How to deal with temptation

The enemy is always around, looking for ways to get the Christian to stray from the path of righteousness and down the road to sin. The devil is up to no good and wants to come in only to kill, steal and destroy. This life is filled with many trials and temptations, and in order to live a glorious Christian life, we must learn how to deal with and overcome temptation.

Temptation is no respecter of persons, it’s the war, fighting within, desperately seeking a way to manifest on the outside. It’s driven by lust, greed, and evil desires. Heading full force ahead down the road to destruction, sin, and ultimately death.

“The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” John 10:10 KJV

Identify potential temptation

The sources and ways of temptation are numerous. Some are very obvious, while others are more subtle. As Christians, we should learn how to recognize potential and imminent temptations, and stay clear of them. In Proverbs 7, we learn of a young man who was very foolish and got taken in and seduced by a woman who was up to no good. Little did he know that she was a vicious serpent ready to drag his soul to hell. But he could have avoided the temptation if he had not passed her way.

“For she hath cast down many wounded: yea, many strong men have been slain by her.” “Her house is the way to hell, going down to the chambers of death.” Proverbs 7:26-27 KJV

We are constantly tested and tried by God to reveal our true character whether good or bad, but he will always make a way of escape and he will never put more on us than we can bear. God tested Job’s faith by allowing the devil to destroy all he had. Job had the strength to endure and in the end, he got double for his trouble. Hold on, don’t give up or give in.

“And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of the LORD.” Job 1:12 KJV

Stop pointing finger

Where does this temptation come from? Certainly from the pits of hell and not from God. So no need to be angry with God and blame him for what you are going through. Sin started with temptation, Eve was tempted by the devil and gave in to this temptation, then she persuaded Adam to join her in disobeying God. Adam agreed to partake of the fruit, but when he was confronted by God he overlooked his participation and shifted the blame to God and Eve. He reminded God that he was the one who gave him Eve, so hence to blame. 

“And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.”Genesis 3:12 KJV

When God questioned Eve, she blamed the serpent.

“And the LORD God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.” Genesis 3:13 KJV 

While this is indeed the story, it is also true that this is a blatant attempt to avoid taking any responsibility for what happened. We are all prone to sin, but should not blame God. God is holy and cannot look upon sin. God hates sin and evil, so he does not tempt anyone with evil. 

“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

Understand the “Why?” tendency to sin

Adam and Eve yielded to temptation and sin entered the world. And has continued on because of the sinful nature of man. We cannot hide from temptation, because it is everywhere. But in order to overcome it; we must admit and acknowledge that it is an internal battle between lust, sinful desires, and our spirit man. The flesh wants to take control of the spirit, and the spirit will hold its ground, and the fight goes on.

It’s a battle between good and evil, and all about making the right godly choice. You might feel hungry, which is a desire, you go into the supermarket and see food, but you have no money. The devil tells you to steal some food. This is where the temptation is, but you overcome it by reminding yourself that stealing is a sin and also unlawful. Then the choice is yours. 

To steal or not to steal

We choose to kill or not to kill

Forgive or not forgive

Commit adultery or not to commit adultery

Sin or not to sin

The choice is yours

To hate or to love 

Destroy or build

To hold on or let go

The choice is yours

The battle between good and evil

But the battle is always on, fighting lust, greed, unforgiveness, hatred, immorality, and the works. They are always rearing their ugly heads and out to get you. They did not disappear or drop dead when you became a Christian. These evils still lurk around seeking ways to make a comeback. If you will only open the door or crack the window, just a little. But Jesus has already overcome them all, and so have we. When you are up against these evils, remind yourself that greater is he who is in you than he that is in the world. The Holy Spirit is strong and powerful,  so call on the name of Jesus. He will come and rescue you.

“Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12:21 KJV

You are stronger than you think. We should be open and honest about our feelings. The” Holy than thou” attitude is just a facade and denial of the true battles that we are fighting. It’s wise to admit what we are facing and know that we do not have to give in and let the devil win. Jesus overcame it all, death could not hold him, and he silenced the voices of the evil one. He is alive. You might be tempted to sin, but this temptation only becomes sinful when you act upon it. Use the word of God to counteract the words of the devil and you will win every time.

