Bible Reading: 1 Corinthians 10:12-13
When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you will not give in to it. 1 Corinthians 10:13
Bekka has a potty-mouth. It’s not hard to figure out that she inherited her unhealthy habit from her dad, who would be guaranteed to win a gold medal if cussing were an Olympic sport. A friend told Bekka that when she was tempted to let fly a streak of swearwords, she should pray about it. “But telling me to pray about not swearing is like telling me not to think of a purple elephant,” she moaned. “I just think about it more. Just praying about the bad thing I want to do doesn’t seem to help.”
Bekka is right. The pressure to fall back into bad habits is strong. Chances are you feel forces all around you pushing you to do anything but what God desires.
Memorizing the Bible remakes your mind. Prayer taps you into the power of God. But you also need some specific strategies for dealing with temptation. Try out these “escape routes” from sin:
Decide ahead of time to do what’s right. Don’t wait until pressure hits to pick between right and wrong. At the moment you’re tempted, doing bad always looks better. (That’s what makes it a temptation!)
Steer clear of bad situations. If you’re driving a car, it’s not safe to swerve toward an exit at the last second. In the same way, it’s not safe to put yourself in a place where you might quickly get into a jam. If you see temptation approaching, get yourself in a safe spot now.
Pick friends who pull you in the right direction. Hang out with people who have the same beliefs you have. Get involved in groups that support your right choices.
Seek the wisdom of others. Scripture says you can gain much wisdom from the experience of others. Talking with parents, pastors, or youth leaders can help you sort out your choices.
Break off harmful relationships. If you are getting pressured or giving in to pressure from someone, backing off from that relationship or ending it relieves the pressure.
Bolt. Be honest about your weakness. If you think you can’t handle a situation, make a fast, strategic exit by heading for the door.
Pray. While you’re at it, don’t forget to pray. Ask God for help, because none of these other strategies will work unless you realize you really do need God’s power. Use prayer as your first step in avoiding temptation—and use it all along the way.
TALK: What pressures to do wrong do you face right now? How can you use these strategies to do what’s right?
PRAY: Spend time talking to God about the pressures you face.
ACT: Think of a temptation you often face. Write down three escape routes you can use to steer clear of wrong. Put your note where you’ll see it!