Unit 4 Key 3 – For the Mentor


UNIT IV Key 3                               SCRIPTURE

Purpose of this Key:

  1. Encourage the use of memorized Scripture to block temptation.
  2. Encourage the use of Scripture to confront the lies of the enemy of our souls.
  3. Realize that unholy alliances and compromises are dangerous.
  4. Realize that we are safer when we find what the Word of God has to say about any decision.
  5. Realize that keeping one’s attention fixed on Jesus makes us stronger against temptation.
  6. Understand the power of praising the Lord when confronted with difficult situations.

Proverbs 30:5

Common responses:

1) The Word can be trusted to protect us from lies and temptations.

2) It helps us when we meditate on it and memorize it.

3) God is faithful, and we can trust His promises.

Points to emphasize:

  1. When we step out in faith and take God at His Word, His Word proves itself true.
  2. The more we obey, the more power we will see.
  3. Our faith becomes stronger as we see God showing His power on our behalf.
  4. Even when we feel weak, if we are in God’s will, He will be faithful (II Corinthians 12:9).
  5. If we are persecuted or attacked, we can lean harder on God.

Matthew 15:3-9

Common responses:

1) It does not matter what the culture says, only what the Word of God says.

2) We need to obey the Word and not just go through religious motions.

3) Our actions reveal what is truly in our hearts.

Points to emphasize:

1) The people in this text used religious-sounding language to avoid obeying a plainly worded Commandment (Exodus 20:12.

2) Caring for elderly parents can be a thankless and stressful job, for which one receives no recognition. But it is a walk of obedience that builds character.

3) Giving money to the temple looked holy and pious on the outside, but it was just for show.

4) Jesus was not fooled by religious-sounding language used as an excuse to sin or to show off (Matthew 4:5-7).

5) Refer to Luke 18:9-14; both men used religious language, but only one of them was sincere and used it the right way.

6) We must never twist the Scriptures to excuse our sins. Church history’s worst episodes occurred when people did that: witch hunts, anti-Semitism, and Inquisitions are some examples.

7) Legalists who are seeking righteousness under the Law are most likely to twist the Scriptures to find excuses to cover their sins to avoid repentance.

8) When people realize they are saved only and entirely by the mercy of God, they become willing to use the Word to expose their sins and confess them.

9) This is why we are to examine ourselves for hidden motivations and secret agendas.

Isaiah 55:8-11

Common responses:

1) God’s Word always has a purpose.

2) We often do not realize what God is planning.

3) God is far above us, so even when things do not seem to make sense, God knows everything and has it under control.

4) We can trust God even when we do not understand Him.

5) God’s ways are far above human reasoning; if we take Him at His Word, He will keep His promises.

Points to emphasize:

1) God’s Word accomplishes things, even when it does not seem to.

2) We can obey God even when the reasons are not clear; sometimes when we step out in obedience, the reasons become clear later.

3) We block our spiritual growth when we demand that God first explain His reasons before we will obey Him.

4) Things can seem to be going wrong, and suddenly we learn that what seemed to go wrong was part of God’s greater plan all along. The Christian walk is full of surprises.

1. On a scale of 1-10, how much memorizing have you done?

Common responses:

1) Some are actively memorizing.

2) Some are not memorizing new verses, but are meditating on and rehearsing the ones they already know.

3) Some are not actively memorizing, but they are reading the Word regularly and verses stay in their minds.

Points to emphasize:

1) While active memorizing should always be encouraged, affirm the value of rehearsing what they have already memorized and the effectiveness of being in the Word.

2) When we are in the Word, more of it can stay in our minds than we realize.

3) If the numbers are low, encourage them to get back to memorizing.

4) If they say they cannot memorize, encourage them to write down meaningful verses, carry the paper around with them, and read it during the day.

2. On a scale of 1-10, how quickly do you use memorized Scripture against temptation?

Common responses:

1) For some it has become an automatic response even if they have not memorized much.

2) Some express that they need to become more consistent.

3) Some comment on how quickly it blocks temptation.

Points to emphasize:

1) Affirm any use of memorized Scripture.

2) Remind them that the neurons of their brains are re-organizing themselves around the Word instead of around temptations, and this takes time.

3) While their brains are being re-wired around the Word, the Holy Spirit is using the Word to build their faith.

4) Sometimes a sudden onslaught of temptation can make it hard to recall an appropriate verse. That is why the Emergency Prayer is helpful. Jesus, get me out of this, stop me, stop me even if I do not want to be stopped, or similar prayer, can re-focus the mind so that a verse can be recalled.

