Where do I get the motivation when I don’t have the motivation? This is a question we ask when we are staring temptation in the face. I don’t know what your thing might be, but whatever it is, at the moment of weakness it can seem like, “Resistance is futile!” So here is the thing. Why are we waiting to fight until we are about to be overcome? Okay, maybe we aren’t waiting that long but if we are going to get some traction in fighting against sin we better recognize where the battle begins!
The real issue in temptation and falling into sin is the condition of my heart. Where is my heart in the middle of this? Why does this particular thing have such a hold on me? What is this path I have worn that continues to lead me here? The following points don’t substitute for relying on God in faith, but the way to do battle has some practical steps we can all take. The answers to these questions may be different for each of us, and we must start when we are strong and then build on it to become stronger.
Here are some battle strategies:
Rigorously capture my thoughts!
This is a wide net! How radical do you need to be? Do you need to give up your smart phone? Do you need to stop watching TV? Get rid of cable? Stop reading fluff?
Romans 12:2 – “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind.”
Create patterns of purity in every area!
This includes the Where, When, Who and What of my daily life. This is an open lifestyle of transparency before others. There are no secrets here. If you have a secret, you don’t have this!
Romans 6:12, 13 – “Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness.”
Push the positive to fill the vacuum!
Nature abhors a vacuum! At least my stomach does. I know I better put the good stuff in or I’ll be making room for the bad stuff and if it's available, I’ll be grabbing it! Aren’t you like that? There are just very few people in the world with incredible self-discipline and they don’t have it in every area.
Philippians 4:8 – “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”
Of course you have to practice the right things. It’s no good practicing bad passes or flubbing free throws. Do “good” until responding with righteousness and generosity is second nature.
Philippians 4:9 – “What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.”
Romans 8:4 – “In order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.”
Ask for help!
We really do need each other and we can do better together. So take advantage of the goodwill of brothers and sisters in Christ, and throw your support behind them also.
Hebrews 3:12-14 – “Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. For we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end.”
Drag it into the light!
There is a reality to exposing our sin that takes the power out of it. This cuts to the heart of our pride and is a test of true repentance. No wonder!
James 5:16 – “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.”
Spend your energy in the right place!
It is amazing how much time and energy and money is stolen from us by sin! Don’t let that keep on. We used to say, “The devil has work for idle hands.” If we are simply doing what we ought to be doing we will be spared from a lot of anguish. If we are fulfilling our obligations to those we are committed to, then we won’t have time or energy for things we should have nothing to do with. This applies to our marriages for sure!
Ephesians 5:25 – “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.”
Proverbs 5:15, 16 – “Drink water from your own cistern, flowing water from your own well. Should your springs be scattered abroad, streams of water in the streets?”
Live in the full sight of God!
Of course we do this! We tend to forget it, downplay it, or think God waives the result since He is all-knowing. But we live in the sight of angels! Nothing is hidden from Him! We need to get a grip on that!
Proverbs 5:21 – “For a man's ways are before the eyes of the Lord, and he ponders all his paths."
Hebrews 4:12,13 – “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.”
There are no instant answers or victories. But we can build strength into our lives and pass the tests one at a time, more and more often. It starts with surrender. Wave the white flag and yield to God!