Temptations are everywhere. We are tempted to do things that are immoral, impure, and selfish; things that hurt us and hurt others; things that bring dishonor to God. We are tempted to lie, cheat and steal. We are tempted to gossip, slander and boast. We are tempted to lust for sex, power and money. We are tempted to ignore the needs of others. We are tempted to be lazy about spiritual things, lazy about family relationships, lazy about overcoming bad habits and addictions.
You may feel when you are tempted that there is no way to escape. You may feel there is no way to overcome the temptation. You may feel that you are all alone, that no one else understands what you are going through, that no one else has every faced the temptations you are facing. Those are lies from the devil. The truth found in God’s Word says just the opposite.
1 Corinthians 10:13
13 No temptation has come upon you except what is common to humanity. But God is faithful; he will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation he will also provide a way out so that you may be able to bear it.
Let’s break that verse down:
- Every temptation that you face is common to humanity. People throughout history and people around the world today are facing the same temptations that you are facing.
- God is faithful.
- God will always provide a way out, a way for you to have victory over the temptation.
- When the Bible says, “he will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able,” he’s not talking about how strong you are in your own power, but rather he is talking about how faithful he is and how strong you can be when you rely on him to overcome the temptation.
Jesus teaches us to pray to our Heavenly Father, “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” Jesus tells us to pray that way because he knows we don’t need God to lead us into temptation because we can find temptation on our own! The world, the devil and our sinful nature bring temptations against us constantly. We need God’s help to deliver us from evil.
A-B-C’s of overcoming temptation
Here are three ways to overcome temptation, according to God’s Word:
A = Avoid Temptation — there are certain places you should not go (actual places and places online) and certain people you should not be around because they lead you into temptation. As much as humanly possible with God’s help, avoid them.
1 Thessalonians 5:22
22 Stay away from every kind of evil.
B = Flee from Temptation — sometimes through no fault of your own, you find yourself in a tempting situation, like the temptation has ambushed you. When you find yourself there, as soon as possible, flee!!!
2 Timothy 2:22
22 Flee from youthful passions, and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.
C = Conquer Temptation — there are times that you try to avoid temptation and you try to flee, but you cannot do either. In these cases, you must stand strong in the Lord, and following the example of Jesus in Matthew 4:1-11, use the Word of God to conquer the temptation. Accurately quote Scripture and apply it to your life so that you can stand against the temptations of your enemy, the devil.
10 Finally, be strengthened by the Lord and by his vast strength. 11 Put on the full armor of God so that you can stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this darkness, against evil, spiritual forces in the heavens. 13 For this reason take up the full armor of God, so that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having prepared everything, to take your stand. 14 Stand, therefore, with truth like a belt around your waist, righteousness like armor on your chest, 15 and your feet sandaled with readiness for the gospel of peace. 16 In every situation take up the shield of faith with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit — which is the word of God. 18 Pray at all times in the Spirit with every prayer and request, and stay alert with all perseverance and intercession for all the saints.
Every day we have opportunities to live for Jesus, to be a blessing to others, to serve people, to encourage people, to honor God with our words and our actions. Every day we are tempted to do nothing for God’s kingdom, to be self-centered, to hurt others, to be involved in unholy and destructive behaviors. Let us resolve to follow in the way of Jesus. He was tempted in every way just like us, yet he never sinned. He will help you overcome, one temptation at a time. Live your life to glorify God in every thing you think about, every word that you say, and every thing that you do!
1 Corinthians 10:31
31 So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God.