rightful place of supremacy (Erickson).

4.When a right relationship with God was displaced by original sin, so was true freedom.

5. Jesus bought back true freedom with His blood.

6. If you know Jesus, you no longer have to sin.


The Temptation Principles

With this background in mind, here were my 6 principles:

1) Power is subordinate to authority.

When you put your faith in Jesus, Satan loses his claims to you, his dominion over you and his authority over you, so that you no longer have to sin. Although still a powerful enemy, he no longer has the authority to keep you enslaved in sin – unless you give it to him.

*Apply The Principle:  

Put your faith in Jesus. Pastor Bill has developed this easy approach to the prayer for salvation:

Admit: God, I admit I’m a sinner. I admit I can never solve my sin problem on my own. I need you.’

Believe: God, I believe that Jesus lived the perfect life I was supposed to live and that He took the punishment (death) I deserved for failing to live up to your standards. No amount of ‘good’ I do is enough to save me, only Jesus.’

Choose: God, right now I choose to trust in Jesus Christ as my only hope. I choose to receive Him as my savior. Thank you God for saving me. Amen.’



2) Don’t take a knife to a gunfight. (Come equipped for battle)

The Bible is called ‘The Sword of the Spirit,” and is the only offensive weapon listed in the description of what we call ‘The Armor of God.’ Leave your own comebacks at home and instead, wield the promises of God.

*Apply the Principle:

Read your Bible, know your Bible, pray your Bible. Know how to use your weapon. Every minute spent in Scripture, whether it is a casual read or an intensive study, is a minute spent expanding the capacity of God’s power in your life, which increases the odds of victory when the first hints of temptation show up.



3) Don’t pitch your tent in Sodom.

‘Don’t put God to the test’ (Mt. 4:7, Ex. 17:7, Deut. 6:16). Don’t knowingly place yourself into compromising situations. Sodom had a well-known reputation. So do you, and you know it best; acknowledge your weaknesses and stay away from the things that trigger them.

*Apply the Principle:

Ask God to help you recognize your ‘danger zones,’ to recognize the things that trigger your pet temptations. Name them to Him daily, ask Him to keep you from ending up there, and take practical steps; put a filter on your computer. Find an accountability partner. Go to a recovery program. Just don’t forget to claim God’s ability to keep you out of the Sodom’s in your life.



4) Pet the cat the wrong way. Pray against the grain.

If you find yourself in Sodom, it’s never too late to pray -- but late prayers are never easy. You can’t start a plea for help with a lie and expect something good to come out of it. It’s counter-productive to start a prayer for help by denying that you have an itch you really want to scratch.

*Apply the Principle:

Let your triggers trigger prayer, but pray the truth. Practice praying something like “I don’t want you to help me, but help me.” “Part of me doesn’t want you to stop me, but please stop me.” It doesn’t matter how you feel when you pray this way. Just pray.



5) Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.

God has promised to always give you a way out of temptation (1Cor.10:13). So when He provides a way out of Sodom, don’t look back. ‘Looking back’ is your way of giving Sodom a second chance. And if you do, God will often allow you to fail and not ‘re-rescue’ you in that particular time of temptation so that you will at least learn something -- even if that ‘something’ is painful.

*Apply the Principle:

Take the money and run. Ask God to help you recognize His providential intervention in a temptation situation and then take His help and don’t-look-back. Get out of there.

-       If your rescue has to do with a particular geographic location, get out of there.

-       If your rescue has to do with something going on in your mind, and God distracts a line of thought, get out of your head and go talk with someone.



6) Failure does not = ‘Back to square 1”

Every ‘no’ to Jesus is no surprise to Him, because He saw it coming a long time ago, just like He saw Peter’s denial coming and still loved him. Your failures will never shock God out of love for you. And Every ‘yes’ to Jesus was a victory, each one remains an eternal milestone in your walk with God and one that can never be taken away or torn down. Every ‘yes’ to Jesus is a rebar-reinforced brick laid upon the Rock, and is preserved despite the storms that come. Failure does not = hopelessness, because when we fail, we don’t go ‘back to square one,’ we go back to the cross!

*Apply the Principle:

If you failed to run when rescued, Run now to the cross. Another great tool from Pastor Bill for dealing with a sin in your life:

1)    Confess it: God, I confess that I did _______. I bring it before you. Please forgive me.’

2)    Crossify it: God, I know Jesus died for all my sins, but I thank you that He died on the cross aware of this exact sin and paid for this sin. This sin was paid for by Christ’s blood. Thank you that He took responsibility for this sin on the cross.

3)    Contain it: God, please keep me from ‘chain-smoking’ my sin; keep me from ‘lighting up’ another sin off of this one. Please keep this failure from birthing other sins in my life today.

4)    Cancel it: God, thank you for forgiving me. I claim your promise that you have cast this sin as far as the east is away from the west; you’ll never use it against me, it’ll never come up again. Thank you for making me holy. Amen.’

You may falter in your walk with God,

But God will never fail in His love for you.


Surrounded By Grace,

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