“Then he said to them, Suppose one of you has a friend, and he goes to him at midnight and says, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread, because a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have nothing to set before him.’ “Then the one inside answers, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is already locked, and my children are with me in bed. I can’t get up and give you anything .’ I tell you, though he will not get up and give him the bread because he is his friend, yet because of the man’s boldness he will get up and give him as much as he needs. So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find, knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.” (Luke 11:5-10)
Let’s begin to develop a plan to overcome temptation. Yesterday you asked yourself what is the temptation you need to develop a plan to overcome? Then ask yourself, “do you really want to overcome this temptation? ? Are you yielded unconditionally to the Spirit about it?” This may feel overwhelming or too complicated.
When you can say yes from your heart, Holy Spirit power is released and you’re on your way to victory. Go ahead with your plan! But if you couldn’t answer yes to those questions, no need to proceed. First you must become willing to obey. How do you become willing to obey? Find assurance in the words from Luke 11 that “everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. Jesus was speaking specifically about persisting in prayer.
To begin developing your plan to overcome temptation, pause and ask the Holy Spirit for wisdom. Ask Him to enlighten your mind and bring to mind both Scriptures and principles you have been studying. Ask God to make you willing to obey. Ask Him to give you a desire to overcome. Don’t ask and give up. Keep asking, knocking, and seeking until God gives you the desire to obey Him. Using those points you’ve chosen, plus others you may have heard about, discovered in Scripture, or learned through experience, make a broad outline of your own personal strategy for overcoming temptation. The following is an outline of how you might proceed:
1 . Who or what most often causes this temptation?
2 . What are the camouflages this enemy uses-how do I tend to rationalize the attitude or behavior?
3 . Among lust, covetousness, pride, and unbelief, which is most likely the root cause(s) of my temptation?
4 . What is my defensive strategy-how do I plan to use the Bible, prayer, and the church to build up strength to face this particular temptation when it comes?
5 . What is my offensive strategy-how do I intend to use the Bible, prayer, and the church at the time of temptation?
How did it go? Are you pleased with the outcome? Time and space may not have permitted you to finish your plan to your own satisfaction. Remember your strategy will need revision as you put it into action. No matter how satisfied you are with your strategy, success in the Christian life does not ultimately depend on a technique, a strategy, or your own activity. Ultimately, the Holy Spirit within is the overcomer. But the indwelling powerful One does not displace your personality with His. Rather, He is a personal companion, living in you to:
- strengthen you when you falter
- remind you of truth from His Word when your focus is blurred
- point out the enemy when you’re under attack
- comfort you
- lift you up when you fall
- forgive you when you fail
- guide you when you’re confused
- sensitize your moral judgment
- strengthen your will when you waver.
Glorious as those activities of the Spirit are, it’s not all He does. He prays for us when we don’t know how to pray (Romans 8:26-27) and as we rely on Him, He enables us to pray effectively. We do not have to go down in defeat!