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Pastor Jon Walker writes: 'When Tolstoy was a boy he started "The White Polar Bear Club". To become a member you had to stand for 30 minutes and not think of a white polar bear. Have you ever intentionally tried not to think about something? It's almost impossible! We often handle temptation in a similar fashion. We think we can stand near it, and if we don't think about it we'll have the victory. The problem is, the more we try not to concentrate on it the more it becomes the centre of our focus... the longer we think about not submitting the more likely it is that we will.
The Bible says: "Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you" (James 4:7 NIV). We quote the latter half of the verse, but if all you're doing is focusing on the devil you're still focusing on the temptation. I'm not suggesting... you shouldn't say, "Get thee behind me, satan." I'm saying you can't do it in your own strength; you do it by humbling yourself before God, recognising that He's your strength... When you keep your eyes on Him the Devil will flee because you're resisting him by embracing God. Be humble enough to seek help. A sure sign you're about to fall is when you think, "I can handle this on my own." See this as an urgent alarm to submit to God and say, "Lord, I need your strength and wisdom. Lead me not into temptation." Then walk away from the temptation. And if you need to, call a friend for prayer and accountability.'