“What are the keys to resisting temptation?”Nelson’s Bible Dictionary defines temptation as “an enticement or invitation to sin, with the implied promise of greater good to be derived from following the way of disobedience.” Resisting tempation begins with knowing that Satan is the supreme “tempter”
Matthew 4:3During that time the devil[a] came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become loaves of bread.”
1 Thessalonians 3:5 That is why, when I could bear it no longer, I sent Timothy to find out whether your faith was still strong. I was afraid that the tempter had gotten the best of you and that our work had been useless
Satan has been tempting mankind since our Creator placed His first two children in the Garden of Eden.
Genesis 3:1The serpent was the shrewdest of all the wild animals the Lord God had made. One day he asked the woman, “Did God really say you must not eat the fruit from any of the trees in the garden?”
1 John 3:8But when people keep on sinning, it shows that they belong to the devil, who has been sinning since the beginning. But the Son of God came to destroy the works of the devil.).
Ultimately, however, we know that Satan’s power over Christians has been effectively destroyed as the war has already been won through our Savior’s death and resurrection which conquered the power of sin and death forever. Nonetheless, Satan still prowls the earth looking to drive a wedge between God and His children, and his temptations are unfortunately a daily part of our lives.
1 Peter 5:8Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.
Yet with the power of the Holy Spirit and the truth of God’s Word to help us, we will find ourselves effectively resisting temptations.The apostle Paul encourages us with these words:
1 Corinthians 10:13 “ The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure”.
Indeed, every one of us faces temptations of some kind; even Jesus was not immune as He was “tempted in every way, just as we are”
Hebrews 4:15This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin..
Although Satan may be the dark force ultimately behind the tempting, it is our fallen and corrupted human nature that allows these temptations to take root and cause us to act on them, thereby “giving birth to sin”
James 1:15These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death.
But it is the power of the Holy Spirit that enables us to free ourselves from the sin and temptations we struggle with in our daily lives. Thus, if we have the Spirit of Christ residing in our hearts, we already have what it takes to resist the flaming arrows the devil sends our way.
As Paul told the Galatians,
Galatians 5:16“So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves.
The Word of God has always been our best defense against Satan’s temptations, and the better we know His Word, the easier it will be to claim victory over our daily struggles. The Psalmist tells us
Psalm 119:11“I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you”
When Christ was tempted by Satan in the desert, the first thing He did was to quote Scripture
Matthew 4:4-10 But Jesus told him, “No! The Scriptures say,‘People do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” Then the devil took him to the holy city, Jerusalem, to the highest point of the Temple, and said, “If you are the Son of God, jump off! For the Scriptures say,‘He will order his angels to protect you.And they will hold you up with their hands so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone.”Jesus responded, “The Scriptures also say, ‘You must not test the Lord your God.” Next the devil took him to the peak of a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. “I will give it all to you,” he said, “if you will kneel down and worship me.”“Get out of here, Satan,” Jesus told him. “For the Scriptures say,‘You must worship the Lord your God and serve only him.”
By quoting Scripture it eventually caused the devil to leave Him.
Indeed,Christians need to be diligent in studying God’s Word.
Psalm 119:97-98 Oh, how I love your instructions!I think about them all day long. Your commands make me wiser than my enemies,for they are my constant guide.
In addition to God’s Word, prayer can help us to resist temptation. The night He was betrayed, Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane and He told Peter to pray
Mark 14:38Keep watch and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation. For the spirit is willing, but the body is weak.”
Also, in the “Lord’s Prayer,” Jesus taught us to pray that we would not be lead into temptation
Matthew 6:13And don’t let us yield to temptation, but rescue us from the evil one
Luke 11:4. and forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us.And don’t let us yield to temptation.
Yet, when we do fall into temptation, we know that “God is faithful; He will not let us be tempted beyond what [we] can bear,” and that He will provide us with a way out
1 Corinthians 10:13The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.
This is a promise from God, and like Abraham, Christians should be “fully persuaded” that God has the power to do what He has promised
Romans 4:21He was fully convinced that God is able to do whatever he promises.
Another way to help us resist temptation is to remember what Jesus Christ did for us. Even though He never committed a sin, He willingly endured the torture of the Cross for us while we were still sinners
Romans 5:8But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.
Every sin we’ve ever committed, or will commit, played a part in nailing our Savior to the Cross. How we respond to Satan’s worldly allurements is a great indicator as to just how much the love of Jesus Christ occupies our hearts.Now, even though Christians already have the tools necessary for victory, we need to use our common sense and not place ourselves in situations that prey upon, or stimulate, our weaknesses. We are already bombarded every day with images and messages that tantalize our sinful lusts. We don’t need to make it more difficult than it already is. Even though Christ’s Spirit resides in our hearts, it is cloaked with our flesh which can be very weak at times
Matthew 26:41 Keep watch and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation. For the spirit is willing, but the body is weak!”
When we know something is or can be sinful, Paul warns us to “flee from it.” Remember, the “tempter” is also the master of rationalization, and there is no limit to the arguments the devil can offer us to justify our sinful behavior. Armed with His Spirit and the truth of His Word, we are well equipped to overcome Satan’s assaults. No matter what trials and temptations come our way, God’s Word and Spirit are infinitely more powerful than any of
A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For weare not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.
Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm.Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness.For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
When we walk with the Spirit we can look at temptations as opportunities for us to show God that He is indeed the Master of our lives.