In First Corinthians chapter 10, verses twelve and thirteen, Paul writes, “If you think you are standing strong, be careful not to fall. The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.”
These are very encouraging verses to read, and we can draw a lot of hope from them. When we accept Salvation through Christ by repenting of our sins and asking forgiveness, Christ and God will come into our lives and start moving us away from habits and behaviors that damage our souls and toward modes of living that emulate their righteousness.
What this has meant for me is that I have had to let go of many behaviors, and I am still trying to let go of some stragglers that I struggle with. I take a lot of comfort in Paul’s words in these verses because they say to me that God is aware of what it is that we are struggling with, and that he and Christ will always give us a side exit, or a way to deal with the temptations that we are struggling with so that we can truly lay down our bad habits and don’t have to cling to them.
One thing I have had to accept about letting go of old, harmful habits of mine is that I have to control my thoughts. I may not be able to keep thoughts from popping into my head but I absolutely choose whether or not to follow the thought pattern so that it becomes a temptation for me that propels me into repeating behavior I am trying to let go of.
Learning this has been a revelation for me because I had absorbed a lot of pop psychology in my secular adulthood which gave a lot of emphasis to thoughts and feelings and I realize these philosophies encouraged me to ‘dive in’ to my thoughts and feelings and just swim around in them.
I’ve realized to a startling degree that thoughts can create feelings unless I completely cut off the ones that I know can lead me down a dangerous road, like temptations to indulge in damaging behavior like gossip, over-eating, etc. I don’t succeed every time, but I know that my success depends on my ability to stop the ‘thought-train’ before the impulse starts producing feelings in me that become overwhelming.
To me, this knowledge is the ‘way out’ that Paul tells us about above. I am grateful to God and Christ for giving me back some of my power in my own mind, power I didn’t even know I had. I will never be perfect at it, of course, but now I know that I have much more of a chance of being successful at eliminating dangerous behavior if I just cut off the air supply for thoughts that can lead me down a slippery slope.
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