Articles 5379771397_94984605f6_z

Published on August 17th, 2015 | by Luke LeFevre

Why You Need To Stop Fighting Temptation





Our culture has been molded around temptation.

Advertisements are designed to evoke impulsiveness, the Internet has created a plethora of access to garbage, and not to mention the things our peers present to us.

All you have to do is walk out your door or turn on the TV to see it. It seems to come from all sides. And it’s not just porn, drugs and the like; it’s in every sphere and every context.

So, how do you fight it? Well, the key is … you don’t.

Those of us who grew up in the church, and I imagine many who grew up outside the church, have felt a pressure to just try harder when it comes to fighting sin and temptation.

This pressure could come from the church itself or simply from our own misunderstanding.

My testimony, in complete thanks to Jesus Christ and my parents’ guidance and instruction, has been one where I haven’t struggled with porn, drugs, or alcohol. My struggles are different.

It comes most often in the temptation for pride, which is just as dangerous as porn and drugs.

When temptation comes, our first posture is often to raise our fist and say, “It’s going to be different this time!”

And then what happens? After our resolve has worn out, we fall right back into it.

So what’s the solution? Well, let’s look at what the Apostle Paul told his son in the faith, Timothy.

He says in 2 Timothy 2:22, “Run from anything that stimulates youthful lusts. Instead, pursue righteous living, faithfulness, love, and peace. Enjoy the companionship of those who call on the Lord with pure hearts.”

Again, in 1 Timothy 6:11, Paul has just finished talking to Timothy about different areas of temptation when he says, “But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness.”

So here is the key: don’t fight it, flee it!

God Is Our Stronghold

The Word tells us that God is our stronghold and our fortress. That is something I’ve heard time and time again, and it has been ingrained into my mind.

But as I read it recently, the Holy Spirit showed it to me from a new perspective.

When I thought of God as my stronghold, I thought of God swooping in and removing the temptation from me. I thought I could stay where I was at and He would fall down on top of me and shield me from the temptation.

But as I began to think of King David’s perspective on a stronghold, my view changed.

When David was being pursued by Saul or his son Absalom, he fled to a stronghold.

A stronghold is something you run to. And in order to run to a stronghold, you have to run from something.

We need to stop trying to fight temptation and instead learn to run to our refuge (more on this later).

To give an example, if you’re tempted to buy a car, you don’t walk around a car dealership so you can learn to fight the temptation. Instead, you don’t even go near a dealership so you don’t get tempted at all.

That is how we need to treat temptation. We have to stop feeding our temptations. Because what happens when you feed something? It grows.

So the way to kill temptation is to starve it to death. Cut off its supply, whatever that may look like in your life.

Through the power of the Holy Spirit, we have the power to overcome sin, but God also gives us practical steps. He doesn’t just expect us to blindly find our way.

God Is Our Refuge

In 2 Samuel 22:3, David calls God his “refuge.” When David hid from Saul, he found refuge in a cave. While David was seeking refuge, do you think he stood by the mouth of the cave? No. He ventured far back into its caverns.

When you take refuge in a place, you go into the depths of it. You steal back into the depths of the stronghold until the world outside is drowned out and the only thing you can see are the walls that surround and protect you.

That’s what it means to take refuge in God.

When troubles come, consume yourself so much with God that He is all that you see. The world becomes quiet and the storm ceases because our gaze is fixed on Christ, our Refuge.

Taking refuge in God means consuming yourself so much with Him that the temptations and struggles outside are drowned out and He is all that you see.

We have to run from sin and run to Christ. Flee the things that stimulate temptation. Run far away from them.

Take refuge in Christ and pursue him so intensely that He is all you see.

Don’t fight temptation. Flee it.


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Photo courtesy of Lauren Rushing and Flickr Creative Commons.


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About the Author

is an 18-year-old writer, speaker and sports enthusiast from Nashville, Tennessee. Luke’s passion is to exhort his generation to live out wholehearted, biblical Christianity. He writes about Christianity and culture on his blog allornothingblog.com.



