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How Can I Resist Temptation?

The apostle Paul wrote: “When I wish to do what is right, what is bad is present with me.” (Romans 7:​21) Have you ever felt that way? If so, this article can help you resist the temptation to act on wrong desires.

 What you should know

Temptation and peer pressure often go hand in hand. In fact, the Bible says that “bad associations corrupt good morals.” (1 Corinthians 15:33, footnote) Pressure from others or from the media can stir up desires in your heart that could lead you into a tempting situation and could even cause you to “follow after the crowd to do evil.”​—Exodus 23:2.

“The pressure to be liked and accepted can lead you to do whatever others do, just to gain their approval.”​—Jeremy.

To think about: Why might temptation be stronger if you care too much about what others think of you?​—Proverbs 29:25.

The bottom line: Don’t let pressure from your peers tempt you to compromise your standards.

 What you can do

Know your convictions. If you don’t know what you believe in, you can become like a puppet that others control. It’s far better to follow the Bible’s admonition: “Make sure of all things; hold fast to what is fine.” (1 Thessalonians 5:​21) The more you understand your beliefs, the easier it will be to hold fast to them and to resist the temptation to go contrary to them.

To think about: Why do you believe that God’s moral standards are for your own good?

“I have observed that whenever I stay true to what I believe in and do not give in to temptation, others respect me more for it.”​—Kimberly.

Bible role model: Daniel. While likely still a teenager, Daniel “resolved in his heart” that he would obey God’s laws.​—Daniel 1:8.

If you don’t know what you believe in, you can become like a puppet that others control

Know your weaknesses. The Bible speaks of “youthful desires”​—the yearnings that are especially strong when you are young. (2 Timothy 2:​22) These include not only sexual urges but also the desire to fit in and the desire for independence before you are ready for it.

To think about: The Bible says that “each one is tried by being drawn out and enticed by his own desire.” (James 1:​14) Which desire tempts you the most?

“Be honest with yourself about which temptations you are most vulnerable to. Do research on how to fight those temptations, and write down points you can use. That way the next time you face that temptation, you will know how to resist.”​—Sylvia.

Bible role model: David. At times he yielded to pressure from others and even to his own desires. But David learned from his mistakes and tried to do better. “Create in me a pure heart,” he prayed to Jehovah, “and put within me a new spirit, a steadfast one.”​—Psalm 51:10.

Take control. The Bible says: “Do not let yourself be conquered by the evil.” (Romans 12:21) That means you don’t have to be a victim of temptation. You can choose to do the right thing.

To think about: How can you take control and ‘rewrite the ending’ in a situation where you might be tempted to do wrong?

“I think about how I will feel if I go through with whatever is tempting me. Will I feel relief? Perhaps, but only for a moment. Will I feel good in the long run? No, I will only feel worse. Is it really worth it? No!”​—Sophia.

Bible role model: Paul. Although he admitted that he had bad inclinations, Paul took control. He wrote: “I strictly discipline my body and lead it as a slave.”​—1 Corinthians 9:​27, footnote.

The bottom line: You are in the driver’s seat when it comes to how you will deal with temptation.

Remember, temptations are temporary. “Many things that were big temptations when I was in high school are now insignificant,” says 20-year-old Melissa. “Reflecting on this reassures me that current temptations will also pass and that one day I’ll look back and realize I was better off for having resisted them.”