Whenever I find myself in a situation when I have failed and given into temptation, I often become, in a way, at war with myself. “Come on Chaya. Seriously? You’ve messed up again? And you call yourself a Christian?” It tends to leave me feeling very lonely, ashamed, guilty; this is when the enemy feeds off my shame. He will remind me of all the wrong I have done and how many times I have messed up. I mean, how can God continue to love me, when I am such a sinful and wretched person? We are human, we all sin. Each of us has fallen into temptation. Know that you are not the only one. As followers of Christ, the conviction we feel when we face temptation is so vital in our fight against sin.
Temptation; the sinful desire to do something we know is wrong or is not wise to do. Temptation comes in many forms and is different for people. We each struggle with certain things that other people may not and vise-versa. James 1:13-15 says “When tempted, no one should say, ‘God is tempting me.’ For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He tempt anyone; but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desires and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.” It is a scary thought to see how this is laid out for us in the bible on how temptation leads to spiritual death. It not only lays out the process of temptation, but also the consequences of our fall into temptation. This is one of many passages in the bible regarding temptation and sin and to be completely honest, it gets to be very discouraging when we find ourselves in a loophole of sin. Temptation does not come from God. I know sometimes it can feel that way. When we deal with temptation, we can, at times, begin to blame God for allowing that to happen. It is important to remember though that God does not cause us to be tempted; our fleshly desires and the sinful cravings are what cause it. The enemy will lay any obstacle in our way to cause us to stumble.
Our sin separates us from God. I would highly suggest reading about Adam and Eve and the fall of humanity. It talks about the specific instruction God gave to them and how Eve was tempted by the enemy. We see a very good representation of how the enemy works and what his character is. He will lead us to question God and try to get us to believe that God gives us instruction to “hold us back”. But something we must remember is that, just as it was said in Genesis 3 to Adam and Eve, the wages of sin is death. “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23. Sin will cause death. It separates us from the holiness and righteousness of God. And the enemy loves to rub that fact in our face. He uses our shame and guilt to keep us down, and feeling defeated. He wants to keep us from moving on and finding peace in knowing that we have forgiveness. (Read 1 John 1:9) God keeps no record of wrong; when we truly repent and fight harder and harder each time, we can get back up and withstand the enemy. Praise Him for providing Jesus as our way out; we have been given the gift of salvation through Jesus so that one day, we may stand before God blameless because of the sacrifice the Christ made for us.
Something else that I have noticed is that the more we are around people who encourage that bad behavior, who don’t hold you accountable and try to help see you through to overcoming temptation, it will make it that much harder on us to withstand it. “Do not be misled: Bad company corrupts good character.” 1 Corinthians 15:33. When we surround ourselves with people who encourage bad behavior, when we are constantly spending time with people who are not there for you when you are trying to fight temptation, it will make it harder for us to discern what is wrong and right. Temptation will lead to sin if we do not stand firm in the Word and overcome it through Christ. Remember that there is no sin in being tempted. Even Jesus himself was tempted. I encourage you to read the passage in Matthew 4:1-12, which goes over how Satan tempted Jesus and how He overcame it through the Word of God. It is so important for the body of Christ to come together and support one another in our walks as followers of Jesus. When we rely on the Lord and have the support of our brothers and sisters in Christ, we begin to understand how to fight temptation and will find ourselves winning more battles against sin.
So, how do we fight temptation? I mean, since we are so sinful, it is impossible to fight temptation, right? No, this is not the case. Yes, we will always be tempted as long as we are on earth, but there is hope for us. There is a way to fight temptation. There are so many passages in the bible that refer to fighting temptation and overcoming our sin. Here are some that I found that give a good representation on the instruction given by God to fight and withstand the enemy.
• Matthew 26:41 ~ “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
• James 4:7-8 ~ “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and He will come near to you.”
• Ephesians 6:13-18 ~ “Therefore, put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”
• Philippians 4:8 ~ “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.”
• Romans 12:21 ~ “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
• Psalms 119:11 ~ “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.”
These are just some of the many verses about how to overcome temptation, and I pray it isn’t too much for this blog. Something that I have realized is that these outlines have painted an imagery of a warrior for God. And you want to know the best way to fight this battle? On our knees. Fervently praying and thinking about the things of God. Something that I am still learning is that instead of dwelling on the struggle, find hope in the victory. The bible says that when we have victory through Christ; we have already won! “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33. We already have victory against temptation, against sin, and against the enemy!
“Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. For everything in the world – the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life – comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires will pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.” 1 John 2:15-17. I love that verse so much! “…But whoever does the will of God lives forever.” Obedience is key here. We are going to fail, we will fall, and we will mess up. God knows this. When we come to Him, confessing our sins, repenting of them and turning away from them, we will be free from the tie to sin and temptation and made alive in Christ. We cannot fight this without Him. No matter how hard we try to impress God by not sinning, we will not be able to resist temptation on our own.
Ultimately, temptation is a choice. We can choose to rely on God to be our strength and turn away from sin, or we can do the complete opposite. Temptation is there for us to grow. It is the testing of our faith that will produce growth and a stronger relationship with Him. Something that I pray you all remember is that we have already won! We know the outcome; through Jesus we have become victorious! God looks at the condition of our hearts. Do we indeed repent of our sins and move forward, armed against the next attack? Or do we fail and allow ourselves to pass it off as “Well, I’m only human,”? Our humanity is no excuse. “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.” James 1:12. Own it, brothers and sisters! Jesus has already won! I pray that this was encouraging for you. I know it was long blog, but I personally need reminders like this often, and I believe it is important for all of us to come together as a body of believers and encourage one another.
“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. 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 endure it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13. I know you may be thinking that it feels near impossible to overcome temptation when it is coming at you with full force. When literally everything within you is lunging forward into the depth of that sin. But the truth is, God has already given us an escape from sin. And our escape is Jesus Christ. His sacrifice was for the sins of the world! “For Christ died for sin once and for all, the just and unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the Spirit.” 1 Peter 3:18. When we commit our lives to Christ, becoming followers of His way, we have already overcome and won against temptation and against sin through Jesus. Arm yourself with the word of God, the truth, so that you can fight the enemy and the sinful desires of your flesh. Don’t let the evil one deceive you… There is freedom; there is victory in Jesus Christ alone! I am praying for all of you, and that as a fellowship of believers, we can come together and fight this. God bless!