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Overcoming Temptation
by Dan Augsburger

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There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. I Cor. 10:13

1. All Christians, even mature Christians are tempted. Jesus was tempted (Mark 1:13)). If He was tempted, then you shouldn’t be surprised if you are tempted. There is no sin in the temptation itself (Heb. 4:15) regardless of what you may feel or what Satan may suggest!

“It is a very strange thing, but a very true one, that the Happy Christian is a tempted Christian! Every believer on the Lord Jesus, however saintly he may become, or however experienced in Christian living, will be tempted every day of his life.” Unknown Christian Happy Christian p. 28

2. Temptations are meant to bring you joy instead of grief, because they help you become stronger, help you trust God more, and help you discover anew the power of God (Rev. 3:18) Remember trials and difficulties always include the temptation to not trust God and God therefore uses them to teach you to trust Him in greater ways than you would otherwise! God doesn't cause temptations, but He allows them to come, and sometimes-often-you will not understand why at the time. But they will come and they will often come where you seem weakest. But God wants to take what makes you weak, and make it an area of strength! Accordingly, James himself said, “Count it all joy when you fall into diverse temptations...!” (James 1:2-4) Note that Paul also said God was able to bring good out of anything (Rom. 8:28). Should you fall to Satan’s temptations, be quick to acknowledge the failure, appropriately confess and return to your prior walk with Jesus.

3. In overcoming temptations, commit your life into God’s hands at the beginning of the day and keep abiding in Him all day (Rom. 6:13-16; Jude 21). Recognize that you are a new creature in Jesus-revel in that knowledge (2 Cor. 5:17). Rejoice that your salvation is based on what He has done and not what you will ever do—all you can do is accept His free gift (Rom. 5:1,19). Ask Him to keep you from temptation (Matt. 6:13). Surrender your life entirely into his hands, asking Him to direct you according to His Word and His providential leadings, but make sure those “leadings” are in harmony with His Word lest Satan find opportunity to cause mischief in this way (Prov. 3:5,6; Matt. 26:14). Fill your mind with good things so that you have ready alternatives when the tempter comes along (Ps. 119:11). And avoid temptation to all the degree you can (Paul said “Don’t make provision for the flesh-Col. 3:15; Job made a covenant with his eyes-Job 31:1). Had Eve never approached the forbidden tree, she probably wouldn't have eaten the forbidden fruit. Remove yourself from whatever is tempting, or remove it from your presence (the yard sale, the kitchen sink, and the trash can are all excellent remedies for temptations depending on the situation).

Notice the following:

“The reason why many fail in battle is because they wait until the hour of battle. The reason why others succeed is because they have gained their victory on their knees long before the battle came.... Anticipate your battles; fight them on your knees before temptation comes, and you will always have victory.”  - R. A. Torrey

4. Remember, victory is a person more than a behavior. Victory comes with the victor (John 10:10; 14:6)! Instead of focusing on the behavior, focus on improving your relationship with Jesus; focus on making sure the victor is dwelling in your heart and life. His indwelling will change you; it will change your tastes and desires (John 15:4). Needless to say, this indwelling comes as you invite Him to enter (Rev.3:20) and as you continue to spend time with Him (Phil 1:21).

5. Put together a network of trustworthy friends who will pray with and for you (2 Thess. 3:1), and who you can call at critical moments when breaking the temptation cycle. Joining a small group is also very helpful.

6. Realize there are often underlying issues that can make a person more vulnerable to what Satan is doing. Identify them so that you can begin addressing them and thereby also address the temptation. These could include areas in your life that remain unsurrendered, a sin that remains unconfessed, an unresolved relational deficit or injury from the past, or a bitterness still cherished.

7. Recognize Satan prompts tempting thoughts to your mind and then blames you for having them. Don’t accept his thoughts as coming from you. Flee from them as much as you do him (James 4:7,8).

8. Recognize that Satan uses temptations to discourage you. Remember he is a liar! He loves suggesting that if you were really such a good Christian you wouldn't be tempted!

9. Finally, rejoice that a way of escape has been made for every temptation (1 Cor. 10:13) and that He will bring you off more than conqueror (Romans 8:37). Not only that He will enable you to become a new creature where the former things are passed away and all things have become new! (2 Cor. 5:17)

"Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us." Ephesians 3:10

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What has helped you overcome temptations?

Bob
2006-09-01 12:00 AM

Memorizing Bible verses has helped me.

Josh
2006-09-06 12:00 AM

Surrendering my life to Christ every day and relying on Him for all!

Dan A.
2006-09-07 12:00 AM

Josh. Surrendering one's life to Christ plays a greater role than most of us realize. There is the hard way of gaining victory-"I'll do it myself with God's help," or the easier way: "I've given my all to Him; He will give His all to me!" I would encourage you to read "The Life that Wins" by Charles Trumbull on this web site. It is wonderful!

joseph
2006-11-15 12:00 AM

View the temptations as actual battles. I was a soldier for six years, spending one of those years in Afghanistan fighting against the Anti-Coalition Militia (ACM). This experience led me to greater insight into our spiritual battles, and to how they might be won. First I learned that it was important for me to study how I had fallen in the past, noting particularly what steps I had taken and what thoughts I had been thinking just prior to me falling. I realized that until I did this, I would continue to fall into the same traps for the same reasons, because until I learned from history, I was bound to repeat its mistakes. This conscious effort to list out where I had fallen in the past allowed me to clearly recognize my own weaknesses, and to identify specific temptations that I was prone to. I called the temptations and the circumstances that led me to fall to them my "battlefields". Having identified battlefields from my past, it became easy to recognize them the next time Satan brought them along. When confronting the temptation this time, however, I pictured my angel of light beside me, and the tempting angel in front of me. I declined to fight for myself, knowing that I had lost every battle I had tried to fight in my own power (if I had even fought at all) in the past. Yet I determined that I would overcome the temptation by allying myself with God's power. To that end, I mentally pointed to my angel of light and told the tempting angel "By God's power, and in Jesus' name, this one will fight for me..." I knew that my angel would never lose, and will always fight for me when I reach out to our Father for help with such spiritual battles. It worked. Time and time again, through God's power, I overcame where before I had fallen. It got even simpler after that. The moment I realized Satan was inviting me to an old battlefield, I simply refused to go there. "Old battlefield" I would tell myself, "and with God's power I already overcame that temptation...I refuse to contest a battle that I've already won." By treating the temptations as they should be, as real battles, and by claiming the promises of God that Satan will flee and that there is always a way to escape every temptation (1 Cor 10:13), by God's power Satan is defeated every time.

Dan
2006-11-28 12:00 AM

This testimony is afffirmed by the testimony of others and is so appreciated. Thank you for sharing! Dan

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