WEEK 44 | CONQUER TEMPTATION
It seems a week doesn’t go by that I’m not talking with someone who’s telling me about how their life has been hijacked by unchecked compromise. It’s important to understand a few key principles and a few key scriptures on how to be victorious over temptation.
- We can overcome; we are not powerless.
The Bible tells us that Satan is a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour (I Peter 5:8). But it also says “greater is He who is within me than he who is in the world” (I John 4:4). Jesus is greater than Satan and “the very power that raised Christ from the dead” lives in you if you are a Christ follower (Rom 8:11)! So we don’t have to be sucker-punched by the devil or live in defeat. We can overcome through the power of Christ. That’s great news!
I love this verse found in I Corinthians 10:13: “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.”
Notice a couple key things about this verse:
- Temptation is common to man.
- God is faithful.
- There is a way out.
We need to look for that way out and stand in the power of Christ. Then we can overcome.
- Jesus was tempted; He overcame, understands, strengthens, forgives.
Matt 4:1-11 tells the account of Jesus being tempted in the desert. He was tempted — but He did not sin. He overcame the devil by the Word of God. He is the only perfect man who ever lived and the only one who never sinned. But it is powerful to know that He was tempted, He overcame, He understands, He will strengthen us, and He will forgive us when we fall. This scripture is deeply encouraging when we think of overcoming temptation. We are not alone!
Hebrews 4:15 (& 16) tells us, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are — yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
- There is a pattern to temptation that we can understand and use to CONQUER temptation/sin.
James 1:13-15 reminds us that, “When tempted, no one should say, ‘God is tempting me.’ For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.
Notice the stages of temptation:
- Stage 1: Deception Stage (Dragged toward/drawn to the temptation itself: “This will be good”)
- Stage 2: Dream Stage (Enticed, fantasy stage: “What if? Wouldn’t it be great if?”)
- Stage 3: Desire Stage (Desire: Conceived)
- Stage 4: Decision Stage (Desire: Acted on; sin committed)
- Stage 5: Destruction Stage (Destruction/death: Consequences of sin)
An appropriate example of this is David with Bathsheba: He thought, “This will be good.” Then it grew into the enticement/fantasize stage. Next, the desire burned, David decided to act and then, ultimately, reaped the destruction and consequences of his sin.
Temptation is real, but we can overcome it… in Christ. Pray for yourself and for those nearest and dearest to you that all will experience victory over temptation as we conquer and don’t compromise.