Temptation is something all Christians face,
no matter how long we have been following Christ. But there are a few practical
things we can do to grow stronger and smarter in our struggle against sin. We can learn how to overcome temptation by
practicing these important steps.
James 1:14 explains that we are tempted when
we become enticed by our own natural desires. “…but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he
is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin;
and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.”
The first step toward overcoming temptation is
to recognize the human tendency to be seduced by our own fleshly desires. The temptation
to sin is a given, so don’t be surprised by it. Expect to be tempted daily, and
be prepared for it. 1 Corinthians 10:13 tells us, “No temptation has seized you except what is common to
man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can
bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can stand up
Remember that the temptations that come into your life
are no different from what others experience. And God is
faithful. He will
keep the temptation from becoming so strong that you can’t stand up against it. When you are
tempted, He will show you a way out so that you will not
give in to it. When you come face to face with temptation, look for the
way out, the way of escape that God has promised. Then flee! Run as fast as you can!
Did you know you can carry a weapon that will
make your thoughts obey Jesus? Hebrews 4:12
says, “For the word of God is living and active.
Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and
spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” This weapon is the Word
of God. Jesus overcame the devil’s temptations in the wilderness
with the Word of God. If it worked for Him, it will
work for us. And because Jesus was fully
human, He is able to identify with our struggles and
give us the exact help we need to resist temptation.
While it can be helpful to read God’s Word
when you’re being tempted, sometimes that’s not practical. Even better is to not only read the Bible
daily, but memorize it so that eventually you are ready whenever temptation
comes. If you are reading through the Bible regularly, you will
have the full counsel of God at your disposal. You will start to have the mind of Christ. So when temptation comes knocking, all you’ll
have to do is draw your weapon, aim, and fire.
How often have you been tempted to sin when
your heart and mind were fully concentrated on worshiping the Lord? I’m guessing your answer is never. Praising God
takes our focus off of self and puts it on God. You may not be strong enough to resist
temptation on your own, but as you focus on God, He will inhabit your praises. He will give
you the strength to resist and walk away from the temptation.
Having a more realistic view, knowing that at times you will fail, should help you to repent quickly when you do fall. Failing is not
the end of the world, but it is dangerous to persist in your sin.
Going back to James 1, verse 15 we
are told that, “When it is full-grown, gives birth to
death.” Continuing in sin leads to spiritual death, and often
even physical death. That is
why it’s best to repent quickly when you know you’ve fallen into sin. Some additional ways to avoid temptation is
1) Pray for the
help of the Holy Spirit in dealing with temptation.
2) Choose a Bible
3) Develop a
Christian friendship, someone to call when you’re feeling tempted.
Temptations comes to all of us on a daily basis but God promises to
give you the strength to overcome them. Ask
the Lord today to give you discernment so that you can avoid the enemy’s
pitfalls. God has called you to a life
of victory—don’t let anything stand in your way!
Reproduced with permission from Russ Sharrock.