How do you win the battle with temptation? Principle #4. Laser Focus on the goodness of God and His word.
If temptation begins with our inner thoughts then changing what we think about is the key to overcoming it. This is the principle of replacement, the key to overcoming temptation. The key to overcoming temptation is not to fight temptation but simply refocus your thoughts. Turn your attention to good things, godly things, higher things, majestic things. Refocus. Instead of looking at what you’re being tempted by, turn your mind and heart and attention to better things
Philippians 4:8 says, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.” Focus your mind on the goodness of God. Get your eyes off the negative. Get your eyes on the goodness of God. Are you a chronic worrier? It’s because you’re doubting the goodness of God. Whatever gets your attention, gets you. Whatever you resist, persists. Stop fighting it, just refocus. Turn your back on it.
How do you get out of depression? Not by looking at what you are and telling yourself what you are. That never changes you. Focus on what you want, “This is the day the Lord has made. I will rejoice and be glad.” It’s a choice. “I will bless the Lord at all times … His praise will continually be in my mouth … I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Get God’s word in your mind and refocus. Fill your mind with God’s word. Meditate on God’s word. Memorize God’s word.
Joshua 1:8 says, “Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.” This is the total refocusing of your mind and heart and actions on God’s word.
When you refocus, it may mean physically removing yourself from the situation. If you don’t want to get stung, get away from the bees. Maybe you need to change the channel on the TV. Maybe you need to walk out of that movie. Maybe you need to change jobs. Maybe you need to change friends or a relationship. Joseph was in a tempting situation and he left his coat and ran. If you have to leave your coat, leave your coat. Walk out. 1 Corinthians 15:33 says, “Bad company corrupts good character.” You know your weakness and God does to. Maybe you need to be redirected. Maybe you need a rededication to the Lord and His plans and purposes for your life.
Part of the renewal of focus is doing what the Apostle Paul said in Philippians 3:13-14 –
“Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. “
There’s so much truth and doctrine wrapped up in that passage.
“But one thing I do” – Laser focus. Not many things I do. Not a lot of things I do. Not most things I do. One thing I do. What is that one thing?
“I forget what is behind me” – Maybe the past is good. Maybe the past is bad. Whatever it is, leave it behind and move on. Press on. Get on with what God has for you moving forward. “Straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”
This is how you beat temptation.