By Heather Arnold
Christian teens face temptation every day, and not everyone is prepared to overcome those temptations. At some point most people are faced with the desire to submit to sin, whether it is gluttony, sex, gossip, cheating, and more. Sometimes those temptations are minor, so they are pretty easy to overcome, but other times the desire seems too great. Remember, though, that temptation is not the sin, even Jesus was tempted. We only sin when we give into the temptation. Here are some things you can do to help you avoid and overcome temptations:
1. Identify Temptations
Everyone is a little different, so it is important to know what temptations are difficult for you to overcome. Some people may find that gossip is more alluring than sex. Others may find that even holding a date’s hand is too much of a temptation. When you know what tempts you the most you can be proactive about handling that temptation.
2. Pray About the Temptation
Most Christian teens know the temptations that are difficult to overcome. For instance, if you find gossip a great temptation then pray every night for the strength to overcome the gossip. Ask God to provide you with the strength to walk away from the gossip and to know what information is gossip and what is real information.
3. Avoid the Temptation
When we know what temptations are being the most difficult, we can prepare ourselves for those situations. In some cases we can even avoid the temptation itself. For instance, if premarital sex is a temptation, then you can avoid being in situations where you might find yourself giving into that desire. If you are prone to cheating, then you may want to position yourself during a test so that you cannot see the paper of the person next to you.
4. Use Your Bible for Inspiration
The Bible is there to offer Christian teens advice and guidance, so why not use it? Scripture verses like 1 Corinthians 10:13, “You are tempted in the same way that everyone else is tempted. But God can be trusted not to let you be tempted too much, and he will show you how to escape from your temptation” (CEV), can help inspire you in moments of temptation. Try to look up what the Bible says on your areas of temptation for inspiration and guidance.
5. Use the Buddy System
Do you have a friend or leader that you can trust to guide you in facing your temptations? Sometimes it helps to have someone else you can talk to about your issues or even brainstorm ways you can avoid temptation. You may even ask to meet regularly with your friend to hold you accountable.
6. Use Positive Language
What does positive language have to do with avoiding temptation? It actually has more to do with overcoming temptation. You need to believe God can help you overcome the desire to sin in order to actually overcome it. Avoid saying things like, “It’s too hard,” or “I’ll never be able to do this.” Remember, God can move mountains. Try changing how you approach the situation and say, “God can help me overcome this,” or “It’s not too hard for God.”
7. Give Yourself Alternatives
In 1 Corinthians 10:13, the Bible states that God can show you how to escape from your temptation. Allow yourself to see that escape. If you know your temptations, know how you can overcome. Give yourself alternatives. For instance, if you are tempted to lie to protect another person’s feelings, try considering other ways to word the truth so it doesn’t sound so harsh. If people around you are getting into drugs, try making new friends. Alternatives aren’t always easy, but they can be the path God creates for you to avoid and overcome temptation.
8. It’s Not the End of the World
While avoiding temptation makes life a lot easier, it can be discouraging when we do give into that sin. We all make mistakes. That is why God offers us forgiveness. While you should not sin knowing that you can be forgiven, you should know that God’s grace is available. So add 1 John 1:8-9, “If we say that we have not sinned, we are fooling ourselves, and the truth isn’t in our hearts. But if we confess our sins to God, he can always be trusted to forgive us and take our sins away,” (CEV) to that list so you know that God will always be there ready to catch you when you fall.