5) Remind them that a peaceful and orderly mind is a blessing, without one’s thoughts running wild.

3. What are your strongest temptations these days? Please include sins of deeds, words, thoughts, attitudes, sexual or other fantasies, hidden motivations, secret agendas, pride, self-will, or lies that you still believe.

Common responses:

1) Answers will vary.

2) Some still struggle with sexual temptations.

3) Others say the sexual temptations are less, but they are more aware of temptations to negative attitudes.

4) Some are gaining more insight into the lies of the devil that have influenced their thinking.

5) Some still struggle to forgive those who wronged them.

Points to emphasize:

1) Counsel based on your knowledge, experience, and what you have learned from working with this person.

2) Some of their temptations are actually evidence that their consciences are becoming more aware of sins of the mind. They may always have had sins of thoughts and attitudes, but their attention was on sins of deeds. Give encouragement and affirm their progress.

3) For years they used sexual fantasies and actions to shut out painful thoughts and feelings.  Facing reality after a lifetime in a fantasy world can cause emotional turmoil and mental confusion. Affirm their progress and encourage them to take everything to the Lord.

4) As they try to understand their emotional turmoil and mental confusion, the lies of the devil can be exposed. Encourage them to take everything to the Lord.

5) Re-affirm I John 1:9 and Romans 8:1. Do not let them torment themselves with guilt.

6) Be aware that forgiveness can take a long time for those who have suffered horrendous abuse.

7) Romans 8:31-39 are good verses for those who need encouragement.

4. Please list the specific verses that you use to fight these temptations.

Common responses:

1) Answers will vary.

2) Philippians 4:13 seems to be a favorite among ssa/ma/tx overcomers.

Points to emphasize:

1) Affirm any verses that show the mercy of God, whether the list is long or short.

2) Some have a variety of verses for a variety of situations.

3) Some have just one or two verses, but if they effectively block temptation, encourage them to praise God for it.

4) Legalistic verses will not help. Keep their focus on Jesus, Who made full satisfaction on the cross for our sins.

5. In what ways have you applied Hebrews 2:17-18 and 4:15-16 to your struggles against temptation, particularly ssa/ma/tx?

Common responses:

1) Many have learned they are safe being transparent before God.

2) Many have learned they need not act out the sin when temptated; they can pray about it instead.

3) Many are comforted to know that Jesus experienced  ssa/ma/tx temptations at least once during His earthly life and that He knows just how they feel. 

4) They can identify with Jesus because He identified with them, so they want to gain the same victory He did.

5) He can show us how to escape temptation, because He used those escapes Himself.

Points to emphasize:

1)  Affirm that Jesus is totally approachable and gracious to penitent sinners.

2) The only way to overcome a persistent sin is to live transparently before God, bringing before Him every temptation or sin of deeds, words, thoughts, attitudes, fantasies, hidden motivations, secret agendas, pride, self-will, and any lies of the devil that we have believed and of which we have become consciously aware.

3) Refer to John 3:17, which assures us that Jesus came to save the World, not to condemn it.

4) Refer to Luke 5:31-32, which applies to everyone.

5) Boldly confessing sins and temptations before our merciful God takes away our shame.

6) People who are too ashamed of their sins to confess them never get the victory over them, and the shame cycle continues.

7) Do not hesitate to acknowledge that at least once in His earthly life, Jesus experienced ssa/ma/tx temptations. Because He identified with our temptations, we can identify with His victories (Romans 6:4-11 & I Corinthians 15:42-44, 49, & 56-57).

6. In what ways have you experienced God’s comfort (II Corinthians 1:3-5)?

Common responses:

1) When they go to Him for help, and He shows His power on their behalf.

2) When they take their hurts to Him.

3) When they sense His presence and experience His reassurance.

4) When they find Christian friends who give encouragement.

5) When they confess sin and know they are forgiven because the Word says so.

6) When they realize they will see their loved ones in Heaven some day.

7) When they realize their faith is growing.

Points to emphasize:

1) Affirm any Biblical insights.

7. In what ways did King Jehoshaphat walk with the Lord? Please see II Chronicles 17:4, 6, & 9, and 18:6-7.

Common responses:

1) He obeyed God’s commandments.

2) He removed idol worship from his country.

3) He made sure the people were taught the Law.

4) He sought God’s will through the prophet.

5) He rebuked deceptive thoughts.

Points to emphasize:

1) Affirm any Biblical insights.

2) Mention any points they missed.

8. One can walk with the Lord for a long time and still be deceived into an unholy compromise. If an unholy compromise gets you into trouble, is it ever too late to call on the Lord for help (II Chronicles 18:28-32)?

