Overcoming Temptation

Biggest Loser Esene (Lima & Athena) vs Peko (Paul & Ave) family season one started this past Saturday when each side was officially weighed in. With the end date set at December 15, 2017, the contestants are at work. The shopping lists have been made, the exercise plan still not yet completed, and the diet has not officially started for the Esene family. Why? Well, yesterday after evening worship we had finger food fellowship. There was a wide variety of choices, the kind of choices that will cause us to lose the competition and not the weight. So it was tempting and… the struggle is real!

On a more serious matter, we have an enemy who will not rest until he wins us over to sin. He does this by exploiting our weaknesses, putting attractive options before us so we can choose. Yes, when it comes to temptation, we do have a choice. We can choose to give in, or we can choose to overcome it. Saying “the devil made me do it” is excusing personal responsibility. The devil can not make us sin, he can only tempt us. Here are four things to consider when we are tempted to commit sin.

ONE

When we are tempted to commit sin, know that God is not the source of temptation.

“Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:” (James 1:13 KJV)

  • God allows us to be tempted, and he will also provide the way of escaping temptation. “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13 KJV)
  • The purpose of temptation is to test our faith in God. “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.” (James 1:2–3 KJV)
  • When we overcome, we grow and become stronger in the faith.

TWO

When we are tempted to commit sin, understand that giving in is not worth our soul in Hell. 

“But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.” (James 1:14–15 KJV)

  • Sin will send a soul into eternal punishment. When we sin, we violate the law of an eternal being (1 John 3:4), therefore the just ramification for such action is eternal punishment. Sin unrepented of, will separate us from God. The principle is in this passage: “Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you, that he will not hear.” (Isaiah 59:1–2 KJV)
  • Luke 16:19-31 gives us a glimpse of what eternal punishment is like. It is sad that so many would say they will go to Hell happy or something on the same line, not realizing how devastating it is for one to be there. The rich man now in the place of torment, begs for his family to be warned about his current reality.
  • If we have given into temptation, we can ask God for forgiveness and continue to fight against those evil forces (1 John 1:6-10). We have a God who is merciful and gracious, and we need to meet the conditions that He has made, in order for us to be right with him. Remember, that we must repent of our sins, in order for us to be forgiven (Acts 17:30).

THREE

When we are tempted to commit sin, know that we can overcome because Christ overcame. 

  • “For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.” (Hebrews 4:15 NAS95) We have the perfect example to follow.
  • When Jesus was tempted by the devil (Matthew 4:1-10) He overcame his temptation not by using the unlimited power he possessed as God, but by using the power of the written Word. This is the pattern of overcoming temptation my friends. Like Jesus, we must use the Word of God.
  • We need to be like the psalmist who wrote: “thy word have I hidden in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee” (Psa. 119:11). Commit the word of God to memory and stand against the devils traps. Use the sword of the Spirit to fight against temptation (Eph. 6:17).
  • Overcoming temptation is part of being a faithful Christian. It does not go without reward: “Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.” (James 1:12 NAS95).

FOUR 

We need to talk about our struggles.

“Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.” (James 5:16 NAS95)

  • Why not share our struggles with a brother or sister so that they can pray for us? As a church family, we should be helping one another to get to the finish line. We need to create in the family a trustworthy environment so that people can be comfortable to talk about their weaknesses. Accountability is key to working together in God’s family.
  • Gossip is one of those hindrances to people confessing or seeking help for their individual problems. Gossip if it is a habit for one, it is a sign of spiritual immaturity. Gossip is one of those things we need to watch out for because it is a tool of Satan.
  • We need encouragement from one another. Self-encouraging is great, but there are hard times where we need a brother or sister to lift us up.We need to be ahead of the devil by taking preventative measures. Let us bear one another’s burdens and fulfill the law of Christ (Gal. 6:2).

CONCLUSION

Our enemy does not rest, neither should we. We cannot lower our defenses against temptation. We do this by not studying God’s Word as we ought to. We do this by not applying God’s Word in our lives. We do this by neglecting the gathering of the saints together. We do this when we lack love for the Truth and boldness to stand for it. If we truly are concerned about overcoming the struggles we face, we will strive to be the like the following man:

“Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.” (Psalms 1:1–3 KJV)

When you are tempted remember God is not the source of it, but He is the provider of the way of escape. When you are tempted remember that a moment with sin is not worth your soul in eternal punishment. When you are tempted remember that you are an overcomer through Jesus’ example. When you are tempted rely on your church family to help you overcome. “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:” (1 Peter 5:8 KJV)

 

 

 

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