First off, this post isn’t just for new believers. Everyone should read this.
This is post is a Reader Request and quite a good one.
The question I received was, “How to avoid temptation?”
I went through looking at scriptures, trying to break down temptation. There are a lot of components to it. The word sounds simple enough, but there are a lot of layers we need to understand.
The truth is sometimes temptation is unavoidable. But there ARE some ways to avoid temptation, and then there are ways to handle temptation when it does arrive.
Definition of temptation – a desire to something, in particular, something wrong or unwise.
It needs to be understood everyone is tempted. Jesus was tempted.
(NIV) Hebrews 2:18, “Because He Himself suffered when He was tempted, He is able to help those who are being tempted.”
Temptation isn’t a sin because Jesus was tempted. Jesus was tempted in every area of mankind. All forms of self. He understands what we go through.
(NIV) Hebrews 4:15, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are–yet He did not sin.”
Temptation doesn’t come from God, it comes from our desires.
(NIV) James 1:13-14, When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He tempt anyone; but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed.
Falling in temptation creates sin in our heart.
(NIV) James 1:15, “Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.”
It’s important to know we won’t be tempted by things unknown to man. It is here we see the scripture God won’t give us what we can’t handle. Not only that, but God will help us endure.
(NIV) 1 Corinthians 10:13, “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.”
We need a strong foundation to fight against temptation. Believers who are not grounded in scripture, prayer, and who do not have a good relationship with Christ will fall away.
(NIV) Luke 8:13, “Those on the rocky ground are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away.”
People can stumble us up. Media can stumble us up. We must be on guard, and what we allow in our life. What are we reading? Does it have the spotlight on Christ? What are we watching? Does it have the spotlight on Christ? If the answer is no, get rid of it. Some of the strongest Christians can still be led away by selfish desires.
(NIV) 2 Peter 3:17, “Be on guard so that you will not be carried away by the errors of these wicked people and lose your own secure footing.”
Remember, temptation comes from our desires. Liking a show, a song, a movie is a form of our own desire. If it doesn’t reflect Christ, it doesn’t matter whether we think it is a good “show” or “song” or “movie”. (I can’t tell you how much my spirit is being pricked writing this.)
(NLT) 1 Thessalonians 5:22, “Stay away from every kind of evil.”
What we allow in our life can make it all the harder to face temptation. Especially, if what we allow in our lives, and want to believe is okay, isn’t that of Christ.
(NIV) Romans 6:12, “Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires.
Whatever we expose our body through the lust of the senses (the lust of the eyes, the ears, taste, touch, scent, etc) that part becomes damaged and more desire for sin and tempting things arise.
(NIV) Romans 6:13, “Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness.”
This leads us to wise advice Jesus gives us.
(NIV) Mark 14:38, “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
Prayer is a form of fighting. But what not everyone will want to hear is the fact we are also asking Jesus to convict our heart. There are things in our life we need to give up. When we ask Christ for help in staying away from what tempts us, we need to ask Him to bring AWARENESS to whatever we are allowing in our life CURRENTLY that we need to turn away from.
We are to pray for God to help us stay clear of temptation. In the Lord’s Prayer, we are told to pray against temptation. (Luke 11:04)
(NIV) Hebrews 4:16, “So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive His mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.”
Along with prayer, we must go towards goodness and not things that will tempt us. Temptation is about choice and our desires. What we lean towards either will help us or draws us closer to being tempted.
(NIV) 1 Timothy 6:11, “But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.”
We are going to be tempted. Enticed by things and people of this world. But those who have a relationship with Christ will be able to endure.
(NIV) Daniel 11:32, “With flattery he will corrupt those who have violated the covenant, but the people who know their God will firmly resist him.”
Temptation will happen but remember it is a testing of our faith.
(NIV) James 1:02-03, “The testing of your faith produces perseverance.”
God will give us strength. Cling to His Holy Spirit and His ways.
(NIV) Romans 8:37, “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.”
God saves the godly from temptation.
(NIV) 2 Peter 2:09, “The Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials.”
God blesses us through enduring trials, and temptations.
(NLT) James 1:12, “God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation.”
Temptation isn’t a sin, but we are advised by Christ to avoid it when possible.
Even if we want to do what’s right, the intention isn’t enough. Our spirit can be willing, but our flesh is weak. We must make daily choices to stay grounded in what is of Christ. We must be willing to let go, and not be part of things that are not of God, even if we think we can handle it. We must actively seek God daily in scriptures and prayer for a defense.
Having this strong foundation in Christ helps us endure through temptation. Seeking Him when we are tempted and struggle, just like Christ turned to scripture when He was tempted.
Enduring through temptation creates perseverance and strengthens our faith. Having a strong faith means a stronger relationship with Christ. Trusting in Him, and seeing God active in our life.
The more we give up of this world, the closer we get to Christ. There are consequences for falling into temptation and choosing to backslide in sin. We can fall, but Christ can raise us up and we don’t have to fall again.
God has a way for us, but the choice is ultimately ours.
Are there things in your life God is telling you to give up today?
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