<%@LANGUAGE="JAVASCRIPT" CODEPAGE="1252"%> Untitled Document Defeating Temptation

Unfortunately, it has become common practice to give in to almost every temptation that Satan is capable of throwing at mankind. Too many people have decided that giving in to temptation is not very significant...after all, everyone is doing it! However, that is not what God wants from us. He wants for us to stand and fight against the wiles of the Devil, and has provided everything that we need to be successful. Consider just a few suggestions to help in the task of defeating temptations:

Remember that you are spiritual in nature. The apostle Paul wrote that we are to put off the old man of sin, and raise up a new man that will be a spiritual man (Romans 6:1-14). This means that we must make the choice to not allow the physical, carnal side to have more influence over our actions than our spiritual side. There is a constant battle that will rage between the two, but we must see to it that the spiritual side is successful (Romans 7:15-8:11). It is possible for us to be successful, but we must be dedicated to our spiritual life, rather than being so focused on worldliness and sinful pleasures that distract us. Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness (Matthew 6:33).

Remember that God will provide a way of escape. One of the greatest promises that God has made to us is that He will never tempt us beyond what we are able to bear, and that He will always provide a way of escape when He allows us to be tempted (1 Corinthians 10:12-13). Sometimes, we may feel like there is no other option but to give in to temptation. But, we can gain confidence and courage from this passage, which assures us that there will always be another option! Perhaps we can look back on times that we have stumbled on Satan's temptations, and see (in hindsight) the way that had been available to us to escape from the temptation. We can use these memories to help us in the future. We can be assured that God has provided help, if we will only look for it. This should be one of the most encouraging passages that a Christian can consider. If you are facing a temptation, you can know that God knows that you can withstand it! If that is not enough to encourage you to faithfulness, then what is?

Understand the consequences of failure. James tells us the pattern that is used by Satan to entrap us as mankind (James 1:14-15). The end result, if we give in to the temptations that are thrust upon us, is that we sin, and sin brings forth death. The consequence of failing to stand up to temptation is that we will be separated from God. This should be frightening to us, if we are rational thinking beings! How can one not be frightened by the consequence of being eternally separated from God? That is the punishment for those who physically die while spiritually separated from God (spiritually dead). This realization should cause us to want to be faithful to God, and encourage us to defeat the temptations that Satan hurls.

Prepare to confront Satan. Jesus, when He was being tempted by Satan answered him by quoting scripture. "It is written" is a powerful defense against any and every temptation that can affect men. We must be prepared to confront Satan when he brings the temptations that pique our desires! The only way to do that is to spend time in the pages of God's word. We must study enough to understand what God wants us to do--and how to refute the deceit of the Devil! The apostle Paul wrote that we need to put on the whole armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-17). A part of the armor described is the "sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God." If we do not know how to wield the sword of the Spirit, we will not survive long in the spiritual battle!

We can defeat temptation, but only if we dedicate ourselves to the spiritual nature that is demanded of us. We must make the decision that our spiritual well-being is what is important, forsaking the physical nature of worldliness and sin. This is a decision that has to be made each and every day. It is a decision that must be made each time we are faced with temptation. We cannot ever let our guard down, as that will be the time that Satan will attack. He is a "roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour" (1 Peter 5:8). If we are successful, there will be a great reward. James tells us that those who are successful in overcoming temptation have a crown of life awaiting them (James 1:12). Every person will be tempted. It is up to each individual to determine how he or she will deal with the temptation. Will you overcome, and receive a crown of life?

by Kris Brewer

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