Common responses:

1) Most say “no”.

2) No one is perfect in this life, and anyone can be deceived into an unholy compromise.

3) When we do that, we need to repent and come back to the Lord.

Points to emphasize:

1) God welcomes us when we renounce unholy compromises and come back in repentance.

2) We can always ask for His help, but He might not help us in the way we had hoped for.

3) If our compromises have caused problems, we can ask Him how He wants us to clean them up.

4) Sometimes we can be deceived into an unholy compromise and do not realize it until we have gotten into it (Psalm 19:12-13). We need to run to the Lord for help as soon as we realize it.

5) Sometimes when we get into an unholy compromise, we think we have to continue in it and fulfill our obligations to it. That is a deception; we can ask for God’s help to get out of it as quickly as possible.

6) Just because we got ourselves into a sin does not mean we have to get ourselves out. God can get us out of it much better than we can by ourselves.

7) Ahab died in battle. Jehoshaphat only got a scolding from the prophet (II Chronicles 18:33 – 19:3).

9. In II Chronicles 20, a huge army assembled against Jehoshaphat. What did he do in response?

Common responses:

1) He sought the Lord.

2) He called for national fasting and prayer.

3) He listened to the prophet.

4) He led his people in worship and praise.

Points to emphasize:

1) Note Jehoshaphat’s order of operations.

2) He called for national prayer and fasting.  

3) He laid out the problem before the Lord and waited for the Lord’s answer.

4) He listened to the Lord’s prophet.

5) He led his people in worship and gave them an encouraging speech.  

6) He led them against their enemies while praising the Lord.

7) Praise is a powerful response when we sense the presence of the enemy. It contradicts the negative thoughts and feelings the devil works to inject into our minds.

8) Praise is especially needed when things seem to be going wrong.

9) After their enemies had turned on each other, having never engaged the Israelites, the people praised God again.

10) Than after all this victory and evidence of God’s mercy, Jehoshaphat enters into yet another unholy compromise (verses 35-37).

10. Have you ever been confronted with a very difficult situation and followed the same order of operations as King Jehoshaphat? If so, please share.

Common responses:

1) Some share situations in which they have been quick to seek God’s will and get into prayer for difficult people.

2) Some acknowledge that for most of their lives they have relied upon their own strength, and realize now that they could have relied on God.

3) Some are just learning to take difficult situations before God in prayer.

4) Some have seen victories and God’s faithfulness.

5) Some have fasted, while others acknowledge never having tried it.

6) Some, like Jehoshaphat, have gone in and out of unholy compromises.

Points to emphasize:

1) Affirm any Biblical insights.

2) Our greatest prayers are often said in situations where we are totally helpless and forced to rely on God alone.

3) When we compromise, we can always repent and seek God’s way out.

4) Fasting is powerful and backs up our prayers with an act of self-denial. If medically capable of fasting (not everyone is), encourage them to drink much water and use common sense.

5) Praise is powerful, and it blocks negative thinking.

11. On a scale of 1-10, how victorious have you been lately? Please explain your answer.

Common responses:

1) Most are doing well.

2) Some still struggle with fantasies and masturbation.

3) Some are only slightly tempted by ssa/ma/tx, but are more concerned with sins of word or thought.

4) Some have come under conviction of sins that did not used to concern them.

Points to emphasize:

1) Encourage thanks and praise to God for any victory gained.

2) If the number is high because they have had very little temptation lately, encourage thanks and praise to God.  

3) If the number is high because they have had to fight much temptation and were successful, encourage thanks and praise to God.

4) More tests will likely be put in their way, but future tests should not spoil their enjoyment of the victories they have had so far.

5) Avoid criticizing a low number. Try to find out the reason for it. Ask about their thoughts, attitudes, stressful situations, how they are using their time, or if anything unexpected has happened.

6) If they sin less frequently than before, assure them that God has been working in their lives. Encourage progress, not perfection.

7) If they slipped into sin but noticed that the feelings were not as strong, that is a sign of God at work in their lives. Encourage them to confess it, accept God’s forgiveness, and get back on track.

8) If they feel worse after sinning than they used to, that is a sign that God has made their consciences more responsive to His will. They can be thankful for their awakened consciences; they used to be dead in their sins (Ephesians 2:1).

9) Remind them that I John 1:9 and Romans 8:1 always apply.

10) Encourage them to retrace their steps and ask the Holy Spirit to give them insight into    what weakness led to the fall.

11) Encourage them to confess sins of thoughts (Romans 12:2) in order to more easily avoid sins of words and deeds.

