Overcoming temptation

From the first moment you entered this world, there are two forces pulling you in, and wrestling for your attention. The flesh wants to dominate, control and lead you down the road to sin and destruction, the spirit pushing at your heart to lead you down the path of righteousness. But who will win? Well, it all depends on you. The ball is always in your court. Choose righteousness. But first, you have to know how to deal with temptation.

I do not mean the feeling that you get when you’re tempted to sin, but you’re able to deal with it and overcome it. No, these are thoughts that you struggle to deal with. I mean when you are tempted and the temptation is great, so great that you can almost taste the outcome. Contemplating tasting the sweet nectars of the apple, like what Eve gave to Adam. 

You can feel this desire, and every pulse in your body wants you to react and succumb to the illusion, but if you give in, you know that darkness will follow. Something might be pulling at you, tugging at your heart, beckoning you into something that you feel is beyond your control. It’s like a hook that is reeling you in. You do not want to give in, but your strength feels almost gone. You feel overpowered, in a furious rush. Heart beating fast, mouth dry, sinking deep into the strong desire to give in. This is temptation at its lowest form. 

But in the words of the famous songwriter H.R Palmer, you should:

Yield not to temptation for yielding is sin,

Each victory will help you some other to win. 

Fight valiantly onward 

Evil passions subdue 

Look ever to Jesus,

He will carry you through

The war between flesh and the spirit

What do you do?  If you can’t conquer small temptations. How will you deal with the big ones? The big fish, the ones where your appetite is wild and your emotions running like a stream. The place where there is a conflict between the flesh and the spirit. The flesh screaming “yes” and the spirit quietly saying “no.” It is at this point that you know what Jesus meant when he said, these can only come out by prayer and fasting. So we must pray, and fast against these evil temptations. 

“And he said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.”

Mark 9:29 KJV

Each day we have to make a conscious decision to crucify the flesh so the spirit can rise and take its rightful place. It’s never easy. Sin and the flesh always want control. They get angry and boisterous when they have to relinquish control. Yeah, you know they will not give up without a fight. But through prayer and fasting, we will eventually become dead to sin and claim life in Jesus’ name.

In a sense, we are at war, our spirit and our flesh at tug-of-war. We do the things that we do not want to do, and not the things that we should do. Like Peter about to deny Jesus, the act seems to follow so swiftly and fast that we hardly recognize that we are about to sin. We sinned, then, jumping out of our skin, and like Steve Urkel; we ask ourselves “Did I do that?”

The spirit will prevail

The war between the flesh and the spirit is a 24-7 battle, there is no stop to rest or regroup. As Christians, we must always be suited up in our full armor, and ready with the sword which is the word of God. The word will silence all the evil wagging tongues of the devil. If you feel sick in your body and you hear the condemning voice telling you that you will never be healed. Then speak the word, tell the devil “By the stripes of Jesus, I am healed.” The word always works against temptation. Satan must surrender and flee your presence. There is nothing more powerful than the word of God, coming from a heart that truly believes.

And like H.R Palmer said: 

Just ask the savior he will help you 

Comfort, strengthen, and keep you

He is willing to aid you

He will carry you through

Remember that we are citizens of heaven and pilgrims on this earth. Heaven is our priority and so we seek first the kingdom with every fiber of our being. After all, that’s our final destination and the place of our hope. We await the return of our King and savior to take us home. But while we wait we endeavor to live a life on this earth that glorifies God our father. 

Every day you are either rooted and grounded and not yielding to temptation, or you are flying high and giving in to your fleshly desires. But in both cases, you decide who wins and who loses. Yield and surrender to the spirit and you will not fulfill the lust of the flesh. Rise above temptation today. In Jesus’ name. 

What to do when you are tempted? 

Spend time fasting and praying

If you feel like you are about to sink, the tides are coming in, and the ground feels like it’s sinking under your feet. You look around and even if you wanted to run there is nowhere to run. Your throat is dry, even though there is water in your lungs, and you are gasping for air.

The waves are pulling you in, and just like Peter you are sinking, just cry out to Jesus in prayer. Say “Jesus help me, save me, Lord.” He will hear and rescue you. 

Jesus knows what it feels like to be tempted. He has suffered great temptations but overcame them all. Adam was tempted and yielded but Jesus the second Adam was tempted but overcame and conquered every temptation on our behalf. Therefore we have all authority in Jesus’ name to command ever sinful nature to bow under our feet. 

“For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succor them that are tempted.”

Hebrews 2:18 KJV 

Fix your eyes on heavenly things

Our affection should be set on heavenly things, so the temptations of this world will grow dimmer and dimmer until they fade away. It’s hard to live in two worlds and have the best of both. We can not have both, we have to make a conscious choice to live like we want to make heaven our home. Heaven is our home, but we are not yet there. Earth is our present location but we are heading for home and the things of earth are temporary soon to be passed away like a vapor in the wind. 

In the bible, we are told not to set our hearts on earthly treasures. Of course, we need to pay attention to our career, our house our bank accounts, etc. But we should never think of these things as treasures or the main reason for our existence. These can be idols and should not be worshiped.

Stay grounded in the word of God and overcome temptation

Sometimes as we become more grounded in our faith, we no longer spend as much time reading the bible as we should. It is very important that we spend time in the word. We should start the day with the word, and end the day with the word. Be strong in the word let it be the light that guides your steps in these dark days. 

Knowing the word of God is very important, we should know the word, memorize the word, do the word and let the word rule in our hearts and use it as a weapon against the enemy. 

Spend time in the word of God, so that you are full and there is no space for the devil to enter in. Temptation normally starts in the mind, first as a thought, an imagination, and then takes root in our hearts and soul. We don’t have to yield to this temptation; we cannot stop a bird from flying over our head but we certainly can stop it from nesting in our hair.  

There is no sitting on the fence, you have to choose a side. Choose Jesus he is always the winner.

Claim your victory over temptation

Jesus already overcame all temptations, so we need to be aware of this, stand in his authority, and claim his victory as our own. And to rest assured in his faithful promises that he will never put more on us than we can bear

“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

We just need to trust his divine will and believe that whatever the trial, he is working it out for our good and his glory. Satan has limited temptations but our infinite God has unlimited ways of making escape for us out of these trials and temptations. Claim your victory in Jesus’ name. 

Forgive yourself, let go and move on 

If in your human weak flesh you yield and give in to the temptation. Ask the Lord for forgiveness, repent, forgive yourself, learn from it and move on. It is wise to trace your steps in order to know why. Often times you will find that it started off with a little indulgence that later accumulated to a larger mess. 

And if you are willing to admit it. It probably happen during a period when you were farther away from God, due to prayerlessness and your failure to stay focused on him. Change your perspective and approach the matter from a different angle. Ask yourself the “Why?” question but do not spend precious time lingering there, move past it. Get on the straight and narrow road to purity and holiness do not keep wandering down the road of sin and immorality. Remember you cannot do it in your own strength, but just put your complete trust in Jesus and ask him to help you through it all. Jesus is the only one who can redeem, rebuild and restore all that is lost or broken. Turn it over to him today.  

Prayer not to yield to temptation

Father, I come to you in Jesus’ name. Lord you know the heart is willing but the flesh is weak. Please give me the grace to live a life that is holy and acceptable in your sight. Lord give me the strength that I need daily to overcome all temptation and not give in. Father, please be my shield, my glory, and the lifter up of my head now and always. When the enemy comes in like a flood, please let your holy spirit lift up a standard against him. Lord help me to walk in holiness and righteousness all my days, In Jesus’ mighty name I pray. Amen.

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