Setting Boundaries Against Temptation

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The boundaries God gave us do not limit us; they protect us from temptation.

2 Timothy 2:20-22

Do you have a sin that you simultaneously hate and love? You really want to overcome it, but as soon as you’re tempted, the anticipated pleasure erases all your willpower. These love/hate temptations are what cause us the greatest struggle, but sometimes part of the problem is our lack of boundaries.

Although we’ll never be totally free from temptation, we can take steps to protect ourselves—namely, we can establish practices and boundaries to guard us from wandering into a danger zone. When Scripture addresses this topic, it presents two contrasting instructions.

Flee lusts and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace (2 Tim. 2:22). The goal isn’t simply to resist temptation, but to move as far as possible in the opposite direction, toward godliness.

Submit to God and resist the devil (James 4:7). Trying to withstand temptation is futile unless we first commit to living obediently before God. With submission comes the power to resist.

Don’t conform to the world, but be transformed by renewing your mind (Rom. 12:2). If we fill our head with the ideas and priorities of the culture, we’ll be easy targets for temptation. But Ephesians 6:17 calls God’s Word our “sword of the Spirit”—a weapon we can use for defense against the enemy’s attacks.

God showed us the boundaries behind which we are safe. He’s warned that if we toy with our cravings and place ourselves in the way of temptation, we will fall. So draw near to God (James 4:8) and the protection of His Word, wisdom, and power.

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