Temptation is defined as the enticement to evil by argument, by flattery, or by offer of some real or apparent good. It’s fair to say that because of the sinful nature we inherited at birth, every one of us has been tempted at one time or another. What is important to remember is that temptation alone is not sin.
Even Jesus was tempted when he walked on this earth. He was led by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil for forty days and nights and yet he committed no sin. It is not sin to be tempted. Falling into the temptation bringing it to fruition is sin.
James 1:13-15 (NIV) says, “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. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.” Death in the Bible refers to separation.
Notice the steps before reaching death. It doesn’t happen overnight. There is some time that lapses before giving birth to death. We need to take a hard look at ourselves before, and especially right after conception. This is where the flirting or plotting with an evil thought is born.
Temptation begins with a thought. If you have ever been tempted with anything, a thought process was active. Our imagination becomes a runaway train and because all sin is pleasurable if not paused or stop, a train wreck will be waiting ahead. Here is a little help when dealing with a sinful thought that pops up at an awkward place or time. Just try saying, “Thank you Jesus. Thank you that you went to the Cross so I don’t have to deal with this evil thought. Thank you that my sins are covered by your blood. Thank you that my past, present and future sins are all forgiven. Thank you…” Just continue to fill in the blank until the temptation is gone or subdued.
If you have a Bible handy then start reading Scripture to overcome the temptation. Like Jesus did in the wilderness, quote Scripture to the enemy. Remember the idea is to intercept the evil thoughts at conception. This is what 2 Corinthians 10:5 tells us to do. It says we are able to capture these rebellious thoughts and bring them into captivity to obey Christ. Luke 10:19 says that Jesus gave us authority over all the power of the enemy. That means we need to take authority over these temptations and rule them.
Remember, the Scripture tells us that Jesus was tempted in all points; not some or a few, but all and he overcame by just quoting Scripture to the enemy. His Word is the sword of the Spirit that lives in Him and now lives in us. This is how we walk by the Spirit – by submitting to His Word and applying it to our everyday life. His wisdom is about taking the written Word, the knowledge of God, and applying it to any situation that we may face in life.
Remember, Jesus overcame all temptation thrown at Him in the wilderness. You may be thinking, “Well that’s Jesus. You don’t understand how difficult it is for me to handle. I can’t overcome this.” The truth is, you can! That is the very purpose of Him being tempted in all points. It was to erase these comments or thoughts since He lives in our hearts and has given us the ability and authority to overcome. Think about it.
If that is difficult to grasp then consider 1 Corinthians 10:13 (NLT) “The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.” Did you read what God said in this verse? He will not allow us to be tempted beyond what we can handle. He will show us a way out so we can endure. Why? Because He is faithful. If we fall into the temptation then we have overlooked our escape route, or we may have just ignored our escape route, or it’s even possible we didn’t know there was an escape route. Now, however, because of His Word we are aware an escape route is always provided for us.
When tempted use His Word to overcome the temptation. Make that interception in your thoughts because the longer you flirt with it the closer you get to the fall. Bring those thoughts into captivity and obedience to Christ. Use the spiritual authority given you and be alert looking for that escape route provide by our God.
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Fruitbearers Outreach Ministry