My Daily Journal:
When we were new parents, my wife and I learned quickly that it was not enough to tell our children what not to do, we needed to teach them what to do instead. In addition to saying, don’t touch that or you will get cut/burned, we would instruct them where to put their hands and how to hold the item correctly. In addition to saying pick up the floor in your room, we remind them of the rule of thumb that only things that have legs belong on the floor.
Throughout scriptures, but in particular in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus is speaking as the voice of the Father in this same way. He started it with the 8 characteristics we are to do and keep. “Whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great”. “First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.” “Settle matters quickly”. Over and over again, it isn’t just “don’t do that”, but it is teaching on what to do instead.
That is why I really liked the question about practical steps. Battling temptation isn’t just a “don’t do that” – it is a do this instead. For example, taking just a moment to pause and try to see others around us (either in real life or in pictures or movies) through the eyes of their mother and father and grandmother and grandfather quickly and amazing changes temptation and better embodies the eyes of God. If I am feeling angry or jealous and picture a mirror of how those emotions reflect not only on me but on my father (both earthly and heavenly), my perspective and emotions quickly change.
Satan has no new tricks. There are no temptations that I will face that people have faced throughout the ages. There is no temptation that the power of God has not already helped someone else defeat.
“Think about instead…” If covet, think about how God is providing all my needs and joy. If lustful eyes, envision their mother and father and grandparents and see them through those eyes. If angry, think about my wrongs and the wrath I deserve. Fill days with prayer and study of word. Play christian music.
1 Cor 10:13 – there are no new temptations, same old same old – God is in control
Psalm 18:2,3 The Lord is my Rock… I called upon the Lord… and have been saved from my enemies
also: 1 Peter 5:8-9, James 1:2-3, Phil 4:8; Heb 4:15 (included in the Today’s Scripture link above)
Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning.
Matt 19:8, Mark 10:5
Only in the case of infidelity