God is good. He is all we need. He wants to make our hearts full and our wills strong.
Knowing God is good and that he is all we need is the key to resisting temptation.* Whether the temptation is alcohol, drugs, women, pornography, losing ones temper, not being fair to an employee or customer, or not working as hard as we know we can for our employer, the choice is between the thing that is tempting us or God. Even if you don’t believe God is good, you can take other people’s word for it, and as an act of faith say to yourself, “God is all I need,” and ignore the temptation. If you do you will begin to discover a joy that is clean, and that your will is becoming stronger. If you do pursue God above all else, you will notice that you are able to resist things that you could not resist before.
But be careful. When we think we are free of a temptation we can become like careless children and revel in our freedom and forget that we need God. Foolish children forget their greatest need—the one who is the source of all their strength. There are depths of freedom and strength that we know nothing about, and will not know until God is finished making us. God wants to set us free from all sin. He wants to make us brave, honest, kind, and fair. He wants to make us exactly like Jesus.
Now you may think that if we were all like Jesus the world would be a boring place, because we’d all be the same—but the opposite is true.
“All wickedness tends to destroy individuality and declining natures assimilate as they sink.” George MacDonald: Alec Forbes, Volume III, Chapter 26.
The more we become like Christ in character, the more different we will become in personality. This is so because God made us with different tastes, desires, abilities, and tendencies; and the more we become like Christ the less we will care about what the world thinks of us and the more we will care about what God thinks. This does not mean we won’t care about people, we will care about them very much—but we will not care about their opinions of us.
* God is good (and he is better than anything he can give). This truth, along with the truth that a relationship is the eternal truth at the heart of the universe (a relationship has always existed in God), are the greatest truths in all the world. If we know the one who made it all is good, life takes on new meaning—knowing this makes all the difference.