What should I do when I’m tempted?

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1 Peter 5:8-9

Our Bible reading today as from first Peter chapter 5 verses 8-9. And Peter writes:

Be self controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith. (1 Peter 5:8-9)

When I was a senior in high school I looked over at one of my friends one day and on his hand was a bad burn mark and I said to him “What happened?”

And he said “That’s where I put out my cigarettes.”

I said “What? You put out your cigarettes on hand?”

He said “Yeah.”

I said “Well doesn’t that hurt?”

He said “Well I did it enough times it finally burned away the nerve endings and now it’s like my ash tray.”

I couldn’t believe it.

The Bible talks about people whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron. If you’ve ever burned your hand on a stove or something and then you notice that on your hand there’s that that little mark where the nerve endings have been burned away you lose sensitivity.

Sometimes our sins that we can be tempted to fall into are things that we get so comfortable with, we just don’t even feel that it’s wrong anymore. That’s what the Bible is talking about. And so when Peter is addressing this he wants us to reawaken, if you will, in us the sensitivity to what’s right and wrong.

Now when we are faced with temptations there are different things that God would instruct us to help us stay ready for these. So these are some things that God would teach us:

First of all always bring your own sins to the cross. The blood of Jesus Christ God’s Son cleanses us from all sin. So when we hear that through God’s Word, when we take the Lord’s Supper, when we worship together with fellow Christians that’s one of the first and most important things we can do to help us prepare for temptation.

Secondly, if you know about yourself that you maybe have a certain weakness for something, maybe there’s a particular sin that is just a lot easier for you to fall into. Find a way to, if you will, create a hedge around yourself to protect yourself from falling into that sin.

Martin Luther once said “You can’t stop the birds from flying over your head, but you can keep them from building a nest in your hair.”

What he meant by that is that because we’re in a sinful world and there are going to be temptations flying around us we can’t avoid being tempted, but we can possibly find ways to minimize the danger of that on our souls. And on our spiritual lives. And one of the ways is to help make yourself accountable to others.

A third thing that God tells us is to pray. Jesus told his disciples that they should pray that they would not fall into temptation. And also arm yourselves with God’s word. Arm yourself spiritually by knowing God’s word and having that hidden in your heart.

And finally another thing you can do is to draw on fellow Christians to help you in this fight. Maybe going to talk to a pastor. Possibly talking to an older Christian that’s been through similar temptations. Maybe talking to your parents. There are a variety of people out there, inside of the church, who love you and care about your spiritual life. It could also help you in this great struggle against satan.

Our lives of good works in this world there are always going to be imperfect. They’re never going to be good enough for heaven and that’s why thank God our Savior has been perfect. He’s the one alone who’s been good enough to earn our entrance into heaven and that’s exactly what he’s done. And so God wants us to preserve this wonderful faith in his grace that will take us through the gates of heaven someday. Amen.

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