HELP FOR THE FAMILY | YOUNG PEOPLE
How to Resist Temptation
“Sometimes girls ask me for my phone number and offer to ‘hook up’ with me. I refuse and walk away. But in the back of my mind, there’s a lingering thought, ‘What if I had given her my number?’ Honestly, some of those girls are very attractive. It’s easy to think, ‘Why not?’”—Carlos,* 16.
Do you, like Carlos, struggle with temptation? If so, you can win the battle.
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW
If you give in to temptation, you will only get hurt
Everyone is vulnerable to temptation—even adults. After all, temptation can take many forms. The apostle Paul was not young when he wrote: “I really delight in the law of God . . . , but I see in my body another law warring against the law of my mind and leading me captive to sin’s law.” (Romans 7:22, 23) Despite the pressure, Paul resisted the urge to give in—and so can you! Really, why be a slave to your desires? (1 Corinthians 9:27) Learning to resist temptation while you are young will set you free from much anxiety now and will also prove to be a vital skill that you will need in adulthood.
The media fuels temptation. The Bible speaks of “youthful desires,” which are strong enough as it is. (2 Timothy 2:22) But movies, TV, music, and books marketed to young people often intensify those desires by conveying the impression that surrendering to temptation is acceptable. For example, if two characters in a movie are ‘in love,’ it is all but certain that they will have sex with each other at some point in the story. However, the Bible says that real men and women have the power to “keep abstaining from fleshly desires.” (1 Peter 2:11) That means you can choose to resist temptation. But how?
WHAT YOU CAN DO
Know your weaknesses. A chain is only as strong as its weakest link. Likewise, your resolve to do what is right is most likely to break in the areas in which you are most vulnerable. Which areas do you need to guard against?—Bible principle: James 1:14.
Anticipate temptation. Think of situations where you are likely to face temptation. Mentally rehearse how you will resist if such temptation occurs.—Bible principle: Proverbs 22:3.
Strengthen your convictions. The Bible says that when tempted to engage in sexual immorality, Joseph said: “How could I commit this great badness and actually sin against God?” (Genesis 39:9) The phrase “how could I” shows that Joseph had strong convictions about what was right and wrong. Do you?
Find supportive friends. You can remove much temptation in your life by choosing as associates those who share your moral convictions. The Bible says: “The one walking with the wise will become wise.”—Proverbs 13:20.
Avoid circumstances that will make temptation harder to resist. For example:
Do not allow yourself to be alone with a member of the opposite sex.
Avoid using the Internet at a time or a place that might make it tempting for you to view pornography.
Stay away from people whose speech and conduct make wrongdoing look attractive.
Which guidelines could you set for yourself to help you avoid being brought into temptation?—Bible principle: 2 Timothy 2:22.
Pray for help. Jesus told his disciples: “Pray continually, so that you may not enter into temptation.” (Matthew 26:41) The fact is, Jehovah God wants you to resist temptation, and he can help you to do so. The Bible says: “He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear, but along with the temptation he will also make the way out so that you may be able to endure it.”—1 Corinthians 10:13.
^ par. 4 Name has been changed.
“Each one is tried by being drawn out and enticed by his own desire.”—James 1:14.
“The shrewd one sees the danger and conceals himself.”—Proverbs 22:3.
“Flee from youthful desires.”—2 Timothy 2:22.
“When I face temptation, I reject it immediately. I find it best not to dwell on the what-ifs or the idea that maybe it wouldn’t be so wrong. Letting the mind dwell on the possibilities is what gets you into trouble in the first place.”
“Remove yourself from situations where you’re more likely to face temptation. Surround yourself with friends who encourage you to do what is right. Resisting temptation trains you to deal with tougher situations that you might face in the future.”