  • This is so great, Luke!

  • Thanks for the article! I went to a workshop a few months ago and I’ll never forget what the speaker said, “You can’t just run from sin. You have to also run toward God.” Which is so true, and exactly what you were saying here! I also recently wrote a blog post for my own blog on this topic. It’s something that I keep having to remind myself of, and I’m so thankful to be reminded again today!

    Thank you! :) :)

  • Haylie

    Go, Luke! This article is a breath of fresh air in dark times. God is our Refuge to flee to when temptations close in. It’s sad how fast we forget about that. Thanks so much for this reminder, bro. God bless!

  • MimeforJesus

    Luke. Thank you so much for writing this!

  • This is awesome, man! Thank you! Great thoughts and insight!

  • Anonymous

    This is soooo good Luke! Thank you for a fresh, new perspective on a couple of things like God being our refuge!

  • Matthew M.

    What’s the point of the armor of God then?

    • Hey Matthew! So these are my thoughts as I’m writing them, subject to change. :)
      “Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes” – we can stand, but that doesn’t mean that we will never fall. We are human, born sinful, and God’s armor is a tool to help battle our sin nature and the traps the devil has set. Without His armor, we are totally helpless, and there is no point in trying to stand, ’cause we are gonna completely fail! Does that kind of help?

      • Matthew M.

        You don’t address what the point of the armor of God is, if we are just supposed to flee. I thought God only told us to flee lust, but to fight temptation. I understand Luke’s points though. It makes so much sense, but it contradicts some things I have learned.

        • Well, Luke gives some references in the Bible where it says to flee, so I think that’s kind of addressed and taken care of. You can have armor and still flee. If you’ve got armor on and people are shooting at you, you’re not just going to stand there and let them shoot. I can see where it can kind of sound contradictory, I hope I’ve made some sense?

          • Matthew M.

            A little. Thank you for addressing my question. I’ll just study that myself.

          • Deke Sobek

            I see these two word pictures as two distinct illustrations. Running to refuge is how you deal with a temptation while you are in the midst of it. Putting on the armor of God are preventative measures to avoid getting into temptation in the first place. That’s how I clarified it for myself, and I hope that helps, Matthew.

          • Matthew M.

            Yeah, thanks.

    • Mary

      When you think about it all the things in the armor of God are for defense, even the sword can be for defense. They are there to protect you but you need to reach the fortress because you can defend (you can only defend so long) but you can’t fight it. Sin is so powerful in our lives that we alone can not beat it. It took Jesus dying on the cross to conquer sin. Compare to Jesus and God, sin is powerless but compare to us, sin enslaves us. We have the armor of God to defend. When you think about it, God has already won. Sin is beaten so there is no need for us to fight when we are with God,

      • Matthew M.

        Makes sense. Bob Schultz in his book “Everyday Battles” had a chapter that was very similar to your comment and Luke’s article. I think I understand now.

  • Matthew M.

    I know what I got wrong. We are to fight against evil with the armor of God, but we are to flee temptation to the refuge and fortress of our God.

    • Hey Matthew! Sorry I haven’t had a chance to respond until now. I know the idea of fleeing anything can seem kind of counter intuitive, especially for a guy. I’m not at all saying we don’t have times we need to fight or use the armor of God. We need to have the armor on constantly. I think the key to your question is that we should always first look to flee temptation, but sometimes it’s not possible. Sometimes we are in situations where temptation springs up and its right there in front of us. That’s why we need to always have the armor on. Though we work to be diligent to stay away from temptation, the armor is there for when it comes. And the armor is to aid in fighting in the supernatural battle that is raging all around us. That’s why Paul says, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but principalities, powers, etc.” Does that help clarify at all?

      • Matthew M.

        Light bulb. Yes, it does. Thank you.

  • BR!ANNAH

    Amen!! Sometimes we think we are strong enough to fight tempatations on our own but when we try it we find out “ooooops I guess I am not as strong as I thought.” I completely agree with you Luke. The key is not to fight temptation, but to flee temptation. Thankyou for writing this! Its a true blessing!

