James 1:12 says “Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.”
Right now, let us ask God to help us understand this persevering thing, which is to continue in a course of action even in the face of difficulty. “God help me understand how to recognize and overcome temptation. To embrace Your truth in my life. Reveal to me the spiritual tools necessary to defeat the attacks of the enemy. Amen”
Temptation is defined as “the desire to do something, especially something wrong or unwise.” Well, that is definitely clear enough…so how do we fight temptation?
Temptation is a prelude to sin, how we react and who we call on for help makes all the different in the world. There is a pattern to temptation, how it gets our attention and then puts evil desire into our mind. This evil desire turns into sin. Sin is an action word the dictionary says it is a noun, but to me a verb is a better definition. A verb is defined as “a word used to describe an action, state, or occurrence” see where I am going? Sin has movement and it starts with a thought, our mind dwells on the temptation until we can no longer resist. Temptation is often a short cut, an escape, or a desire to get revenge. Many times, our genuine desire to be accepted and loved creates an unhealthy temptation to feel pleasure which leads to sin.
God gave us a hunger and thirst to have a personal relationship with Him, Satan corrupted that hunger and thirst into a “shortcut”, this is how Adam and Eve were deceived, the garden was not enough…they wanted more…to be more like God. They did not understand that they already were “made in His image” the closest and most highly cherished by God. In this deception temptation was born.
The first thing you need to understand that no one escapes temptation. Temptation is Satan’s primary weapon to destroy you. In John 10:10 God warns us “The thief (devil) comes only to steal and kill and destroy”. We cannot stop there we need to continue to the end of the scripture because freedom is found in those next few words, “ I (Jesus) came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” Today, I want to help you and I tune up our skills of recognizing temptation and then stop it dead in its tracks…reaching out to Jesus who is the great Overcomer.
God knew temptation would be part of our life, our ability to resist would need His help, the help of a Savior. So, God turned temptation into an opportunity. God wants us to see temptation as a stepping stone to spiritual maturity, not as something that keeps you captive. Many times we think temptation starts in our circumstances, in fact, it starts in our mind. Many times the circumstance or better said consequence comes later. God warns us in His word several times, here in Mark 7:21-23 we clearly see, “For from within, that is out the heart (mind) of men, come base and malevolent thoughts and schemes, acts of sexual immorality, thefts, murders, adulteries, acts of greed and covetousness, wickedness, deceit, unrestrained conduct, envy and jealousy, slander and profanity, arrogance and self-righteousness and foolishness (poor judgment). All these evil things, schemes and desires come from within and defile and dishonor the man.”
Satan uses doubt and deception to raise up temptation in your mind. He has studied you, your emotions, your body language, and he is very clever. Satan twists our human nature which is to control, compete and win into wrong thinking or sinful action. The Bible says he is the “father of lies” John 4:44, he simply changes God’s truth by a word or two to get you questioning God. The devil’s desire is to keep you from walking in God’s truth.
So, what do we do now that we have a clear picture of temptation and how it leads to sin in our lives? Here are some facts to help us see God’s Truth:
Fact One: No matter how mature you become as a believer temptation will always be there. Do NOT let the devil make you feel ashamed or guilty because you are tempted.
Fact Two: Consider temptation as a compliment, the devil only messes with those he knows carry weapons to destroy him. The real truth is the devil fears us way more than we should fear him, we have God on our side he lost that honor long ago.
Fact Three: Be realistic, you will never be able to avoid temptation completely, you cannot stop the devil from making suggestions, but you do NOT have to act on them.
Fact Four: Know your weakness, your vulnerability and the minute your mind starts dwelling on something unhealthy turn to Jesus, His truth…”Be sober well balanced and self-disciplined, be alert and cautious at all times. That enemy of yours, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion fiercely hungry, seeking someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8 AMP
Fact Four: Get your emotions under control, speak life into yourself “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it and indulge it will eat its fruit and bear the consequences of their words.” Proverbs 18:21 Life is messy, but God never leaves you hanging!! Get your thoughts under control, 2 Corinthians 10:4-5 says, “For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy negative thoughts and behaviors. We destroy the lies, opinions and every lofty attitude raised against the knowledge of God and make every thought obedient to the truth of Jesus Christ.” personalized
Fact Five: When temptation comes, just CRY OUT for help to God…judge your thoughts and emotions against God’s Word…have your life-giving scriptures ready to speak in your situation. Jesus faced the same temptations we do, He met them head on be saying “It is written”, this truth belongs to us as well…God’s Word will set you free.
Fact Six: We have confidence, know who you are in Jesus…you are His, created in His image. You are loved valued and cherished by God more than any human possible can…His love for you should overwhelm you completely, cover and protect you no matter what is going on in your flesh and circumstances. We live in a fallen world, be you don’t have to be fallen.
Fact Seven: Have patience with yourself, God’s work in you does not happen in a microwave, God uses a slow cooker…transforming you into this amazing, unique and powerful child of God. Claim your position, commit to think Kingdom thoughts and not worldly ones that will just fade away. Let Hebrews 4:16 AMP sink in “Therefore let us with privilege approach the throne of grace that is, the throne of God’s gracious favor with confidence and without fear, so that we may receive mercy for our failures and find His amazing grace to help in time of need an appropriate blessing, coming just at the right moment. Ask God for the power to do the right thing, make the right decision and then EXPECT Him to provide it.
“No temptation regardless of its source has overtaken or enticed you that is not common to human experience nor is any temptation unusual or beyond human resistance; but God is faithful [to His word—He is compassionate and trustworthy, and He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability to resist, but along with the temptation He has in the past and is now and will always provide the way out as well, so that you will be able to endure it without yielding, and will overcome temptation with joy.” 1 Corinthians 10:13 AMP