Temptation is part of the human experience and no one is exempt from it: ( “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man” (1 Corinthians 10:13). Jesus Himself was even tempted in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1-11). Even though temptation may be part of our common daily experience there are some very practical things we can do when we experience temptation.
God doesn’t tempt us (James 1:13-14) but we may find ourselves in certain situations that require us to rely on God’s strength and grace to sustain us. We need to be consciously praying that we do not yield to the temptation which seems to be on the outside but is always an effort to dimish God’s glory within us. It is an assault on our morality and character to bring shame and discord and prayer is essential for the success to resist.
Not only should we be praying to avoid temptation altogether but we must be diligent in prayer while undergoing a temptation. If we will resist the devil, he will flee (James 4:7). Resisting happens as we simultaneously submit to God’s Spirit instead of our carnal nature. If we try to handle sin on our own, we will surely lose; simply take note of Adam and Eve. However, if we look at Jesus for our example, He relied on the relationship with His Father and by prayer (being connected in relationship with The Father) used scripture to battle the onslaught of temptation by the evil one.
Using scripture when facing temption is crucial to overcoming the temptations we face. In Matthew 4:1-11, Jesus continually refuted Satan’s temptations with scripture. Praying and saying God’s Word go hand-in-hand. In order to say the Word though, we’ve got to know the Word. This is why memorizing the Bible is so important (Psalm 119:11). We can’t quote what we don’t know. The power to overcome temptation isn’t found in the phrases of scripture but the Truth of scripture. Knowing the Truth is what sets us free (John 8:32).
James 4:7 tells us to resist the devil and he will flee from us but every temptation isn’t from the devil. Some of them are from our own inner natures. Like Joseph in Genesis 39, there are times when we must run from the temptation that is presenting itself. Joseph had the daily temptation from Potiphar’s wife consistent. So what did he do when it became too dangerous for him to be in the situation? He got out of there! Sometimes praying and saying the scripture needs to be joined with a deliberate movement away from the tempting environment. God has given us a brain and a body that are able to be controlled by decisions or desires. When temptation comes, we must make good decisions early so that natural desires don’t overtake us and become sinful.
How often do you pray to stay away from temptation?
How often do you resort to taking temptation into your own hands instead of relying on God’s Spirit or His Word?
Do you have verses memorized to help you overcome temptation?
What escape plan can you put into place when a temptation comes at you? Maybe there’s someone you can call? Maybe there are some cues that you are aware of that you need to take seriously and not neglect?
What can you do to help avoid temptations? Maybe there are blockers you can employ on your phone, internet, or tv? Maybe bring a good friend with you to help you stay strong?