David says in Psalm 51:10, “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me” (NIV). The truth remains that only God, let me repeat, only God has the power to change us from the inside. Let’s take the example of lust. Many people struggle with this, even in the church. Lust doesn’t start in your behavior or background or just your feelings. It begins in the heart. God created our heart with the capacity to desire God and find our complete enjoyment in him. Lust is the opposite; it desires things God has forbidden. Now, being tempted by evil is not sin. Jesus himself was tempted (Matthew 4:1). But when the temptation drags us away from where our hearts need to be and we brood and find pleasure in those things, then we commit sin. So, when lust comes knocking at our doors, we have a choice. We can reject it and focus on the path God set for us. In Matthew 4:10, Jesus rejected Satan and said to him, “Be gone, Satan!” And he quoted the scripture to him, “for it is written, You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.” Or we can engage in it. When temptation comes our way, we need to remember we are not helpless, we have a choice to entertain it or to resist it.
One of the reasons we fall to sin is as James 1:14 says “but each one is tempted when he is dragged away, enticed and baited [to commit sin] by his own [worldly] desire (lust, passion)” (AMP). It says the reason we are dragged away is that we are enticed, like a fish that is enticed to a bait we are enticed by temptations. Most of us when tempted are hesitant – the lure of the temptations is so strong that this hesitancy basically is making room for the flesh to take an upper hand. Like Joseph we should be able not to be hesitant but run and get out of the house (Gen 39:11-12). Reasoning with temptation is like singing a song to a charging elephant. Joseph did not stick around in Potiphar’s wife’s bedroom to reason with her or consider his options – He ran! Unlike Samson, who fell for his own lust, Joseph recognized sexual temptations and he ran.
Here are some things we could practice. Getting up every morning and dedicating our heart to the glory of God. Asking God to allow everything you do to be “compelled” by your love for him and his unblemished love for you. Asking the Holy Spirit to keep every thought where God wants to be (2 Corinthians 10:5). It helps tremendously if we can keep the words of Psalm 19:14 as our daily prayer (several times a day): “Let the words of my mouth and the medication of my HEART be acceptable to your sight, O LORD, my rock and redeemer.