by Rick Warren — July 7, 2020
“We take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”
2 Corinthians 10:5 (NIV)
The more you think about something, the more you’re attracted to it. So, if you want to defeat temptation, don’t fight it. Change your focus!
“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:21 NIV). If your mind is filled with good thoughts, there’s no room for ones that may tempt you to sin.
During the pandemic, while you’re staying home more, you may face recurring temptations. Whatever those areas are for you, you’ll get discouraged if you keep trying to fight against them, particularly if you continually give in.
The key is to refocus your attention on something else. Here’s an example—if you’re tempted while watching TV, don’t keep telling yourself, “I’m not going to watch this.” Instead, pick up the remote and change the channel.
Temptation always starts with a thought. If Satan can’t get your attention, you can’t be tempted. Advertisers use the same tactic. They get your attention and then engage your emotions. So you move from attention to emotions to action.
Have you ever experienced this: Someone asks you, “Are you hungry right now?” And even though you’re not hungry, you start to feel hungry. Or they ask, “Are you tired?” And you answer, “You know, I hadn’t really thought about it, but now that you mention it, I am feeling a little worn down.”
Whatever gets your attention, gets you.
That’s why, when you’re tempted, you need to change your focus. Philippians 4:8 says, “ . . . My friends, fill your minds with those things that are good and that deserve praise: things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and honorable” (GNT).
The more you fight a tempting thought or feeling, the more it controls you. So don’t fight it! Refocus and replace your thoughts with things that are good and make you more like Jesus.