12) Continue to encourage them to use memorized Scripture to block tempting and negative thoughts. Encourage use of the Emergency Prayer.

13) If they view themselves as making very little progress, keep their focus on God’s mercy rather than their own failures. Punishing themselves with guilt accomplishes nothing; Jesus took the punishment on their behalf.

14) New Christians do not always understand the difference between temptation and actual          sin. Some give themselves a low number, but while the temptation was great, they may not have fallen into sin. Explain the difference to them.

15)  If they have not had temptation in a long while, they might need to be aware that the devil does not give up easily and may be preparing a major attack. This possibility should not prevent them from enjoying their progress now. Overcomers commonly experience a major attack of temptation before getting the final victory over a besetting sin. If they withstand a big temptation, which can go on for days or weeks, they will usually find themselves that much stronger once it is over. Encourage them to pray for rescue immediately when tempted.

12. Did you use any memorized Scripture to battle temptation lately? What was the result?

Common responses:

  1. Answers will vary.
  2. By now, most have learned to use the Word effectively against temptation.
  3. Most are using the Word against sins of deeds. Some are still learning to use it against sins of words and thoughts.

Points to emphasize:

1) Affirm any Biblical response.

13. How is your spiritual life in general, how are your private devotions, and how are things going at your church/fellowship group?

Common responses:

1) Answers will vary.

2) Most report that things are going well.

3) A few are beginning to emerge as leaders in their church/fellowship group.

Points to emphasize:

1) Encourage them to praise God for whatever is going well.

2) Explore what is not going well and try to help them find out why.

3) Counsel based on your knowledge, experience, and what you have learned from working with this person.

Plan of Action:

1) Affirm any Biblical responses.

2) Counsel based on your knowledge, experience, and what you have learned from working the program with this person.

3) Give lots of encouragement for any valid ideas on how to make changes.

4) Encourage confession of sin and receiving forgiveness where they identify their need to make changes.

Additional points:

  1. Many ssa/ma/tx overcomers do not know what to look for when trying to find a church.
  2. The pastor needs to rightly balance the Law of God and the Gospel of Jesus.
  3. He needs to clarify that our clean living and good works cannot save us. We can only rely on God’s mercy in Christ as a free gift to penitent sinners. 
  4. Ssa/ma/tx overcomers should go to the pastor and explain their struggles. If the pastor is supportive, an overcomer might consider attending this church.
  5. The pastor might not know much about ssa/ma/tx issues, but that does not disqualify him or his church. The most important issue is if the pastor recognizes that all penitent sinners stand on the same level ground at the foot of our Savior’s cross.
  6. In any church, not everyone is at the same place in their spiritual walk. Not everyone is ready to be helpful. Do not expect perfection; others attending the church may be legalists or even unconverted. They need to repent of their own sins before they can help others.
  7. However, if overcomers can find a core group of people with whom they can share their struggles; and receive support, fellowship, accountability; and people who will pray with them, walk alongside them, and be their friends; it might be a good church to join.
  8. Older people at church can sometimes meet emotional needs that the overcomer’s own parents did not. People who are in the same age group as the overcomer can give the acceptance and support that might have been lacking from their peers.
  9. Members of the church who are the same sex as overcomers should welcome them to participate with their social and service activities.
  10. Overcomers should do their part to help serve others and use their gifts. They might be strong where others are weak, and can therefore mentor or disciple some while receiving it from others.
  11. Minor-attracted adults might be asked to accept common-sense restrictions. This is for his protection as well as others. He might be asked to avoid the Sunday school area of the church, only use a single-stall bathroom, and only talk to children if a parent/guardian is present. This way he is less likely to be falsely accused of sexual contact with a child.
  12. Minor-attracted adults may have to call several churches before they find one that will accept them. Agreeing to observe the common-sense restrictions often helps gain credibility and trust.
  13. This agreement can be a covenant agreement between the minor-attracted adult, the pastor, and the leadership of the congregation. The agreement has obligations in both directions. Provided he abides by the agreement, the congregation should accept him as they would anyone else.
  14. How much information to share with the rest of the congregation is an open question for which the author does not have all the answers. This should be discussed between the minor-attracted adult, the pastor, and the leadership of the congregation.
  15. Gossip is still a sin, even if the subject of the gossip is a minor-attracted adult with a prison record.
  16. In many countries, minor-attracted adults who have been released from prison may have to register as sex offenders, and these registries are public information. The rest of the congregation can easily find out. Some countries may not have these requirements. Those congregations will have to decide what is in everyone’s best interests.