  • Mary

    I have been struggling with a sin lately and asking God to help me. I feel like He answered me through you. Thank you!

  • Skylar

    Whoa, didn’t think of it this way. Thanks, Luke!

  • Amanda

    Wow, good article. But what if you’re being tempted to think wrong thoughts? How can you run from that?

    • Guitar with Arms

      I had a similar thought, I’m on a secular college campus a lot for dual enrollment and my job, and most of the girls there have no concept of modesty. How can I run from temptation if I’m helping her find her textbooks???? lol =)

      • That’s one of those times like I mentioned to Matthew when it’s not really possible to run from it, it just comes unexpectedly. It’s important put your guard up at the very start of the day, especially when you’re in a place where immodesty is really prevalent. And guarding your eyes and not letting your eyes wander and being vigilant. As you know, having your guard up at all times is extremely important in an environment like that. That’s always a tough situation. So it is important to flee from it whenever you can, but then to have your guard up when the temptation is unexpected and unavoidable. Hope that is helpful in some way.

        • Guitar with Arms

          It is, thank you! =)

    • Haylie

      I struggle with this for sure, (if we are being honest, i think we all do.) , but i think that you can still run to God, mentally. Prayer,going through scripture memorization (Yup, you know, “Thy Word have i hid in my heart that i might not sin against Thee?”) or singing a song can help us keep our minds on the right track :) Idk if that makes sense or not but, ya know 😛

    • Hey Amanda, I just gave an answer to Cassie on something similar to this. It’s a couple of comments above this. Maybe that will be helpful for you. Let me know if you’ve got any more questions!

      • Amanda

        Thanks Luke!

  • Soooo good, @lukelefevre:disqus! I wish I had read this yesterday. I needed it badly. But it comes as a perfect opportunity to do today differently. :)

    • Gabrielle

      What Sam said!! 😉

  • Cassie

    I love this article in many ways, but there are some things I think it needs to be balanced with. I think that sometimes it’s not possible to flee. (Actually I think Luke mentioned that in a comment below.) For me, one of my greatest temptations is desiring the love of a guy above God (idolatry). There are things I can flee from to help with that temptation – I can avoid romance novels, sappy songs, etc. But at the same time, it’s mostly in my head. Unhelpful thoughts pop up randomly, and the only thing I can do is choose to battle against them, to catch myself and deliberately rebuke and push aside those thoughts, and focus on Christ. So while running is a very, very good idea, and I think many Christians don’t understand the idea of it, and hence get into worse trouble, I also think there’s many occasions where battling in the Lord’s strength is the only way forward.

    “Taking refuge in God means consuming yourself so much with Him that the temptations and struggles outside are drowned out and He is all that you see.” I really, really don’t want to just be cynical here, but experience tells me that sometimes this is unrealistic. I fully know that maybe I’m doing something wrong, maybe it is what’s s’posed to happened, but I think there are very few times where focusing on Christ instead of the temptation has lead to it being completely swallowed up by Him. What about lust? If I’m temped to lust when I see immodesty, does that mean I’m just not consuming myself enough with God? (I say that as though I’m the one doing all the work to be consumed, which I know is not the case at all, praise God, but it does require a lot of my cooperation.) Yes, I SO agree we need to switch our focus of the temptation and onto our great and holy God, but does taking refuge really mean all struggles are drowned out as long as you keep taking refuge in Him?

    Luke, thank you for writing this article. The ideas in it are not given much attention at all nowadays, and I’m so glad to see an encouragement to flee and take refuge in God instead of just trying to ‘last it out.’ Please do not take my comments as trying to nullify your arguments, because as I said, I agree with pretty much all of them. And I’m very open to anybody counter-arguing against my comments.

