FoundationsForGrowing

Tackling Temptation

by Joanna Pierce on March 16, 2017

Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him (James 1:12, KJV).

What is Temptation?

We go through life with the mindset that temptations are only for evil; their sole purpose being a stumbling block in our spiritual life. But, what we don’t realize is that temptation is present in our daily life to teach us to do good—a stepping stone to take us into a deeper relationship with Christ. Today, we must look at temptation with a different perception.

Temptation all beings with a choice. That choice will be to resist temptation, or follow after the characteristics of Christ: bear the fruit of the Spirit per the operation of the Holy Ghost in our lives (Galatians 5:22–23). Just as fruit takes a while to don branches and grow, temptation proves to render spiritual fruit in our lives, but after a process of time.

Satan uses temptation to discourage and defeat the child of God. He knows where to tempt us, how often, and with what. But, we must always be vigilant and stay apprised of his schemes, lest he catch us unaware (II Corinthians 2:11). We can use temptations for our good!

Knowing the 4-Step Process to Temptation

Desire

Temptation starts in the mind, not the circumstance. If we don’t have a desire for something, we won’t be tempted to do the wrong thing. Ninety percent of every battle we fight starts in the mind. Scripture tells us it’s the “thought life” that defiles us (Matthew 15:7–27), not necessarily what we do. Whatever comes into our mind, we have the ability to discard it, but once we entertain the thought, it becomes a longing in our heart and will eventually manifest itself in our lives.

Doubt

Satan tries to get the believer to doubt the Lord, His Word, and what’s right vs. wrong. The devil will try to convince us that we should be happy in this life instead of following what God wants and God’s plan for our lives. It’s not about serving self, it’s about serving God. We must put on the whole armor of God to fight the fiery darts of the wicked (Ephesians 6:11–18).

Deception

Satan is the father of lies and spins a web of them throughout our lives (John 8:44). He would like us to be confused about truth, which is why the devil is so skilled at getting the believer to believe half-truths, or lies. In order to avoid making the wrong decision in the heat of the moment, we must stay prayed up and in the Word of God so we know what the truth really is when we’re tempted.

Disobedience

When we act on the thought we’ve been thinking about, temptation has transformed into disobedience to God. Temptation is birthed into behavior (sin) and sin gives way to death (James 1:14–15). We must allow the Holy Ghost to convict us when we’re headed in the wrong direction and lead us into the paths of righteousness.

How to Deal with Temptation

Refuse to be Intimidated

We cannot allow the devil to intimidate us with temptation. We must take the authority God has given us to challenge and combat the devil. Instead of playing the defensive in our spiritual life, we must be proactive and fight—be in the offensive position! Remember God will not allow us to be tempted above that which we can bear (I Corinthians 10:13). Jesus was able to overcome temptation, and His Spirit lives within us (Romans 8:9).

Recognize Our Pattern of Temptation

Satan is like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour (I Peter 5:8). The enemy will watch out for when the child of God isn’t paying attention; then he comes in for the kill. We must be busy about the Kingdom and not idle in ourselves (Proverbs 16:27–29). We should determine when, where, with whom, etc. are we most tempted. Identify those areas and red flags in our spiritual life and get away from them (Proverbs 5:8)! It’s easier to stay away from temptation than getting out of temptation.

Refocus Our Attention on Something Else

Since the battle we fight is in the mind, we should focus our attention on something else! We cannot focus our thoughts continually on how to escape temptations. We should focus on overcoming it, and then move on to thinking about other things in God. Scripture tells us to think on things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, and of a good report (Philippians 4:8). Thing on the good things!

Reveal Our Struggle to a Godly Friend

We need accountability in our spiritual walk, and we need the strength from the body of Christ. Scripture tells us to confess our faults to one another because the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous person is very effective (James 5:16). What we may struggle with, another Saint of God can bind together with us in prayer against it. Two are better than 1 in their labor (Ecclesiastes 4:9)—fight the devil and put him to flight (Deuteronomy 32:30)!

Resist the Devil

We must focus on submitting ourselves to God and resisting the devil (James 4:7). When we allow ourselves to become a conduit for Christ and yielding ourselves over to Him, there won’t be any time or room for the devil to come in and complete a work. Our greatest weapon against the enemy is the Word of God. We must learn the Scriptures and use them against the enemy when he comes knocking (Psalm 119:11). If Jesus was able to fight temptation in the wilderness with Scripture, so can we (Matthew 4:7)!

Request God’s Help

Temptation is real. But, God never created it so we could face it alone. We must ask for God’s help to overcome it. God is close to those who will call upon Him (Psalms 34:18–20). He knows what we go through and is there to help us overcome it (Hebrews 4:15). He has given us the ability to boldly come before His throne to obtain mercy and grace (Hebrews 4:16). Let’s reach toward our Savior, the One whom can deliver us from all things!

Adapted from Wednesday Night Bible Study on March 15, 2017 with Guest Speaker, Brother Casey Pollard