Saddleback Church pastor Rick Warren has said that the single most effective tool for combating temptation is to memorize Scripture, as one must replace the lies of the devil with the truth found only in the Bible.
"If you want to be able to handle temptation, you need to claim the promises of God that he has given in his Word about temptation," Warren says in a recent devotional. "Everybody ought to memorize 1 Corinthians 10:13b: 'God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it' (NIV)."
The "Purpose Driven Life" author explains that many people have told him, "I couldn't help myself. It was impossible to resist. I had no choice but to give in."
When you say that, Warren cautioned, you're calling God a liar.
"God says he'll always offer an escape from the temptation you face. It may be tough and painful. It might even be embarrassing. But there will always be a way out. God makes sure of it! That is his promise."
Satan is constantly fighting for your mind - and that's where the battle happens, contends Warren.
"When God gives us an idea, it's inspiration. When the Devil gives us an idea, it's temptation. You choose every day which thought you're going to dwell on. You can change your mind by replacing the temptation with truth, and truth is found in the Bible."
How then, does one resist the devil? By preparing for the temptation.
"Salvation is the first step," he says. "'Accept God's salvation as your helmet.' What does a helmet do? It protects your head and your mind, and that's where the battle is going on. Before you can say 'no' to the Devil, you have to learn to say 'yes' to Jesus Christ. You've got to have his power through salvation."
Second, receive God's Word to use as a sword: "Truth is the antidote to temptation. You can keep your Bible on the coffee table at home, but when you're at work and you are tempted, what good is it going to do you? No good at all! You need to get the truth that is in that book in your mind."
Without a doubt, "the single most effective tool to combating temptation is to memorize Scripture", the pastor concludes.
"If you don't have any verses memorized, you've got no bullets in your gun! When the Devil comes along, how are you going to counter him? He's not afraid of your opinion, but he does fear the truth. The sword of God is God's truth, but it only becomes a weapon when you memorize it."
Last year, Harvest Church pastor Greg Laurie also shared some advice on overcoming temptation. He explained that everyone will be tempted - and it can be an indication that you are on the right track, because temptation isn't a sin; rather, it's a call to battle.
Jesus himself was tempted at the beginning and end of his ministry: "If [Jesus] faced it...do you think it'll be any different for us?" he asked. "Temptation will always hit."
Second, we must understood there are consequences to sin: "Before you go into sin..think about the repercussions, think about how it'll affect your spouse, your children, your parents," Laurie advised.
Third, God's standards are absolute and never change: "God's word does not change, even if culture changes," the pastor said. "We live in a time where wrong is perceived as right, and right is perceived as wrong. Wrong is wrong, even if you don't get caught. Wrong is wrong, even if others are doing far worse. Wrong is wrong, even if it doesn't bother your conscience."
Laurie quoted evangelist Billy Graham as saying, "Christ can re-sensitize your conscience."
"If you're doing something right now the Bible says you should not be doing and you don't feel bad about it, you need to pray God will re-sensitize your conscience," he said. "You shouldn't let your conscience be your guide..because it can mislead you. The Bible should always be your guide. It's the one thing...you can be certain of."
Finally, like Joseph, we must realize that all sin is against God: "Sometimes you need to run as fast as you can," Laurie said. "Put as much distance between it and you as you possibly can. There is a blessing waiting for the man or woman who resists temptation."
He concluded: "The greatest deterrent for sin is our love for God. Do you have a personal relationship with God? Is Christ living in you?"