Do you know what were Jesus’ last words to His disciples (in the Garden of Gethsemane)? Keep alert and pray; otherwise temptation will overpower you (Matt. 26:41 NLT)—and not just for that moment: Jesus was warning them to live proactively. Not unlike the famous adage “He who fails to plan, plans to fail.”
Another truism is that as we grow in faith in Christ, our temptations increase (and they come with bigger consequences)—being IN Christ does not make us immune to sin’s attraction. Paul offered Timothy three ways to plan for temptation: Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. (2 Timothy 2:22).
First, flee from temptation. The best defense against temptation is get away from it—not to linger there and see how strong we are! Second, get into Jesus. As long as Timothy was pouring his energies into pursuing godliness, he'd be less tempted to sin. Third, spend time with serious disciples of Jesus. It's far easier to resist temptation when we're surrounded by Christians who encourage us. The hard truth is that temptation will be a lifelong reality. And the crucial question is: Do I have a plan for overcoming it?