By Pastor Donald Parker
Temptations are something everyone faces everyday. And until Jesus returns, Satan will continue roaming the earth tempting us all. He uses temptations to steal, kill and destroy us and he’s been doing it since the tempting of Adam and Eve.
One definition of temptation is the desire to do something wrong or unwise – Synonyms for this definition include: urge and impulse. Another definition of temptation is a thing or course of action that attracts or tempts someone – Synonyms for this definition include: lure, enticement, seduction, draw and pull. So, when we give into our fleshly desires and urges; when we are lured into or enticed to do things we know go against God, that’s sin; and the consequences of that sin and poor decisions make a mess out of our lives. Paul reminded the Corinthians and you and I to be careful not to fall victim to temptations. (1 Corinthians 10:1-13)
When we search the Scripture we can find steps to take to overcome temptation; first, fight.
Every day you have to be prepared to fight the temptations you’ll face. You have to fight the devil. He knows your weakness; and he uses those weaknesses to tempt you and cause you to fall. You’re going to have to fight and not just give-in. Ephesians 6:11“Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.”
Next, we must follow the example of Jesus. Ephesians 5:1 “Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children…” 1 Peter 1:14-15 “As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires (those temptations) you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do.” Ignorance in the context of this verse is a lack of awareness concerning the things of God. For Christians, before we became followers of Jesus Christ we lived a life according to our own evil, lustful, sinful desires; but since our conversion we are called out of ignorance and into the knowledge and ways of the Lord.
Third we must flee the temptation. Think about this; if people had just turned and ran from a temptation they once fell victim to, how much pain could they have spared themselves and others – relationships damaged, families destroyed, integrity lost, finances depleted? When you stay in the presence of temptation, sooner or later you’ll take the bait and the results will be costly.
Genesis 39:12 talking about Potiphar’s wife trying to tempt Joseph in committing adultery with her “She caught him by his cloak and said, ‘Come to bed with me!’ But he left his cloak in her hand and ran out of the house.”
2 Timothy 2:22 “Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.”. The words “flee” and “pursue” imply urgency, deliberate, choice and movement. You must make a deliberate choice with urgency to move quickly out of the presence of the temptation.
Something else you need to overcome temptation is the fellowship of other believers. Why? Because being in isolation is the idea environment for temptation. This is another reason why you need to be part of a local church family. You need to surround yourselves with other believers who can help you, encourage you, pray for you and hold you accountable.
1 Corinthians 15:33 “Do not be misled: ‘Bad company corrupts good character.” Proverbs 13:20, “Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.”
Finally, you need to feed on God’s Word. If you want to overcome temptation, you’re going to have to feed on God’s Word. Psalm 119:11“I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.”
We can’t say that temptations are unique to us as individuals; because even Jesus was tempted. Matthew 4:1-4 “Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, ‘If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.’ Jesus answered, ‘It is written: Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” Each time the devil tempted Jesus to give into a desire, Jesus responded with God’s Word.
When you feed on God’s Word and know what God’s Word says, you can fight the temptation by following God’s teaching. If you’ve trusted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, His Spirit lives in you and His Spirit gives you the power and wisdom to overcome those sinful impulses, so that we can obey Him. We all face temptations, that’ is never going to change, but we don’t have to choose to give into the temptation and disobey God; because the power of sin over us was defeated at the Cross.
If you don’t have a church family, we invite you to visit us Sunday morning at 11am. FBC Van Horn, A Place To Belong!