As a believer, I have come to see that part of cooperating with the Holy Spirit who lives inside of us in the midst of temptation is to talk oneself out of doing the wrong thing. How?
1. Speak to the LORD about the reality and rawness of your sinful desires. Tell Him without fear or inhibition. Our GOD can handle your sinful heart.
“LORD, I’m really broke and I feel like taking this money that’s not mine. I know it’s wrong but I feel like my circumstance justifies it. I haven’t paid my bills and I’m afraid things will get worse.”
“LORD, I’m feeling really lonely. I hate returning to my bed every night without someone close to me. I’m so tempted to call my ex for sex. I know they would come in a heartbeat, LORD.”
“LORD, I’m really angry and want to punch them so badly. I feel so frustrated in my heart. I’m having murderous thoughts. I feel like they hurt me deliberately and I want them to pay.”
2. Submit those sinful desires to the LORD and confess that you need the opposite (the virtue). You must have the discernment to differentiate that your sinful desires are what you want but they are not what you need.
“LORD, I want to submit this desire to steal to you. Please give me patience and contentment instead. I don’t feel like being content but I know that is what I need. I am going to walk away from this money and trust that you will give me a money-making idea.”
“LORD, I want to submit this desire to be sexually intimate outside marriage to you. Please give me patience and a desire for purity instead. I know calling my ex will only delay Your plan for my life and make me less willing to be pure. Even though I feel desirous for another’s touch, I will maximise this time to know the touch of God in my life.”
“LORD, I want to submit this desire to revenge to you. Please give me patience and peace instead. I feel justified to revenge and I know I will feel good. But I will feel terrible later. I’m trusting that you can help me voice my frustration with maturity.”
3. Remind yourself of the sacrifice of Christ in light of your sinful struggle.
“LORD, in Christ I have the greatest of treasures. I will not lose Him for a mere 5000 shillings.”
“LORD, in Christ, I am never alone. The King of the universe lives in me. I will not lose His presence for that of a carnal moment with an absent ex.”
“LORD, in Christ I have the greatest reconciliation. I will not forget that I was once a villain who was redeemed. Because I am a recipient of God’s grace, I can also extend redemption to these enemies of mine.”
The power of this self-reflective confession is two-fold. First, in speaking it aloud there is power. Secondly, in directing it to God and not to men there is cosmic closure, and that’s power. Often, before you even complete the three-step process, the temptation has already faded. And if it hasn’t faded, keep repeating the three steps. If you haven’t figured by now, you are actually praying. God will surely send help to those that cry out to Him.