Remove yourself from the temptation

Temptation can be potential or real as in here and now, coming up your street, on your driveway, on your doorstep, knocking at your door, or already in your house. The goal is to know how to deal with it at each stage. People are unique and deal with things in different ways. Some have high tolerance levels to certain things while others are easily freak out and make a mountain out of a molehill. Yet this uniqueness causes us to deal with temptation differently. 

People are tempted by different things. For some, it’s pornography, greed, money, women, etc. Temptation comes in many forms, shapes, and sizes. It’s important to recognize the things that often tempt you and learn how to remove yourself from such temptation. David saw Bathsheba bathing, he didn’t have to stand and watch, yet he did. And his wandering eye led to adultery. This is also the case with many. Know your triggers and run as far away from them as possible. 

It might seem difficult since the world is fast turning from the ways of the Lord God and following the paths of sin. Do not entertain the devil and his cohorts, take a quick nod of acknowledgment and hightail it out of there. Some people go blindly into the temptation, aware, but refusing to believe that they might yield to it. Acting as if they are strong, but playing the devil’s advocate.

Story:

Susan works with Jim, who is her boss. They have been work colleagues, for over a year now. They often spend a lot of time working on projects together. Jim is married with two kids, and Susan is single. Their job often requires many late nights and weekends in the office, mostly with other colleagues around as well. Susan is a Christian, Jim doesn’t believe that there is a God. Susan noticed that Jim has been overly attentive to her lately. Requesting that she stay later with him in the office after other employees leave and even suggested that they go out for a drink after work alone.

In a scenario like this, Where is the temptation? What can this temptation lead to? How to avoid such temptation? This might not be your story, but it might be someone that you know. And if it is not this then something else, we all have a story of temptation. This is real life, and we must always be on our guard in full armor and ready to blast away these aggressive targets.

Temptation is manifested within 
Waiting for a chance to explode
Lurking like a thief in the night 
Ready to pounce
Enticing, finger licking
Mouthwatering, juicy
The chocolate cherry on the top
Or so it seems
Change in the twinkling of an eye
The sweet becomes sour
The fresh seems rotten
Becomes sinning
Life becomes death
Yield not
Cry out
Draw a line between 
Good and evil
Make it bold
Stay on your side
Yield not to temptation.

Reward yourself

“Each victory will help you some other to win.” We all face temptation, some big, some small. Some people give in and give up, while others fight and overcome. Which group do you belong to? “Overcomers or towel-throwers?” Overcomers yeah, so reward yourself. Each time the enemy tempts you and you send him flying back to hell. Pat yourself on the shoulder, put on some praise and worship song, and do a feel-good dance. Yeah, you did well. If you fail and give in, don’t be so hard on yourself. 

Ask God for forgiveness, pray, fast, get courage, learn from your mistake and move on. Don’t beat up yourself and wallow in self-pity. Be strong, the strongest of us fall sometimes. After all, we are only humans.

See yourself overcoming the temptation

While temptations are real and hard to fight, it is possible to overcome them all. Jesus did and we can too. “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 KJV

Our emotions and feeling always run wild and there is a heightened sense of awareness when temptation is near. It’s like we are at a tug of war, the flesh-craving satisfaction and the spirit pulling against this need. But feelings are deceptive, and we should not let them control our lives.“

(For we walk by faith, not by sight:)” 2 Corinthians 5:7 KJV

Anticipate the temptation, see it coming from afar, gird up your loins, and be prepared for it. Tell yourself. I must win this battle. If we know that it’s possible in Jesus’ name, then we just have to trust him and take him at his words. The more you resist and overcome the temptation, the more confident you will feel that you have the power to resist; if you are faced with the same or similar problem in the future. “Each victory will help you some other to win”  

Just remember you are no longer under sin but grace covers you. Try and be honest with yourself. Acknowledge your feelings, analyze them, and know that you have the power to choose between what’s wrong and right. We can always triumph over sin, because its powers are broken by the sacrifice that Jesus made on Calvary’s cross.

Fix your mind on godly things

We know it all starts in the mind, the eyes pick it up, then the flesh carries out the action. Lust, greed, adultery, fornication, perversion, and the works. The mind is busy seeking out the things of the flesh and it’s no use to disguise the feeling. They are real, pushing, tugging at your heart, wanting you to give in, but you have the mind of Christ. Resist the devil and he will flee. 

“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” James 4:7 KJV

If your mind is down in the gutter, you can clean out the gutter, or get your mind out of it. Some go looking for temptation and when they find it, act as if they didn’t know that they would have to deal with the consequences. Some honestly did not realize what it was until they are facing the consequences. So the blame is partly on the mind. 

