Fighting Temptation and Addiction

Getting the victory won't be easy, but it can be done!

How to fight temptation, how to fight addiction, prayers for addiction.

Temptation and addiction often go hand in hand. Many people struggle with this every day. That's because an attack, or "opportunity," from our spiritual enemy can feel PLEASURABLE, making it even harder to fight or resist. But the intention is to lead you AWAY from God's will. "So she seduced him with her pretty speech and enticed him with her flattery. He followed her at once, like an ox going to the slaughter. He was like a stag caught in a trap, awaiting the arrow that would pierce its heart. He was like a bird flying into a snare, little knowing it would cost him his life." (Proverbs 7:21-23, all scripture quotes from NLT.) What's leading you away?

Even a huge, powerful, strong and ferocious bull can be led to the slaughter with ease, by pulling on a little ring pierced through it's snout. The human master, who is much smaller and weaker by comparison, can control the whole body of a giant bull just by pulling on that ring. Who is your "master"? What is your "ring"? Are you thinking about removing it? What is there to gain, in this lifetime, and in the next?

"Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away. These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death." (James 1:14-15.) It's time to start LIVING. Here is the flip side: "I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us." (Philippians 3:14).

WAKE UP and get back in the race! Get up and run the final laps! Do whatever it takes to FIGHT for your LIFE! "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us." (Hebrews 12:1)

You are either drifting from Jesus, or purposely moving toward Him. Even in carelessness, nothing is mindless.

"Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body." (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)

Jesus died so we could be free. Romans 3:23-25 says: "For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood."

You were bought at a price, that means your life is not your own anymore! Are you LOVING that, or LOATHING it? Pray for Him to remove any distorted thinking that you might not be aware of. Then start saying NO to your flesh, it CAN be tamed, do not let IT rule YOU anymore. Be like a parent who says “No” to a little child because they are too precious to be playing with fire. You are too precious to resist what God is asking you to do. He will yank you away from that "fire" if he has to, and it won't be pretty!

Even if you feel there will be absolutely no benefit to giving up that one thing, just do it! Maybe He is trying to protect you and build you up for something awesome that you couldn't possibly foresee right now. Maybe you won't even see the reason in this lifetime! Does that justify not doing the will of God? Giving up temptations and addictions will be hard at first but, "Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in him. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress where I will not be shaken. My victory and honor come from God alone. He is my refuge, a rock where no enemy can reach me. O my people, trust in him at all times. Pour out your heart to him, for God is our refuge." (Psalm 62:5-8)

You are NOT a slave to this world, or to your secrets, or to people. You are NOT permanently bound to the things you're convinced will fix your problems, or bring relief, or help you make it through another day. You're not ruined. So quit acting like it! There is hope for you. Take that "ring" out of your "snout" and hand it over to Jesus! Trust in Jesus and He will give you victory with abundant joy, just like he promised!

Yes! Start denying your self of THAT ONE THING you think you really want, if God is asking you to! If something feels "off" in life, and you wonder where the joy disappeared to, maybe it's because He's waiting for you to stop telling Him to do things YOUR way!

Are you playing with fire? Are you allowing little things that you know you shouldn’t? Maybe you're in a bad place and you know it, but having a hard time breaking away from the mess you're in.

If we dabble in things that seem to not affect us at first, or get an attitude like “why does it matter? I already screwed up”, or think we can somehow make up for it, or swear we'll stop tomorrow... then we've already started a little flame that will become a giant, uncontrollable, destructive fireball from Hell until you completely break yourself away! And the longer you take to think about it, the more ugly the clean up will be. Or, you just might have to run out the door to escape and lose it all!

God is more patient than we can comprehend, especially with a truly remorseful person. But he is not going to let his children insist on playing with fire without eventually allowing them to get burned by the consequences of their choices. God has been so kind and patient and incredibly merciful to us. When you know you're messing up, every day ask him to help you change, and to surprise you with His mercy, and he sure will! He will shock you with His tenderness and generosity in the days to come. He wants to do this for anyone if they just ask. He is our rescuer!

