“Fill your minds with those things that are good and that deserve praise: things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and honorable.” (Philippians 4:8 TEV)
The more you think about something, the stronger it takes hold of you, which is why the Bible teaches that we should “run from anything that gives you the evil thoughts ... but stay close to anything that makes you want to do right” (2 Timothy 2:22 LB).
Temptation begins by capturing your attention. What gets your attention arouses your emotions. Then your emotions activate your behavior, and you act on what you feel. The more you focus on “I don’t want to do this,” the stronger it draws you into its web.
Ignoring a temptation is far more effective than fighting it. Once your mind is on something else, the temptation loses its power. So when temptation calls you on the phone, don’t argue with it, just hang up!
Sometimes this means physically leaving a tempting situation. This is one time it is OK to run away. Get up and turn off the television set. Walk away from a group that is gossiping. Leave the theater in the middle of the movie. To avoid being stung, stay away from the bees.
Spiritually, your mind is your most vulnerable organ. To reduce temptation, keep your mind occupied with God’s Word and other good thoughts. You defeat bad thoughts by thinking of something better. This is the principle of replacement. You overcome evil with good (Romans 12:21).
Talk About It
When you are in the midst of temptation, what will be the “true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and honorable” things that you will think of instead of the temptation?
If you’re serious about defeating temptation, you must manage your mind and monitor your media intake. What changes do you need to make when it comes to TV, movies, and social media?
Rick Warren is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., one of America's largest and most influential churches. Rick is author of the New York Times bestseller "The Purpose Driven Life." His book, "The Purpose Driven Church," was named one of the 100 Christian books that changed the 20th century. He is also the founder of Pastors.com, a global Internet community for pastors.
This devotional ©2012 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.