Most of us have it. A late night sweet tooth. It's 9:30 PM, you’re not tired enough for bed, but it's too late for an actual meal. The obvious choice is to reach for something sweet. Maybe your vice is ice cream, cookies, or candy that you have stashed away. Ice cream is my guilty pleasure of choice. Normally I have regrets in the morning when I wake up with a bloated stomach and a sugar headache, but the regret doesn’t stop me from doing the same thing over and over.
I know I’m not alone here! Maybe some of you have more willpower than me when it comes to sweets, but I know a LOT of us fall into the sweet tooth temptation. How else would Insomnia cookies stay in business without their late night deliveries?
Temptations are everywhere. Yes, with food, but we also face a lot of temptations when we are trying to walk with God too, especially in college. I’ve been at the party and not known how to turn down a drink. I’ve sat with friends while they said awful things about someone and I felt like I needed to join in. I’ve been offered answers for a test or a homework assignment when they weren’t mine.
Temptation in college is real and sometimes it feels impossible to say no to.
But we can say no! God wants to help us overcome temptations. We can begin to fight temptation if we try to apply these 4 actions.
FIRST, WE MUST BEGIN TO LEARN SCRIPTURE
Psalm 119:9,11 says, “How can young people keep their way pure? By guarding it according to your word. I treasure your word in my heart, so that I may not sin against you.”
When Jesus was tempted by the devil, He responded by quoting Scripture. Three times Jesus said, “It is written.” This is a good example for how we should deal with temptation when it comes our way.
SECOND, WE CAN REMEMBER THAT CHRIST HAS ALREADY OVERCOME
1 John 4:4 says, “You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.”
Jesus has overcome all temptations. He understands and knows what we’re going through.
THIRD, WE CAN RUN
2 Timothy 2:22 says, “Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.”
If we do find ourselves in a situation where we are being tempted, the correct response is to leave. We don’t have to stay at a party, stay in a conversation, or stay in some other compromising circumstance. It’s okay for us to run from those if the temptations are leading us into sin.
LASTLY, WE CAN ASK GOD FOR HELP
Hebrews 4:16 says, “Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”
Prayer is such an important part of overcoming temptation. We should ask the Lord for His help here.
This is just a starting point. There are so many other helpful actions we can take in our fight against temptation, but this is a good place to begin.
What if this week we all begin to ask God to help us say no to temptations back on campus? How would our lives look different if we committed to praying for that each week until school starts? I think that is a prayer God wants to answer!
Discuss these questions with a friend or spiritual leader to help apply today's reading:
What are some temptations that you or others face in college?
Which of the 4 actions seems most helpful in fighting temptation?
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