All throughout scripture one of the major issues that God is telling us to be highly aware of is temptation. It’s something that we have to take very seriously because our choices when it comes right down to our responses to temptation will determine whether we’ll allow God to be in control of our lives or not. We have to truly understand that there is someone who is eagerly trying to win over our souls through the use of that particular means. Satan is the author of temptation; in other words, he is known as the tempter. In fact, temptation is the most powerful weapon that he has been using against humanity for thousands of years. His foremost objective with it is to lead and keep us away from God indefinitely through rebellion and sinful living.
Truthfully, being away from God is tantamount to spiritual death. On the other hand, it also means the devil gets to control every aspect of our lives when we find ourselves in that detrimental state. Consequently, to better deal with temptation we must be willing to enter into a dimension far deeper and greater than ourselves that would enable us to examine cautiously where it can lead us, and why we must not give into it.
From a biblical standpoint, temptation is defined as a desire to do something wrong or evil in the sight of God. Temptation can also be defined as intense pressure applied on our flesh to do evil. Generally, the intensity of temptation is completely dependent on the kind of influence we allow it to have on our minds, or how far we allow it to go. After all, temptation by itself is not a sin, sin occurs when we yield to it. Therefore, in that context it’s absolutely safe to conclude that the dominant purpose of temptation is to lead us to sin.
Apostle James clearly illustrates the process regarding how temptation gives birth to sin in (James 1:14-15). With respect to dealing with temptation wisely, after our relationship with God through Christ, our minds must be the preeminent element that we have to focus on tremendously. Because when it comes down to spiritual warfare how we deal with our minds is very critical. The main reason is that our mind is a battleground, which means that how we deal with it will decide whether we’re victorious over temptation and the devil or not. By the way, the enemy knows that quite well.
Temptation starts within our minds based on the information that enters our brains through our senses. Of out those 5 senses we have, the three most common ones that can easily lead us to temptation are our sight, hearing, along with touch. The choice that we make after our minds receive any given information from our senses is very crucial in many ways.
The Word of God Must be The Centerpiece of Our Strategy.
If we genuinely want to avoid succumbing into temptation, we’re left with no choice but to build a powerful defense mechanism with the Word of God into our minds. It’s imperative that we spend quality amount of time studying and learning the Word of God in a meaningful and practical way because our ability to properly and wisely discern temptation is rested solely on knowing the Word. Jesus as the greatest Captain that we’ve ever known or heard of has given us the greatest example of how significant the Word of God is in that regard. Thus, we’ll take a look at a couple scripture verses.
The tempter came to Him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every Word that comes from the mouth of God (Matthew 4:3-4).
Well, upon analyzing the event that transpired between both Christ and Satan in (Matthew 4:1-11), we can see that Christ quoted scripture against Satan as a powerful response on every occasion that the enemy tries to tempt Him. Christ keeps saying “It’s written”, which means that His responsibilities to God based on the written Word are infinitely more important than what Satan was trying to offer Him. The thing is that Christ’s focus was centered heavily on carrying out the will of the Father as well as glorifying Him in everything; therefore, this gave Him no time to think about considering what the enemy was trying to offer Him. Christ has invariably given an automatic response to Satan. That must be the same to us as people who are walking in Christ’s footsteps.
When we face with a temptation, we should take at least a few seconds and think about a scripture that can deliver a crushing blow to the enemy. As a result, it all depends on how sensitive and responsive we’re to God and His Word based on the priority that we give His Word on our lives. In most cases, that ability should manifest itself automatically if we’re strong in the Lord. We can only be strong in the Lord by drawing near Him. Temptation is based on deception, so what Jesus has taught us in that passage is very powerful. He clearly shows us that we have to lay hold on a specific scripture that perfectly corresponds to that temptation we’re dealing with in the sense of standing firm on the Word of God instead of giving in.
Dealing With Temptation is a Choice.
Here is how it the entire temptation’s process all works out, if we don’t want to give into a particular temptation, our mind can help us accomplishing that in a big way if we use it the right way by reminding us of who we are in Christ, how that’s so far off from who we are in Him, why we must not give in, how that is going to displease God, how that can potentially destroy our relationship with God and everything that matters to us, how guilty and empty we’ll feel after that horrible experience, and so forth.
