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Meditation and Temptation

Our minds can be a seedbed for sinful thoughts. When we become Christians, we are no longer in bondage to sin (Rom 6:17-18). But we still must deal with perpetual temptation (1 Cor 10:13). The question is: How can we train our minds to think in a way that is honoring to God?

The psalmist explains how we can enjoy victory over sin.

How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping it according to Your word. With all my heart I have sought You; do not let me wander from Your commandments. Your word I have treasured in my heart, that I may not sin against You.
Psalm 119:9–11

Victory begins with our hearts. We must seek God with all of our heart! We want to fight temptation because we want to please God. We are vastly more concerned with His glory than our pleasure or satisfaction. Notice that the psalmist treasures God’s word so that he might not sin against God. Think about that! He is not treasuring God’s word for selfish reasons.

Treasuring God’s word will be demonstrated in a believer’s life because they will be meditating on it. They will want to consistently think about it with a desire to apply the truth of God’s word to their own life as well as minister God’s word to others.

James 1:13-15 explains the progression from temptation to sin and death. The believer learns to stop the progression. Sin is the result of sinful thinking. If you stop the sinful thinking, you will not continue towards sin. Meditation is an important key to stop this deadly progression.

You should always have specific Scripture on your mind that you are meditating on. This is essential for victory. When sinful thoughts come, you are prepared to deal with them. Your sinful thoughts could be related to any number of sinful tendencies, including moral issues, anger, worry, hate, etc. If you allow your mind to dwell on these sinful thoughts, you will eventually sin. If you recognize sinful thoughts, confess them as sin (1 Jn 1:9), and then meditate on Scripture; you will learn to have victory over sinful thinking. Refuse to allow your mind to revert back to sinful thoughts. Every time a sinful thought enters your mind, bring Scripture to your mind and systematically work through the Scriptures. Consider what they mean, how they apply to your life, how you will put them into practice. When you are carefully meditating on God’s word, your mind cannot dwell on sinful thoughts.

Far too many people want temptation to simply go away. That will not happen in this life. But understand that the very temptation that can lead you down the path to sin can also be a reminder of the constant need you have to meditate on God’s word. Think how you could grow spiritually if every time you were tempted to think sinfully, you were reminded to meditate on God’s word, and you obeyed. The very thing that had contributed to your sinful patterns is now an impetus to meditate on God’s word.

“This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success.”
Joshua 1:8

But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night.
Psalm 1:2

O how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day.
Psalm 119:97

Often when people read these verses, they quickly disregard them as being impractical. How in the world could a person meditate on God’s word day and night? You will find that if you meditate on God’s word every time that you are tempted to sin, you will find yourself meditating day and night. This is how you take responsibility for your mind!

Rocky Wyatt

Rocky Wyatt came to know the Lord as a young teenager and began working in youth ministry when in college. After serving in churches in Utah, California and Colorado, Rocky moved to Texas to serve as Youth Pastor at Countryside Bible Church. He served there for 26 years where he eventually moved from youth ministry to serve as an Associate Pastor.

Over the course of his ministry, Rocky has always had a desire to train men for pastoral ministry in the context of the local church. In 1992 he started XL Ministries, an organization that is committed to helping churches establish intensive internships for pastoral training. In 2020 he left his position at Countryside Bible Church to become the Executive Director of XL Ministries and now works full time assisting churches in training men for ministry.

He is co-author of The Youth Ministry Training Manual, a textbook for training youth pastors, and has also written multiple other resources for use in various local church ministries. He is currently working on a book to encourage churches to take the primary responsibility to train pastors.

Rocky is married to Pamela, has two sons and daughters-in-law, and ten grandchildren. 

Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.1 Corinthians 15:58