    Blessings,
    Cassie

    • Hey Cassie, first of all thank you for reading! Secondly, in regard to seeking a person’s affection above God’s, I can totally relate. I’m going to be very open about a situation I went through a few months ago that will hopefully be helpful to you. This situation is really the experience out of which I wrote this article. It wasn’t a problem of lust, but of keeping my heart guarded. The answer to your question could fill up an entire article (Maybe I’ll work on another article), but I’ll try to give a brief answer. There was a girl that I had liked for all four years of high school. I knew she liked me as well, and I really wanted to start pursuing her. Despite the fact that I wanted to start a relationship with her, The Lord has given me a strong conviction that now is not the time for me to be pursuing any type of relationship. It wasn’t just like the Lord gave me a general rule, He very specifically told me no. But I still wanted to pursue her anyway. Because after four years it wasn’t just a little crush, I really liked this girl. She started to consume my thoughts and less and less of my thoughts were aimed at pursuing Christ. It began to seriously hinder my passion for The Lord. I was seriously wrestling with God on this. It was beginning to become a foothold for the Enemy in my life. But I knew the right thing to do. One of the main times that I would start thinking about her was when I would randomly see her posts on social media. So in regard to fleeing temptation, I ran from anything that triggered thoughts about her. I deleted the social media apps on my phone and any time I began to be tempted to think about her, I specifically focused my mind on Christ (running to my stronghold). Something that I think is helpful is when I say “focused my mind on Christ,” I’m not talking about imagining Jesus in my mind. I’m taking about pursuing Christ like I would pursue someone I was in love with, because that’s what were called to do. I have found that when I’m actively pursuing a romance with Christ, it consumes you just like an earthly romance would. He becomes all you can think about.

      Another thing that I had to do was to take thoughts captive (2 Corinthians 10:5). When the Bible talks about taking thoughts captive, it doesn’t mean locking bad thoughts away in the back of our minds. It literally means to put them to the spear and execute them.

      Lastly, ask the Lord to be your shield. The Word says His peace will guard our hearts and minds (Philippians 4:7). It’s a fight. A stronghold is somewhere you flee for battle. Because the temptation is often something we desire more than Christ. So we have to go to war against it, not simply resist it and hope it goes away. Do what you can to avoid the temptation, and then if it continues to follow you, fight for your mind. That can be the most difficult thing to do, because most of the time you just want to lay down and let it overtake you. But that’s why Paul refers to the “armor” of God. Cause it’s a battle.

      Also, my point isn’t that we will never have temptation when we are pursuing God, temptation isn’t a sin. But the point is to flee temptation so as not to give in to it.

      I hope that was somewhat helpful. Please let me know any other questions you’ve got or if something in my answer didn’t make sense!

      • Cassie

        Thank you so much for your reply Luke! It really helped me understand more of what you’re saying, at it definitely encouraged me to keep following hard after Christ and fleeing temptation. I so totally agree with all you said here. Fleeing is hard sometimes, and so is pursuing Christ. But worth it, hey?!!
        Thanks again for taking the time to respond, and spurring us all on. :)

      • Gabrielle

        Wow!! That was encouraging!!

  • Emma Grace

    Great article Luke! That topic really needed to be covered and you did a great job with it. Thank you. Thank you for backing everything up with scripture! :)

  • Jake Aspacher

    Thank you so much Luke it was a great encouragement!

  • Danny

    Great article Luke! That was really helpful to me. Thanks so much for taking the time to write this (and think through it!)!

  • I had never thought about it this way. You make a great point! Everyone says we need to battle temptation, but really, God will protect us, and fight the battle for us. We just need to flee temptation and take refuge in God.

  • Gabrielle

    When troubles come, consume yourself so much with God that He is all
    that you see. The world becomes quiet and the storm ceases because our
    gaze is fixed on Christ, our Refuge. – the highlight for me

    Excellent Luke! Thanks for sharing.

  • Josh Thomas

    I have to say when I first the title I was totally confused, coming from a preachers kid (slightly hot headed) I thought fighting temptation was the only way in other words I never considered running an option and with the problems I’m going through this will really help, thanks man.

  • Faith

    Yes! This is perfect!

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