But, if we want to indulge in, our mind can ultimately become our worst enemy by bombarding us with all types of bad reasoning as to why we don’t have to be that much concerned about the consequences. Detrimental excuses will keep on popping up into our thinking just like a powerful spring of water. With that kind of mindset, we become highly vulnerable to all types of deceits of the enemy. By doing that, we allow the enemy to imprint his twisted thinking into our mind.
Here’s what we may feel or experience during a temptation that we’re opened to.
We have a tendency to think that we’ll have plenty of time to get out safely before something bad happens. It becomes very difficult for us to believe that we may end up experiencing the full consequences of sin as a result of our bad choices. Because people don’t wake up one day and say that they’ll bring such a detrimental consequence upon themselves, so it all happens gradually. By the way, the consequences of sin always take people by surprise.
Oftentimes, our minds flash back from our previous experiences in the sense of rendering us to think that nothing bad had occurred when we were doing just the exact same thing or something similar. Therefore, that’s a clear indication that we’ll be able to make it out unharmed as we used to. Sadly, we become unconcerned regarding our own souls along with our eternity, which must always be our top priorities. We don’t have time to think that much about the tremendous cost that Christ paid for us through the excruciatingly painful death He had endured on the cross. The thing is that our gratitude for the Lord is based upon remembering what He has done for us.
During the process, our focus is then shifted away from the Lord to what we’re planning on doing. We find ourselves in the process of rejecting Him and His Word just for the sake of the pleasure of the moment. We don’t have time as well to think that the role of the Holy Spirit is to empower us to endure temptation in order to keep us from indulging into the very things that the Lord doesn’t want us to indulge in. Consequently, choosing to give in is a clear disregard to Him and His leading in our lives.
We can’t grasp the fact that Satan is the one who will be pleased by what we’re about to act upon. Every time something about the consequences of sin comes into our minds, we sort of try to find a way to steer our thinking away from that in order for us not to take our responsibilities to avoid giving in. Since we’re well aware that what we’re planning on doing is sinful, so we rush in with a sense of urgency in order to enjoy as much pleasure as possible before we can get out.
We fail miserably in realizing that if we give in now, it’s won’t be easy for us to get out as we falsely believe it will be. We let the enemy to somehow embed that deceptive mindset into our thinking that we can always get out whenever we want to. We just don’t realize that the same way that we’ve succumbed to that current temptation is the exact same thing that will happen, if we don’t take proper actions to confront the current one we’re opened to. Sometimes, we say to ourselves even if we yield due to the intense pressure, we’ll make sure that we take a much more serious determination in order not to fall again next time. After all, it’s quite clear that they are all lies after lies. The problem is that our minds become so entangled with backward thinking, we perceive things in the exact opposite.
It’s Always One Thing to Get into sin, but it’s Something Entirely Different to Get Out.
Keep in mind, the hard truth is that once we fall into sin, it will become extremely difficult for us to get out because of the fact that we’ll become much more sensitive and responsive to that particular sin than the Word of God upon upcoming temptations. We may find ourselves acting like someone who is programmed by the enemy in order to influence us to act in a certain way. To put it within perspective, it’s as if Satan has our remote control. We may take a strong determination to get out as soon as possible, but since we already have a weakness in a particular area, we may well end up losing the ability to keep that determination alive once we’re tempted the next time.
Lastly, God knows that we’re incapable of resisting temptation on our own, He gives us the Holy Spirit to indwell us in order to empower us to do so. We don’t have any excuses at all when we fall into temptation because it’s a choice that we make purposely by ignoring what the Word of God says against what we’re tempted about. Our job is to make sure that we don’t find ourselves into desperate situation where we’re even willing to take all types of risks with our spiritual lives. We have to ensure that we lay a strong hold on the Word of God with respect to that issue because He promises us in (1 Corinthians 10:13) that He’s faithful in the sense that He’ll not allow us to be tempted beyond what we can endure. He will empower us by His Spirit during the process to endure it until we finally escape it.
We have to allow that powerful verse to dominate our minds in the sense of letting it to control our responses to temptation because we don’t have to do it. Furthermore, there is a special reward in heaven that awaits those who yield not into temptation according to (James 1:12). Those who choose not to give in will receive the Crown of Life. As believers, we have a critical decision we must make with regard to that issue due to the fact that it’s very serious because it’s the pathway which leads to sin. Let’s God through His Spirit carries out His works through us in order to enable us to do what we would have never been able to do within our human power and will.