by Rick Warren
“Run from anything that stimulates youthful lusts. Instead, pursue righteous living, faithfulness, love, and peace” (2 Timothy 2:22 NLT).
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Have you ever watched a food advertisement on television and suddenly felt you were hungry? Have you ever heard someone cough and immediately felt the need to clear your throat? Ever watched someone release a big yawn and felt the urge to yawn yourself?
This is the power of suggestion working within your mind. We naturally move toward whatever our attention is focused on. The more you think about something, the stronger it takes hold of you, which is why the Bible teaches that we should, “Run from anything that stimulates youthful lusts. Instead, pursue righteous living, faithfulness, love, and peace” (2 Timothy 2:22 NLT).
That is why repeating, “I must stop eating too much . . . or stop smoking . . . or stop lusting” is a self-defeating strategy. It keeps you focused on what you don’t want. It’s like announcing, “I’m never going to do what my mom did.” You are setting yourself up to repeat it.
Temptation begins by capturing your attention. What gets your attention arouses your emotions. Then your emotions activate your behavior, and you act on what you feel. The more you focus on “I don’t want to do this,” the stronger temptation draws you into its web.
Ignoring a temptation is far more effective than fighting it. Once your mind is on something else, the temptation loses its power. So when temptation calls you on the phone, don’t argue with it, just hang up!
Sometimes this means physically leaving a tempting situation. This is one time it is okay to run away. Get up and turn off the television set. Walk away from a group that is gossiping. Leave the theater in the middle of the movie.
To avoid being stung, stay away from the bees!