Another important step in dealing with temptation is making every effort to stay away from it. You can avoid temptation first of all by prayer. Jesus said, “Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation” (Matthew 26:41).
Recognize Your Weaknesses
Second, you can avoid temptation by having a realistic view of yourself. This means recognizing your weaknesses and staying away from those things that pose a special problem for you. If you’ve had a problem with sexual sin, then you must do everything in your power to avoid any situation that could cause you to stumble. It might mean staying away from a certain person or group of people; it could mean avoiding certain sources of entertainment, such as the Internet, the movies, or the TV, especially cable; or it could mean steering clear of the magazine rack in the local convenience store.
If your past sins have been alcohol or drug related, then you need to avoid people, places, or situations that could lead you into compromise. This same principle applies in every area of weakness. If, after all of this, you still find yourself in a tempting situation, like Joseph when Potiphar’s wife threw herself at him, your only recourse is to flee as Joseph did. Knowing your area of vulnerability is actually a step toward victory over temptation.
Fight the Good Fight
Remember, “Let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall” (1 Corinthians 10:12). Don’t put yourself in a tempting situation, but rather, “Flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life” (1 Timothy 6:11–12).
Next week we will consider the question: can temptation actually be overcome?