OVERCOMING SIN AND TEMPTATION
In 1972, a well-known psychologist, Walter Mischel, conducted an experiment where children were offered one marshmallow which they could have immediately, or two treats if they resisted and waited for 15 minutes. This was known as the Stanford Marshmallow Experiment. Although most children could not resist the marshmallow, some children successfully resisted the temptation and were rewarded, doubly. Although most of us don’t struggle with marshmallows anymore, all of us struggle with sin and temptation. As we step into an Open Heaven, this is how the enemy will try to trip us up.
The good news is that God promises to be faithful in times of temptation, and will not allow us to be tempted beyond what we can endure. God also promises that when we are faced with temptation, He will provide a way out for us! Matthew 26:41 tells us how we can overcome temptation:
Firstly, we need to “keep watch”. Be on the lookout for what trips you up. Are you more susceptible when you're feeling down, or when you’re alone, or when you haven’t spent time with God? God has also given us a community of believers so we can be accountable and look out for one another.
Secondly, we need to pray. Turning to God is the surest way to run from sin and temptation. He is light, and the darkness flees in His presence. So many times we turn to our own strength and willpower to run away from sin, when what we needed to do was to have the strength and willpower to run towards God and be in His presence. Strengthen your spirit through prayer. Fast and deny the flesh, and yield instead to the desires of the Spirit.
As you do this, believe that God will lead you out of these 21 days with victory over sin and temptation, and into the wide open heaven that He has promised!
Identify the circumstances where you are most likely to give in to temptation and share this with a leader or trusted friend. Bringing it to light is the first step towards overcoming the enemy.
As Jesus did, memorise one or two verses of Scripture that will enable you to fight temptation when you need it most.
Dear God, I thank You that You are faithful, and that You will provide a way out for me when I am tempted. I declare that You have won the victory over sin and death, so I can also experience victory over temptation. I step into the life of calling and the Open Heaven that You have for me! In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.