Do you ever experience those moments of intense temptation to sin (whether it’s worry, anger, lust, etc.) and find that, although you know you need to set your mind on Christ, you cannot think of the biblical truths necessary to do battle in your heart? In those moments you need God’s concrete promises, the specifics of the gospel, but for one reason or another everything that enters your mind is like a cloud coming of the coast that dissipates in the summer sun.
I have found that the best way to handle those moments is not to waste valuable fighting-time wandering around in your mind until you find something solid and pertinent to your struggle, but rather to create a stack of 3″ x 5″ cards that help you make war with your sin. I know this is old school (I’m sure you can do this with an app of some kind if you’d like), but I find that I need to act fast when I’m being tempted and these pre-written truths help me cut through the ambiguity. In order to do this it would, first, be helpful to know what sins you struggle with most, so you can better tailor the cards to your precise needs.
Here are the categories of cards that I am using currently:
- Bible verses – Remember, these verses do not have to use the name of the sin you struggle with in order to help you. So, don’t just look in the concordance in the back of your Bible and copy down the verses under “fear” or “bitterness”. Use texts that remind you who God is and what Jesus has done for you.
- Wise words – These are pithy statements of wisdom in reference to my sin struggles that I have collected from Christian books or blogs.
- Instructions – These are simple, direct instructions to myself (based on Scripture), telling me to do something specific in service to Christ. Often times, battling temptation keeps us so focused on the fight that we are hindered from practicing active obedience to God, when that may be just what we need to draw near to him in faithfulness. Tip: make sure that if your heart is not in the “doing” that you ask God’s forgiveness and prayer that he would bring it in line with your actions.
- Prayers for others – Since sin is ultimately proud and selfish, praying for others can helps direct our focus away from ourselves.