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Overcoming Temptation

October 15th, 2012

“Temptations [in] your life are no different from what others experience.” 1 Corinthians 10:13 NLT.

Turn every negative temptation into positive motivation for greater Godliness.

My thoughts and comments today are about “overcoming temptation.”

Temptation is the rule, not the exception. Being aware and prepared for such situations is the best protection from being overcome by them. Temptation reveals that you know the difference between wise and unwise, profitable and unprofitable, right and wrong, or grace and sin. If you don’t recognize those differences, your ignorance will be more the problem than temptation.

The enemy of your soul, whom the Bible calls “the tempter,” uses your vulnerability for his purpose and your harm. The Bible is very clear about temptation’s inevitability. Being tempted evidences your humanity not lack of spirituality. Temptation is not itself sin, but yielding to its appealing attraction inevitably leads you into sin. After citing instances of Israel’s failures across their history, Paul warns his readers, “If you think you are standing strong, be careful, for you too may fall into the same sin.” 1 Corinthians 10:12 NLT. Pride blinds you to the possibility of your failure. No one is immune to sin’s appeal, unless one’s heart is steadfastly committed to God.

This is God’s reminder for every time you are tempted, “Remember that the temptations that come into your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will keep the temptations from becoming so strong that you can’t stand up against it. When you are tempted, He will show you a way out so that you will not give in to it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13 NLT. God’s counsel and promises are simple and clear: temptations are common, so don’t get discouraged; God is faithful, so remember you are not alone; God sets the limits, so resist confidently; God knows the way out of every temptation, so don’t panic, pray! If there was a way in, there is a way out.

Paul was clear with young Timothy, “Flee evil desires . . and pursue righteousness” Read 2 Timothy 2:21-26 NIV. There is no age limit to Paul’s wise counsel. Spiritual success results from actively pursuing a righteous lifestyle, as well as avoiding wrong behavior. A simple word of advice, don’t fight temptation alone. There are two things that are important for your victory. First, be open with God about your temptation. Jesus faced the tempter alone so you will not have to. Read Matthew 4:1-11/Hebrews 4:14-16 NIV. The more you try to hide your struggle, the stronger temptation grows and the harder to overcome. “Because [Christ] Himself suffered when He was tempted, He is able to help those who are being tempted. Therefore . . fix your thought on Jesus . .” Hebrews 2:18/3:1 NIV. Hebrews 12:1-4 NIV.

Secondly, ask a Godly and trusted friend to walk alongside you. “A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back to back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.” Ecclesiastes 4:12 NLT. Don’t be secretive, sin thrives in shadows. But be selective about how and with whom you share. You need a prayer partner who will hear your heart, pray for you, walk with you, and keep you accountable for your conduct.

Lastly, in temptation be proactive, not passive. Leave no room for tempting thoughts by setting your heart and mind on, “whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, praise-worthy . .” Philippians 4:6-9 NIV. Turn every negative temptation into positive motivation for greater Godliness. “In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” Romans 8:37 NKJV.

My prayer for you today is that passion for righteousness exceeds desire for lesser things.

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