“How can I overcome temptation?”The Scriptures tell us that we all face temptations. 1Corinthians 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.Perhaps this provides a little encouragement as we often feel that the world is bearing in on us alone, and that others are immune to temptations. We are told that Christ was also tempted: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.Where, then, do these temptations come from?It is important to knowthat Temptations, do not come from God, although He does allow them. James 1:13And remember, when you are being tempted, do not say, “God is tempting me.” God is never tempted to do wrong, (Or God should not be put to a test by evil people.) and he never tempts anyone else.In the first chapter of Job, we see that God allowed Satan to tempt Job, but with restrictions. Satan is roaming on the earth like a lion, seeking people to devour 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.Verse 9 tells us to resist him, knowing that other Christians are also experiencing his attacks. Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your Christian brothers and sisters all over the world are going through the same kind of suffering you are.By these passages we can know that temptations come from Satan. Temptation originates in us as well. We are tempted when we are “carried away and enticed by our own lust”James 1:14Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away. We allow ourselves to think certain thoughts, allow ourselves to go places we should not go, and make decisions based on our lusts that lead us into the temptation.How then do we resist the temptations?First of all, we must return to the example of Jesus being tempted in the wilderness by SatanMatthew 4:1-11The Temptation of JesusThen Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted there by the devil.2 For forty days and forty nights he fasted and became very hungry. During that time the devil(Greek the tempter) came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become loaves of bread.” 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.’(Deut 8:3 )” 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.’(Ps 91:11-12 )” Jesus responded, “The Scriptures also say, ‘You must not test the Lord your God.( Deut 6:16 )” 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 Godand serve only him.’(Deut 6:13)” Then the devil went away, and angels came and took care of Jesus.
inthe verses above, each of Satan’s temptations was met with the same answer: “It is written,” followed by Scripture. If the Son of God used the Word of God to effectively end the temptations—which we know works because after three failed efforts, “the Devil left him” (v. 11)—how much more do we need to use it to resist our own temptations? All our efforts to resist will be weak and ineffective unless they are powered by the Holy Spirit through the constant reading, studying, and meditating on the Word. In this way, we will be “transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:2). There is no other weapon against temptation except the “sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God” Ephesians 6:17Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.And we must set your mind on the things aboveColossians 3:2Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth.” If our minds are filled with the latest TV shows, music and all the rest the culture has to offer, we will be bombarded with messages and images that inevitably lead to sinful lusts. But if our minds are filled with the majesty and holiness of God, the love and compassion of Christ, and the brilliance of both reflected in His perfect Word, we will find that our interest in the lusts of the world diminish and disappear. But without the Word’s influence on our minds, we are open to anything Satan wants to throw at us.Here, then, is the only means to guard our hearts and minds in order to keep the sources of temptation away from us. Remember the words of Christ to His disciples in the garden on the night of His betrayal: Matthew 26:41Keep watch and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation. For the spirit is willing, but the body is weak!”Most Christians would not openly want to jump into sin, yet we cannot resist falling into it because our flesh is not strong enough to resist. We place ourselves in situations or fill our minds with lustful passions, and that leads us into sin.We need to renew our thinking Romans 12:1-2And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. (Or This is your spiritual worship; or This is your reasonable service. ) Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.We must no longer think as the world thinks, or walk in the same way that the world walks.Proverbs 4:14-15Don’t do as the wicked do, and don’t follow the path of evildoers. Don’t even think about it; don’t go that way. Turn away and keep moving.We need to avoid the path of the world that leads us into temptation because our flesh is weak. We are easily carried away by our own lusts.Scripturehas some excellent advice. Matthew 5:29So if your eye—even your good eye (Greek your right eye.)—causes you to lust, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.
That sounds severe! Sin is severe! Jesus is not saying that we literally need to remove body parts. Cutting out the eye is a drastic measure, and Jesus is teaching us that if necessary, a drastic measure should be taken to avoid sin.What was the meaning and purpose of Jesus’ temptations?Why did Jesus instruct us to pray ‘lead us not into temptation’ when God states that He does not tempt us?