No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. – 1 Corinthians 10:13
Do you struggle with temptation? If you are a living and breathing human being, then the answer would be a resounding, “Yes!” Ever since man rebelled against God in the Garden of Eden and ate the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, sin and death have plagued the human race. Romans 3:23 states, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” The Bible reveals that we all have a proclivity toward sin and a weakness toward temptation. No matter how long one has walked with the Lord, the temptation to sin against God and others will continue to be present. However, though we may struggle with temptation, Christians are not to accept or embrace it, rather we are called to endure and overcome. James 1:12-15 notes, “Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.” Within this text, believers are challenged to endure temptation and not to allow our desires to conceive and give birth to sin – which ultimately leads to death. Therefore, we have a responsibility as believers to recognize temptation in our lives and overcome it.
So then, how can Christians find victory and overcome temptation?
We must live in the Word of God.
We cannot just visit Scripture, we must abide in it! Hebrews 4:12 notes, “For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” Sometimes Christians forget the power and necessity of Scripture. The Bible is not just a book of good advice or moral lessons, it is a living document that strikes the souls of men and women. 2 Timothy 3:15-16 adds, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” God has given us His divinely inspired revelation to enable us to be righteous, complete, and thoroughly equipped. If we reject God’s Word or fail to live in it, we will not be prepared for the enemy who is seeking to devour us (1 Peter 5:8). Thus, the Word of God is our weapon against deception and temptation (Ephesians 6:17). When Jesus was fasting in the wilderness, He used the truth of Scripture to combat the temptations of the devil. Jesus said, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4). Jesus revealed that we cannot depend on the physical world to ultimately sustain and satisfy us. Instead, we must overcome the sinful appetite of the flesh with the renewing of our minds and the transformational work of Holy Scripture. Therefore, we must live in the Word of God by reading it, studying it, meditating on it, memorizing it, and applying it.
We must flee from temptation.
Romans 13:14 states, “But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.” Likewise, Proverbs 4:23 encourages believers to guard their hearts. One of the best things we can do to ensure no provision is made for the flesh and our hearts are guarded is by intentionally avoiding areas in our life where sin abounds. Though we cannot avoid temptation completely, we can limit its influence. One of the most common reasons many continue to struggle with specific sins is because they refuse to take the proper precautions to flee from the situations that encourage or enable them. Therefore, let us be proactive and persistent in fleeing from temptation.
We must depend on Christ and His righteousness.
Overcoming temptation may seem like a difficult or even an impossible feat. However, I want to encourage you not to rely on self but on the Savior. We serve a God of the impossible (Matthew 19:26) and we are told that we can do all things through Christ who gives us strength (Philippians 4:13). Therefore, we can entrust our weaknesses and temptations to Jesus Christ, and He will provide the way of escape (1 Corinthians 10:13). By the power of the Holy Spirit, Christ will enable us to persevere and obtain victory. And when we experience failure or defeat, we must never give up and always remember to fall on grace. We serve a God who is abundantly rich in grace and mercy. Though our responsibility is to honor God through righteous living, the gospel reminds us that Jesus offers us His perfect righteousness that frees us from the stain and shame of sin. Though we may fall short at times, Jesus never did. Hebrews 4:15 states, “For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.” Jesus overcome every temptation known to man and fulfilled all righteousness so that He could share His righteous with us. If we simply trust and believe in Christ, it will be credited to us as righteousness (Galatians 3:6). Therefore, we can have confidence in our victory in Christ (1 Corinthians 15:57).
I pray we all would overcome temptation and find victory in Jesus Christ today!