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17 - How to Overcome Temptation

Andy Im

Description

The gospel is a unique solution in a sin-filled world to a problem that is as old as time. Ever since Adam and Eve chose to disobey God, humanity has been caught in a struggle between good and evil. Unfortunately, choosing Christ isn’t quite as simple as we would like it to be. Each of us come to Jesus with unhelpful habits that we’ve cultivated and minds that have a bent towards sin. Perhaps you’ve been wondering: what are the nuts and bolts of overcoming temptation? Is it possible? Does God want us to be perfect? In this episode of the GYC Beyond Podcast Esther Louw discusses these questions with Andy Im. Andy is currently the Communications Director at Michigan Conference and is on the board of directors for GYC.

Presenter

Andy Im

Associate Director for the Dept of Public Campus Ministries in the Michigan Conference. Director of the Institute of Adventist Apologetics for C.A.M.P.U.S. 

Recorded

  • September 23, 2018
    11:30 AM

Series

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The gospel is a unique solution in a sinful the world to a problem that is as old as time ever since Adam and Eve chose to disobey God humanity has been caught in a struggle between good and evil unfortunately choosing Christ isn't quite as simple as we would like it to be each of us come to Jesus with unhelpful habits that we've cultivated and minds that have a bent toward sin perhaps you've been wondering what of the nuts and bolts of overcoming temptation is it possible does God want us to be perfect Hi this is Esther Lo in this episode I think she will see beyond podcast I discuss these questions with Andy M. and he is currently the communications director at Michigan conference and is on the board of directors pretty Y.C. thank you for coming here and joining with us on that you receive your own pride cast Andy it's great to have you here we wanted just to open it up today and ask you a little bit about who you are and how you became a Christian. Sure. My name is Andy I'm a work in the mission conference in communications hub became a Christian I mean it's really it's really a long story the short end of it I went to the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill I'm a Tar Heel and by the point time I had gone there and decided to go there I was going to get in go to law school and was majoring in Political Science and at that point I was done with God I was done with religion and I just wanted to live it up I I still believed in the existence of God I still believe in Adventism But but I was just done it was just too much so you had an Adventist background you're just decided to move on from that yes OK and that the simple answer is when I meet that whenever I decide to become a Christian I feel more guilt and freedom and liberation and it was either go crazy from the guilt or just give it up and that's where I was OK so today I want to talk a little bit about you mentioned guilt this concept of guilt and particularly sin and how we can overcome our hand all the temptations that all of us experience in daily life so you mention that because it gets in your life you want to just give up at one point how did that change for you and what kind of insisted you begin to experience in your life. So. So I go to the university North Carolina and I'm just I just want to party else you know in my twenty's I just want to live it all up so I got involved in substances you know party drugs got addicted to or started smoking and it doesn't take very long for those things to overwhelm you and to control you and to bring you to a very dark places so from rejecting God to adopting the world. I went to a dark place probably after several years and it was at that point where I was like man like these things or they're making me feel you know even worse about myself and and and I'm in a pit and I do not know how to extricate myself from this and it was at that point where I realize I needed I needed out and and the decision to come out of these things it's not so simple because they control you and so that's when I realized I needed. It was really the impetus for me wanting to escape this was it wasn't the sins per se but it was the feeling of despair. Bleakness you know things were just not positive as I miss like my drinking out of the church back and I wasn't feeling guilt though as with the drugs and that thing it was more just I don't want to say depression because it sounds like it's clinical It is just I just felt hopeless and the drugs just made me feel worthless and nothing seemed happy about life right it was it was just a depressing outlook and and I wanted out so how did you get to that point once you found out OK I want to get out of it what happened next got past the wanting to get out and actually got you know so one night I was I was doing I was medicated on something on a substance where when you're coming down off it the levels of anxiety that you feel is it's off the hook it's imagine you know you're taking this huge and the feelings you get before a huge exam that determine your future career in life and multiply that anxiety like a 1000000000 times that's what I thought I was feeling and so I did not know what to do with this feeling it was just so intense it was 3 o'clock in the morning that's another thing the substance did is you can't sleep through a clock in the morning and I'm in despair I feel the things ID and my mom always sent a Bible with me wherever I went and I looked at the Bible and I opened it and I began to read the book of Psalms and the most amazing things started happening as I was reading the book a song to sing Zion. Just started dissipating it started evaporating and while I'm doing that I'm thinking in my head I suffer flooding like I can't believe this things id is going away while I'm reading this and so I'm just like this is like a miracle right like. In the midst of me doing drugs is at the same time coming to help me or there's power in this word and that's when I begin to think man maybe maybe God does love me maybe he cares for me and he can help me get out of this is a really beautiful thought I hear this word power in contrast to the helplessness yeah I'm feeling like I really like the play between that what in your mind is the definition of sand what is sin made up is it things that I do things that I don't do is it something very Yet noid certainly things that we do but I think the where it comes from is is our heart that's where to pray where by nature were bent towards evil and so for me to stop my actions I need to go to the root problem which is ultimately