One of the greatest challenges for a Christian living in this fallen world is the constant bombardment of temptation. When we are young in our faith, entanglements from our past or enticements of unfulfilled pleasures can cause us to fall into sin. As we mature, we risk becoming proud, self-righteous, gossipy or judgmental. Regardless of the temptation, God has promised us a way out; a way to honor Him!
God desires that His children enjoy a life of victory over sin. In the Book of James, a book devoted to practical guidance for living the Christian life, God tells us:
- James 4:7 Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.
God’s recipe for successfully resisting temptation:
- Submit to God – Make a personal decision and ongoing commitment to place all of yourself and all of your life under God’s authority and care.
- Resist the devil – Utilize any and all of the ‘R’ action steps below as often as needed to resist Satan and all the enticements that have resulted from his lies.
- Enjoy victory over temptation – Live a life that glorifies God by minimizing the amount of sin in your life and maximizing your fellowship with the Lord.
What is good and what is evil
- Hebrews 5:13-14 For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. 14 But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.
- 1 John 2:15-16 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world.
- The Flesh – Our Enticements
- Lust of the Eyes – the things we see and want, but don’t need or shouldn’t have
- Lust of the flesh – the things our human nature strongly desires that would dishonor our Heavenly Father
- Pride of Life – the things we take credit for that are actually beyond your capabilities
- The World – Our Environment
- James 4:4 Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.
- The Devil – Our Enemy
- Genesis 3:13 And the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”
- Never God - Our Emancipator
- James 1:13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone.
Christ’s life as a powerful example of victory over sin
- Christ Submitted to God
- John 5:30 I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me.
- Luke 22:42 saying, “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.”
- Christ Resisted Satan
- Matthew 4:10 Then Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’”
- Satan Fled
- Matthew 4:11 Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels came and ministered to Him.
- Christ Lived a Sinless Life
- Hebrews 4:15 For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.
- 2 Corinthians 5:21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
In God’s ability to deliver us from temptation
- 1 Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.
- 2 Peter 2:9 then the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations and to reserve the unjust under punishment for the day of judgment,
- Hebrews 2:18 For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted.
- Galatians 5:16 Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.
- Psalm 119:11 Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You.
- Romans 6:6-7 knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. 7 For he who has died has been freed from sin.
- Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
- 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
God’s help through prayer
- Matthew 6:13 And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
On our Reinforcements
- Hebrews 3:13 but exhort one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.
- Proverbs 27:17 As iron sharpens iron, So a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.
- Acts 1:8 But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
Away from the temptations that appeal to the core of our human weaknesses
- 1 Corinthians 6:18 Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body.
- 1 Corinthians 10:14 Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry.
- 2 Timothy 2:22 Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.
God loves us so very much. He has given us all we need to resist the devil and experience victory over temptation. However, when you do succumb to temptation (which we all do sooner or later, that’s why Christ had to die for us):
- 1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Everyone struggles with temptation. I pray that you find strength in Christ through God’s Word to escape the traps along your path that would pull you into sin and away from fellowship with God.
Heavenly Father, may Your Word and Your Spirit strengthen, protect and guide Your children such that they experience the joy and peace that come with submitting to you, resisting the devil and living a life that brings glory to Your holy name. I pray in the name of Jesus, Amen.