How to Overcome: Fight, Fast, Flee

A friend who attended the Pure Life annual conference this past weekend reminded me of some helpful advice which if followed can make the difference between a person overcoming addiction or falling prey to it.  The principles are these:   Fight, Fast and Flee.  

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Fight

Overcoming does not come without a fight.   It requires a battle mentality.   We must not forget that we have an enemy, prowling around like a lion, seeking whom he might devour (1 Peter 5:8).

We must not be surprised when temptation comes, or think we have done something wrong simply because we are being tempted.   Temptation provides us with an opportunity to resist the devil and say no to our impulsive desires.   We must remember that no temptation has overcome us that is not common to man, and that with every temptation God provides a way out (1 Cor. 10:13).

So many times I thought I was struggling, or fighting, against my addiction when really I was caving in at the first signs of  battle!  Develop a warrior mentality.  God has called you to be an over-comer, a victor, and has equipped you with every spiritual blessing (Eph. 1) and filled you with the same power which raised Christ from the dead!   You, dear reader, are a fighter, and it’s time to win some battles.

For more on this topic read “Are you REALLY struggling against habitual sin?”  

Fast

Overcoming does not happen without fasting.   Fasting is not just giving up food.  It can and often includes giving up things like TV, internet, social media, secular music, drinking, a hobby, or anything else which feeds the flesh.

When we say no to things which we think we need for periods of time (and in some cases, forever) we build our spiritual muscles as well as our confidence in our ability to withstand temptation.  When I began fasting from food for 24 hours once a week I was surprised to discover how much that practice would help free me from my own addictive behavior.   Learning to say “no” to a growling stomach helped me to see that I was not a slave to my desires and could therefore also say “no” to temptations to lust.

If you are not experiencing lasting victory over your addictive behavior then I commend to you the practice of fasting.

For more on this topic read “How Fasting Saved My Life, and Might Save Yours, Too.”

Flee

Overcoming does not happen without fleeing.   1 Cor. 6:18 says to “Flee from sexual immorality.”   Run!   Get as far away from it as you can!

Psalm 1 says a blessed man is one won’t walk in the way of the wicked, nor stand in the way of sinners, or sit in the seat of scoffers.   The word-picture here is a person who first walks by something enticing and rather than continue walking (or better yet, run!) he stops and stands around, taking in the scene.   Soon he is no longer standing but sitting in it.

One way to flee is by not giving the devil an opportunity to entice us to stand or sit around in our sin (Eph. 4:27).   If you struggle with sexual sin it is imperative you put filters on your computers and phones, along with accountability software which sends a list of websites viewed to your accountability partners.   Covenant Eyes and X3Watch are just two of many great places to start shopping for that kind of support.

Jesus said if our eye causes us to sin, gouge it out (Matt. 18:19).    The meaning here is to take sin seriously.  When temptation comes, run!  Get out of that situation as fast as possible.   Get a friend on speed-dial who you can call and talk with, who will help lead you back to God’s truth.    Whatever you need to do, flee!

 

FIGHT, FAST, and FLEE.   Apply these principles to your daily walk with God and see if He does not grant you the strength and victory His word promises.   We are more than conquerors in all things through Christ who loved us (Rom. 8:37)!

 

Please feel free to share how you have experienced victory when applying these or other principles.

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4 thoughts on “How to Overcome: Fight, Fast, Flee

  1. I think you could add in here too, one needs productive ways to redirect one’s energy positively. In dealing with temptation, recourse to prayer is key- Lord, deliver me from evil! Lord, give me the desire of my heart- (this one meaning both be the object of my desire, and then also fulfill it).
    One more perhaps helpful thing- buy a good pair of tennis shoes and take up running, or running and walking- when you talk about ‘fleeing’ or mortification of the flesh- we can recall that St. Paul said, ‘I buffet my body…” and especially for men- God made men to be physically active, strong, powerful, disciplined and self-possessed. Working out in some form is imperative. Some HIIT one can do anywhere with pushups, situps, and weights, With fasting- replacing what you are giving up with a higher good or holy pursuit is wise too.
    One might say when I am tempted to whatever disordered inclination, I will first pray, then act against the wickedness tempting- a) direct my mind to higher things ( I heard about one guy who memorized all the hymns in the hymn book and this helped him overcome- so perhaps an outlet in sanctified music is helpful because it takes a different sense and builds the soul through that when another sense is being mortified (sight, or touch for example).
    And there are times when contemplating the crucified Jesus is also very powerful for breaking the influence of the enemy in temptation- in those dire moments when the last ditch effort requires that we ‘suffer well’, intentionally immersing oneself in harnessing our imaginations to be with Jesus in His passion can open up the interior space to escape the disorder and replace it with an increased love for God.
    And I would actually also be remiss if I did not tell you that as a Catholic the sacrament of Confession confers a type of grace one cannot receive otherwise, that breaks the power of the enemy in habitual sin, and gives a unique strength to overcome. The silver bullet is always centered in grace garnered through the blood of Jesus Christ, but there is a cooperation necessary in the will of the person. This is a mystery, but I know it is real, because I have experienced it.

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