by Rick Warren
“We capture every thought and make it give up and obey Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:5 NCV)
Here’s the secret to temptation: Don’t fight it. Just refocus. Whatever you resist persists.
Did you know that in the Bible, not once are you told to resist temptation? We are told to resist the Devil, and that’s a whole different issue. But the key to overcoming temptation is not to push back. It’s to change your focus.
Whatever gets your attention gets you. The battle for sin always starts in the mind. That’s why the Bible says in Psalm 119:6, “Thinking about your commands will keep me from doing some foolish thing” (CEV). Why? Because if you’re thinking about God’s truth, you’re not thinking about the dumb stuff you could be doing.
Have you ever looked over a cliff and felt like you were being drawn to jump off? Not like a temptation, but like there was this force that was pulling you. It’s because whatever you focus on pulls you.
It’s true in every single area of life — good or bad. If you focus on godly things, it’s going to pull you that direction. If you focus on the stuff that’s at the movies and in magazines, it’s going to pull you that direction. Whatever you focus on gets your attention. Whatever gets your attention is going to get you.
The key is to just change your mind.
Temptation always follows a predictable pattern: attention, arousal, and action. Your mind gets hooked, your mind kicks in, and then you act on it.
So you don’t fight a temptation; you just turn your mind to something else. “We capture every thought and make it give up and obey Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5 NCV).
The thing is, we’re not very good at capturing every thought and turning it to Christ, because it takes lots of practice. You can’t always control your circumstances, and you can’t even always control the way you feel. But you can control what you think about. That’s always your choice. And if you change the way you think, it changes the way you feel, and that will change the way you act.
Talk It Over
- What do you spend your time thinking about? Where does your mind wander when you’re not focused on something specific?
- How can you train yourself so that it is more natural for you to focus on God’s Word and truths instead of the things of this world?