Dealing with Temptation
It seems that on a daily basis we believers are tempted to engage in ungodly behavior.  It may be cursing out a coworker that has
gotten on our last nerve, giving in to desires of the flesh (which can take many forms such as excessive eating or drinking,
fornication, or viewing pornographic material), lying on our tax return, helping ourselves to some grapes while in the produce
section of the grocery store, taking an additional half hour for lunch but neglecting to record it to our time sheet, or padding the
expense account.

Yes, on a regular basis we succumb to temptation and sadly we often blame the temptation on others,
even God!  But, the
scriptures tell us that God does not tempt his children (Jam. 1:13). However, he does test us and allow us to experience trials.  
What’s the difference? A test or trial is designed to prove the quality of one’s character (Jam.1:2-4, & 12). On the other hand, a
temptation is an enticement to sin (vs. 13-15).  The chart below shows the various ways in which test/trials differ from temptation.  

    

















Jam.1:14 tells us something even more interesting about temptation.  We often play a significant part in it. Satan often tempts us
using the very things after which we lust! This means that WE often provide Satan with the incentive to tempt us. Judas betrayed
Jesus to get money (Luke 22:3). Ananias & Sapphira lied to the Holy Spirit to their keep money (Acts 5:3). Peter lied about knowing
Jesus out of fear and a desire to save his own hide (Luke 22:24-34). Flip Wilson, a comedian in the 70's had a comic routine in
which he popularized the saying,
"The Devil made me do it!"  However, James let's us know that in reality we often have
ourselves to blame when we fall into temptation.

As Paul told the Corinthians, temptation is common to us all.  We all have areas of weakness and vulnerability.  However, God has
given us a way of escape (1 Cor.10:13).  Peter wrote that God has granted believers what we need to live a godly life through the
knowledge of Christ (2 Pet.1:3) and that Jesus knows how to rescue believers from temptation (2 Pet. 2:7-9).
Further 1 John 2:20
tells us that
because of our anointing (being joined with Jesus who is the true Anointed One) we have access to the knowledge
necessary to resist the antichrists.

What can we do to fight temptation?    

Resist Satan
Jam. 4:7 - Submit therefore to God; resist the devil and he will flee from you.  

When tempted
Just Say No! Nancy Regan made this saying popular in her work to end drug abuse.  However, it applies to all
types of temptations.

Realize that Jesus knows what you are going through
Hebrews 4:15-16 -  For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weakness, but One who has been tempted in
all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore, let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive
mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Jesus was human as well as divine.  Thus, he experienced everything that we do --hunger, anger, ridicule, false witness, scorn,
mistreatment, physical pain, disappointment. Because of this He fully understands how difficult it is to resist Satan's advances. That
is why He left the Holy Spirit to serve as our comfort, aid and guide.

Know the word
Psa. 119:11 - Your word I have treasured (hid) in my heart that I may not sin against you.
2 Tim. 3:16-17 – All scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in
righteousness, so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.

When Jesus was tempted of Satan he responded with the Word! Read Mat. 4:1-11. If Jesus thought enough of the Word to use it
against Satan we should follow his example.

Dress Appropriately
Eph.6:13-17- Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to
stand. Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your
feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the
fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the spirit, which is the word of God.

Professional fighters wear apparel to shield their sensitive body parts from their opponents' blows. Likewise we should be spiritually
adorned to protect ourselves against attacks from our greatest adversary, Satan

Avoid being deceived
1 Cor. 6:9 - Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor
idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners
will inherit the kingdom of God.
Read also 1 Cor. 15:33-34, Gal. 6:7, James 1:16, and 1 John 3:4-9

Eve was deceived by Satan because he was more cunning than she.  However, believers need to be just as cunning. The scriptures
tell us to be wise as serpents and innocent as dove (Mat. 10:16). We are also told to try the spirits to see if they are of God (1 John
4:1). When tempted to engage in behavior that you suspect is ungodly put it to the fruit test (Gal. 5:22)! Does it embody love, joy,
peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control? If not, tell Satan to get behind you!  

Be prayerful and vigilant
Mat. 26:41  -  Keep watching and praying that you may not enter into temptation: the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak
Luke 22:40 – When He arrived at the place he said to them, Pray that you may not enter into temptation.
1 Pet. 5:8 – Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to
devour.

Believers are encouraged to pray without ceasing (1 Thes. 5:17). Thus, we should stay in prayer regarding the myriad temptations
we face.  Prayer is the believers' power source, particularly over Satan. A good friend of mine often says, "No prayer, no power;
little prayer, little power; much prayer; much power!"

Maintain a humble spirit
Pro. 16:18-19 – Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before stumbling.  It is better to be humble in spirit with the lowly
than to divide the spoil with the proud.

Pride is listed among the things that God hates (Prov. 6:17). It is an excessive belief in one's own abilities, that interferes with the
individual's recognition of the grace of God. It has been called the sin from which all others arise. The Bible is full of stories that
show the negative consequences of prideful behavior. Paul warned the Galatians that pride could lead to their own temptation
(Gal. 6:1).

Recognize the battle is not physical but spiritual
2 Cor. 10:3-5 – For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of
the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses.  We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up
against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.

Ephesians 6:12 – For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces
of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.

Gal. 5:16-17 – But I say, walk in the Spirit and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.  For the flesh sets its desire against the
Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh, for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please.

There is a saying, "We are not humans beings having a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings having a human experience."
Actually, man comprises body, mind, and spirit (soul). The spirit is the vital principal by which the body is animated. The rational
spirit is the power by which the human being feels, thinks, and decides. Satan's sole purpose is to entice believers to feel, think, and
decide contrary to God's will. Therefore, we are engaged in spiritual warfare with him and must rely on the Holy Spirit to fight the
battle for us.

Remember that succumbing to temptation reaps only worldly, temporary pleasures.  Focus on what is eternal – your home
in heaven.   
1 John 2:15-17 – Do not love the world nor the things in the world.  ……The world is passing away and also its lusts, but the one
who does the will of God lives forever.

Yes, all of us who believe in the saving power of Jesus Christ can and do experience temptation. And, yes, succumbing to it may
well bring some measure of temporary pleasure. However, that moment of delight cannot begin to compare to the eternal happiness
that comes from defeating Satan at his own game! Paul admonishes, "let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ (Phil. 1:
27). Such conduct reveals our heavenly citizenship. So the next time you're tempted, and there will be a next time, keep in mind the
words of the old hymn, Yield Not to Temptation!   
  TEST/TRIAL
TEMPTATION
FROM
God or Satan
Self thru Satan
RESULT OF
Following God
Pride or Exposure
HOW TO
DISCERN
Proves Faith
Leads Astray
RIGHT
RESPONSE
Persevere
Resist
DO NOT
Shrink Back
Fall into
ENDS WITH
Stunted Growth or
Maturity
Sin or Victory
Yield not to temptation, for yielding is sin;
Each victory will help you some other to win;
Fight manfully onward, dark passions subdue,
Look ever to Jesus, He’ll carry you through.

Ask the Savior to help you,
Comfort, strengthen and keep you;
He is willing to aid you,
He will carry you through.

Shun evil companions, bad language disdain,
God’s Name hold in reverence, nor take it in vain;
Be thoughtful and earnest, kindhearted and true,
Look ever to Jesus, He’ll carry you through.

To him that o’ercometh, God giveth a crown;
Through faith we shall conquer, though often cast
down;
He who is our Savior, our strength will renew;
Look ever to Jesus, He’ll carry you through.
Yield Not to Temptation
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