the core of my being as a sinful human being that's where the problem lies and so yeah. Do you have an example in your life where you had to deal with it and actually you know our thing and you have to kind of work they've got to get through that yeah so that's a really good question so there were a few things they'll struggling with and you know drugs were was kind of easy to give up in that you know you can find drugs at the convenience store it's not so excessive bl but I destroyed with that but and also cigarettes so there's 2 separate narratives that I can provide I really believe that when you're overcoming you know you're striving or deciding to better your life and to discard some things there's certainly through some things you want to think about that that I've learned from experience and for example when I when I gave up drugs and I saw reading the Bible so obviously I'm studying the Bible I've seen the power that it can have on the life even supernatural power if you want to call it that and so so I remember this one period in life or in my past where I think I quit you know doing the drugs for like 3 weeks and I'm thinking oh man this is really awesome like um I'm doing well. And and so then I'm thinking you know I'm now i can i need to go witness to my friend so I go to back to my friend's house and you know he's he's a pot smoker and I go there and after 3 weeks of victory next you know there I am doing drugs again and I learned a valuable lesson that that we need to cooperate with God that that God can supply is the power but we also need to the there's a Bible verse that comes to my mind you know take heed lest you fall we should never be at a place where we're so confident always begin to think I can do this because as soon as we. I think that Saint ready to bring his back so and then what he does with that is you know he works on the head on your mind like see you can't really do it you know and so you go through all that mental battle and struggle me and he's he's a master doing that and so that's one thing I learned very early on is I need others it's a very practical thing and that is I need to stay as far away from the temptation as I can and that's not as a single I just have the power but it's all it's recognising our weakness and being practical and and really commonsense about so it's not like you saying I go you know I think you mean myself from all temptations and go into a monastery Yeah absolutely you know no as a practical guidelines are maybe boundaries in your life so that you can still be a witness to your friends and not be pulled down by them that's right and I think I think the other thing we need to think about is time you know there's a place in a time for everything it wasn't the place and time for me to visit my friend 3 weeks after I had quit right now drugs are not a temptation for me and so if I'm in different place now but at the time it wasn't the right thing to do so with drugs it was you obviously fell and then you had to kind of keep going back I think a little bit of a cycle. Was there anything in your life that you didn't have to go through a cycle that just God took from you. I wish things were that easy and I know God has the power to do that you know for me and I think for most people it's not a magical magical formula it's not you combine a with you know you know a lot of people say memorize Scripture right and then pray and so I think sometimes. We get in our heads if I follow this formula that abracadabra it will lead to X. Y. and Z. And it's it's not that it is a simple as that and it's not in other words we do need to memorize scripture one might want to memorize this 1st Corinthians Chapter 10 verse 13 there's no temptation taking you that's common demand that you know he will provide the power for us to overcome Yes but but we also have to understand that it's a process that there is a struggle and I kind of see it more as a marathon you know there are some days you're going to be very motivated to to run an exercise in preparation for that and there are some days you're just not going to feel it and and I think that's a mistake that many people make is they think that what God is going to take away is the feeling. And he doesn't always do that and love and principle is most tested when you don't feel something and you do and you do what's right and wrong way and I learned that the hard way because I really felt that God was going to take away the feeling for drugs and take away the feeling for smoking cigarettes and when he didn't do that I felt God was letting me down. And and that wasn't the case at all and and it's kind of like eating your vegetables during your you don't feel like doing it but there's a cognitive aspect of recognizing it's healthy for you and then also depending on gon to help you with your weaknesses and he doesn't necessarily change your feelings but he certainly gives you the strength the motivation in whatever form that may be that's really powerful you know as a young person myself this thing different things that I've struggled with and one of the thoughts of would sometimes come to me is am I really a Christian if I having a struggle how did you answer that question if someone is struggling time time again of the same thing and sometimes they have victory and sometimes they don't what does that mean about their Christianity. That's a very complex question when Satan came to Jesus and said If you are the Son of God commanded do these things that and prove it and Jesus never felt he felt that he had to prove it humanly speaking but what he did was he claimed the Word of God as validation for his identity I think in the Christian experience it's much the same way Satan's going to say you know you know you're not really Christian because of X. Y. and Z. So there is a component of the validation comes from trusting in the Word of God alone as validating who I am in Christ. Now when we fall sometimes that comes under question at least safe and comes to us and that's part that's a process that every body has to go through and we come to a place that that where overcoming that we learn and grow to overcome our sin and in the midst of that as long as we're continuing to trust in God and seeking to to surrender our lives to him and do everything we can within our power that that we can trust in the process that he God who began the work he'll be faithful to come. And no matter regardless of where we're at in life I think of my daughter right she she's 3 and a half years old. She bends the truth and I don't think she quite recognizes the how how wrong it is when she tells a lie right and so she'll say it with impunity and we're trying to