His ways are always much bigger and bolder than we are able to imagine. Sometimes God's answer to our prayer is only obtained by going through the very thing we are trying to avoid! Isn't it funny how often he makes it so that our "last resort" becomes our only option? What is your last resort? Saying good-bye to lifelong friends who only want to see you drunk? Moving away? Counseling? Rehab?

Our Father promises to bless anyone who honors Him by living HIS way! "Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart." (Psalm 37:4.) He WILL give us the desires of our hearts when we choose to trust Him and wait patiently! If you're really struggling, ask Him to give you new desires. Not just things on this earth, but in your heart. Isn't it your true desire to be respected, and loved for who you really are?

God will never drop success into your lap... you have to be willing to work painfully hard and obey whatever He's prompting you to do, whatever the cost may SEEM to be... for some, the cost is the pleasure of those addictions and the illusion that you could escape reality through it. But no matter how you try to justify it, this truth never changes: that it's better to pursue God's will for you, than what seems to give you comfort. One leads to more pleasure and the other leads to a hopeless dead end! Your brain will say "don't change, that's backwards, just keep doing it this way," but it's wrong. We're saved by faith, not by works, and He is forgiving and merciful, but if we choose to follow Jesus then we have to take some risks and leave that old familiar comfort zone. That is faith in action.

He couldn't love you less if you took a while to quit. But if you pray and ask Him to help you have a better life, you'd be foolish to avoid doing whatever He asks! It may be very hard and take many years to finally go through it and stick to it. But you won't regret doing the hard thing and obeying Him. I don't miss the things I had to leave behind. It's an all-or-nothing lifetime commitment, to be considered very seriously before doing. Count the cost, and be willing to lose it all to save your life.

"When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God. But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!" (Galatians 5:19-23)

The point is to pursue His will for your life and do whatever He asks. Don't put it off, or hope that you misunderstood Him, or try to make a deal, or say that what He's asking you to do is unrelated to what you really want, or it's too hard. You might get really crabby when you quit and keep reminding Him, "I'm not doing this for me. I'm only doing this for you!" That is actually a good reason! Whatever it takes, just do it.

Try this prayer:

"Dear heavenly father, the temptations and addictions are powerful. But God, you are even more powerful! Quitting addiction is hard, it's miserable, and I'm not afraid to tell you that I hate every minute of it! These horrible, unbearable feelings are from the "flesh" dying... the "old me" is dying because I'm starving my old desire to death! My heart says: "I'm angry because I love and miss the smell and taste and feel!", so I allow myself to cry and grieve freely. I see it's a very important part of the process that should not be skipped. My body says: "I don't care about any blessings that might come of this... I want my addictions to be my reward!" Yes it is irrational, and it physically feels like my brain is being pulled in two directions. Knowing that my addictions will kill me is still not enough to make me want to quit. My own willpower doesn't even want to quit. I understand this is the power of addiction. Please fill me with the Holy Spirit who can finally help me break it, forever!

I've exhausted my own "solutions", and I'm asking you God to take over my will, to change my will. It's TRUE that if anyone honestly admits they can't do things without you Lord, you will help them in powerful ways. Your word says: "God blesses those who realize their need for Him" (Matt. 5:3), it's your promise, and I'm expecting you to come through, because you are God and you always keep your promises! So please help me. In Jesus name, amen."

START: seeking professional help and get all the humanly support you can, too. Find support groups online and in person. Make new friends and do new activities that don't involve your old temptations or addictions in any way at all. Remember that this is also a spiritual battle, and "He who is in you, is more powerful than the one in the world." (1 John 4:4). Admit you are in need of help, and He will help you! "My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness." (2 Corinth. 12:9). Prepare to see incredible opportunities to escape.

STOP: giving in so easily. And stay alert! We have a very real enemy that wants to destroy us. Don't let Satan win. When one tactic doesn't work anymore, he'll try a different one. You can expect it. Jesus said: "Keep watch and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation. For the spirit is willing, but the body is weak.” (Mark 14:38.) But you won't be caught off guard! Now that you know more attempts for the enemy are coming, you can more easily side-step them. One day, you may even laugh at his feeble attempts! Sometimes all you need to say is "Jesus, help me!" in the moment you are tempted, then break loose, and run free. "The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure." (1 Corinthians 10:13). Ask Him to show you a way out, and do it!

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