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.
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?”
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.”
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.