instill in their mind that lying is horrible you know it's bad but it never changes our relate my relationship with the she's my daughter I love her and I tell her this whether she is good one day or bad regardless I'm that we're in this together and where and I'm her father told them and you know you ask a very good question because in my experience especially with smoking it took a lot longer for me to of I think we're sharing earlier yeah. How many times that I would throw out the cigarettes out the window and say like I'm like Lord help me and I would throw out cigarettes out the cause littering I mean that's horrible but and you know that very night I'm driving back to that same spot looking for the cigarettes right and then I let's say it's found and then I smoke a cigarette and I feel this immense guilt and I feel horrible and terrible I felt like I'm just a utter failure and and you know to be honest looking back I don't even know how you know how it ended up that I just overcame it but I just know that that's been a long time since I smoked a cigarette and that's kind of the mystery of it as well I like how you use the word process a little bit earlier it was like I got the picture of a journey as long as you very we've got in your head in some way that it's where it matters. How does perfection come into this what is perfection going to Bible as the Bible says you know like be perfect as humans who make mistakes how does how do we achieve perfect. Yeah I don't I don't think a person will ever reach a place if he does he's deluded delusional where you'll ever reach a place in authentic Christianity where you say man I'm perfect the only perfection we can claim is that which is imputed that where we're where Christ is our substitute we claim him instead of ourselves as we stand before God that's as perfect as will ever get Having said that there's also. What Ellen White calls a fitness for happen where ultimately we meet we when we get to heaven we're going and we're going to fit in because of who we decided to be down here and God helps us to in that process of becoming selfless loving by the way when it talks about being be there for perfect in the book of Matthew that's in the context of selfless love unconditional love right 2 to those that are the hardest to love because even the Gentiles can love their friends right. We've talked a lot about how he felt the con different things that are hard to tell you for you and they were just been talking about that journey and ultimate goal is trusting in Jesus for him to make us what he wants us to me could you walk us through what it looks like practically if I've got a temptation what would if you were facing one right now what would you do you walk us through that mental process that prayer life 1st and foremost it helps to be very prepared to be intentional and have a game plan and so I think steps that I would already want to have in place would be especially if it's something I normally struggling with is to have an accountability partner someone. That I know I can talk to call and because sometimes when you get steeped into the train of sin and your mind is just going down there you need something to kind of help break that and by the way this is in addition to you know sometimes it just takes you know you drop everything you're doing and you just flat I'll begin praying and just crying out to God and I know that's consumed cliche but but just you know falling on the ground and just praying to God and wrestling with God like Jacob the Lord I need your help and rescue me and or Another example would be Peter Lord save me and I believe that God will enter that prayer but the other thing is as I mentioned earlier is having an accountability partner or someone you know you can call a trusted friend is very important and of course just like Christ didn't get this I know this close shave but you know he answered everything with it is written and so going to the Word of God and trusting in the Word of God and God will come to the rest just clarifying that I think sometimes he said earlier we think of it as like you know abracadabra like I thought of this a little an egg. Quoted Scripture verse in whatever action OK That one I hear is that it's your faith in that bible verse that promise that's right and from it ya'll and and what I meant by the Abracadabra component is sometimes because you hear testimony the front you know I just pray to God and also on the feeling was gone and I never felt that ever again for the rest of my life and that it's true for that person may be true and I don't doubt that because God can do that but that's not the way it was for me and in that sense it's not a magical formula for me it was I I had to wrestle had to struggle sometimes I fell and it was getting back up and going back into the ditches and wrestling with God and and over time God took me out and it's not that God lacks power you know there's a there's a it's very complex sin is very complex the reasons why we fall back into sin is very complex Satan also brings these mind games into it right and says you're already sinner anyway just what will it hurt if you do it again so what went on in my mind in just a very practical real way was I would always just fall into sin because Satan has lied to me was Well you can just start tomorrow hey you can just start tomorrow and I would be like you know what I can just start tomorrow I can be I can start my Christian walk tomorrow and I found out that I was the old record that I was playing every single week and then I was like you know what I you know it starts today like right now and what I found was when I wrestled and struggled and sometimes I just without a sheer seemingly even human determination where I just said no as I was claiming God's promises well the next day. That overcoming you know that having done that once it gave me the strength to overcome it easier 2nd day and then the 3rd day and then the 5th day and and that's all I got to the 3 weeks so you know then you can he has other pitfalls but it is a day by day process most people it's really beautiful place I think to and day by day moment by moment walking with Jesus and making him the center of our lives so that instead of constantly struggling at the same things every single moment we can have his strength transforming our lives thank you for coming with us and sharing that about overcoming sin we really appreciate it goes Wonderful be here and thanks for having me on here we are grateful for any and his contribution to this episode it is our desire that you experience the freedom of a life lived in Christ.

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