“Deal with the enemy within, and the enemies outside can do you no harm”

A sound and sober mind, free from perversion and sinful thoughts, let this be our portion today. In Jesus’ name. Cast down those thoughts of sin and evil imaginations, and tell them to submit to Jesus and the mighty power of the Holy Ghost. Rebuke them and use the word of God to fight them daily. Fix your mind on heavenly things and the cares of this world will grow strangely dim in the light of God’s glory. 

“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:” Philippians 2:5 KJV

Think of lovely things, holy, righteous, and pleasing to God your father. Leave no room for the devil to come in to corrupt and pollute your mind. Sweep out the dirt, dust off the cobwebs, and keep your focus on Christ Jesus.

Get in the word

The word is your sword and a mighty weapon against the spirit of temptation. So we must know the word because it’s the word that will set us free. Free, from every evil thought and temptation. In the Bible you will find solutions to all the problems you encounter on a daily basis. Read, meditate, and wait for revelation from the Holy Spirit to bring the scriptures alive. When trials and troubles come your way, read the words of God. Do as David did and encourage yourself in the Lord. Read and meditate on inspirational scriptures that relate to your situation. It will bring peace to your mind, spirit, and soul.

Praise, worship, pray and distract yourself from the temptation

Feel like watching an ungodly movie, say no, and go put on some praise and worship music. Create a barrier between you and the temptation. A strong sound barrier, fortified with bars of iron and gates of brass. So strong that the enemy can’t get in. This is what your praise can do.

“Praise ye the LORD: for it is good to sing praises unto our God; for it is pleasant; and praise is comely.” Psalms 147:1 KJV

Learn from your past mistakes

We all live what we learn. Learn from your mistake. We all make them. No one is perfect. We are all human. Know your strengths and your weakness. Recognize them and ask God to help you deal with temptation. Don’t hide from yourself. Show God your heart. These are short motivational quotes but are words of wisdom that are true, tried, and tested. We should learn from our past and try not to make the same mistakes again. We all fight our own demons and are tempted by different things. But we all have to live with the consequences. 

“But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.” James 1:14 KJV

Sadly this is not the case for everyone. Some people just keep making the same mistakes over and over again, going around in a circle like a dog searching for its tail.  If it’s a struggle to overcome the temptation, then seek help. You don’t have to carry your heavy burden alone. Turn to friends, family, and pastors who can help you. Reach out to someone, there is always a light at the end of the tunnel, so don’t lose hope. Hold on.

Consider the consequences of yielding to temptation

We are all faced with choices in life. Good and bad, wrong and right. We must choose one and live with the consequences of our choice. Sin is enticing, so many things waiting to pull us in and push us away from the presence of God. The prospects seem inviting and there is a hunger that we feel will be satisfied once we give in. But often times this is not the case, once we yield and commit the sin. We are still unsatisfied or just satisfied to a point of emptiness, wanting more.

Ask yourself “Where is this going? Always look ahead to see the consequences of the sin you are tempted to commit. If you do not see one, then reexamine the situation because there are always consequences and victims. Adultery can lead to a broken marriage and broken home. Stealing can lead to imprisonment and a criminal record. And both are sinning against God and his laws. 

And the cycle begins all over again. Sin draws us in and leads us to destruction. When we yield to temptation, we feel a sense of weakness and vulnerability. We become convicted of our sins and feel far away from Christ. But like a child, we should repent, ask for forgiveness and run back to the arms of our father he will never turn his back on us. The consequence of sin is death and eternal separation from Christ. Who wants that? Nobody.

“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6:23 KJV

The temptation will come, it’s important to recognize where it comes from. What it wants, and learn how to overcome it.

Prayer to overcome temptation

Father, I come to you in Jesus’ name. Lord, I know you are always with me even in these tests and trials. You are with me to the end. Hold my hands’ lord and keep me safe and help me to be an overcomer. Father help me to be strong and courageous when I face many temptations. Give me the grace and the knowledge to overcome them all. Lord be my strong tower the one I run to when I cannot make sense of it all. Lord please guide my steps and lead me into the paths of righteousness always and keep my feet from evil and sin. Father lead me not into temptation but deliver me from all evil. Because yours is the Kingdom and the power and the glory from now and forever. In Jesus’ name. Amen.