I got an email this week with some guidelines for resisting temptation. The author wrote, “I was just feeling overwhelmed by the wickedness and evil of this world” and offered some guidlines for resisting the moral undermining that comes at us in our private lives. “There is nothing new under the sun. Evil exists in this world and seeks to destroy us. God’s grace is abundant and reaches into the filth of this place … ”

Here’s my response, including a summary of the original points.

Good thoughts, good suggestions.

As you mentioned:

  1. Awareness of – and learning to embrace – that availability of constant renewal in God’s presence and grace is crucial.
  2. Valuing the great gifts and blessings in our lives that are under threat is a valuable tool. Valuing includes constantly choosing awareness of them, frequently focusing on them, frequently making explicit to ourselves why and how they are precious – and, in the case of persons, in what specific ways they benefit from our faithfulness or would suffer from its opposite.
  3. Quick return is crucial – “get back up, get back to God”
  4. We can Use Scripture to constantly influence what’s in our thoughts, and how our attitudes are changing (or not).

I’d add, FWIW:

  1. Sometimes “flee” is just the best strategy. Physical (or mental) relocation is not cowardice. Sometimes it’s the only smart thing to do.
  2. Use what Wm James called “the expulsive power of a higher affection.” As above, value the goods in our lives. Also make room frequently to just value the Lord, his wisdom, his good agenda, his love for our loved ones, the beauty of His plans for all of creation, his love for us personally. That generates and strengthens the most powerful available “higher affection” – though it takes time. That strengthens the inner man and the values. (But still sometimes you just have to flee, or change what you are occupied with.)

More from the original email (reminding us of that awesome duet of grace and holiness):

“Por lo tanto, ya no hay ninguna condenación para los que están unidos a Cristo Jesús …” (in Christ, no condemnation)

“Dios no nos llamó a la impureza sino a la santidad …” (called to holiness)