Overcoming Temptation

Posted on June 17, 2015 by


00Anyone can give in to temptation. It is the easiest thing to do. Look around and you will see people participating in every kind of behavior there is. Man seemingly has taken 3 steps backward for every step forward. Our depravity seems to have reached a new low. Sin is a disease. It is degenerative, which means the more you practice it the worse the disease becomes.  As a race, the further time gets away from creation the more sinful we become. When we serve sin we are led by the devil, and at the end of life’s journey,  we will die and go to hell.

Scientists tell us that modern humans evolved in East Africa around 200,000 years ago and the first members of the human family lived in Africa some 6 to 7 million years ago. Even though we may have similar characteristics of ancient human beings we are different. Our human nature has only been on earth for 6,000 years. We are a spirit being that exists in a humanoid body. Our bodies die but our spirits continue to live. After we lose our tabernacle of flesh and blood our spirit beings have only two places to go. Heaven or hell! The  decision on where we go when our bodies die is entirely up to us.

I am a Christian. I believe what the Word of God says is true. I try, and fail daily, to follow the life that Jesus Christ led while He was on earth. I am despised by most. I am a fool in the eyes of many for Christ’s sake. Often times people make a spectacle of me. I am looked upon as the filth of the world and I am rejected by society. Being a Christian is no picnic. Life is more often than not a battlefield, and there are days we feel surrounded by our enemies. It is a war against the flesh, the world and the devil.

001We all have three types of enemies in this world. There are human enemies. There are spiritual enemies and the worst enemy of all is often ourselves.  Who we choose to associate with has a direct bearing on our actions. The Bible tells us that we should not be unequally yoked with non believers, that we should not hang out with people who have no interest in following Christ. We live in the world but we are not of the world. So we try to obey the instructions in Ephesians 5:6-17  Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.  Therefore do not be partakers with them;  for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light  (for the fruit of the Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth), trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord.  Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them;  for it is disgraceful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret.  But all things become visible when they are exposed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light.  For this reason it says, Awake, Sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine in you.  Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil.  So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 

Being able to survive the daily walk of a Christian is the hardest thing you will ever do. I believe it is the greatest challenge a person can face in today’s world. Truly sanctified Christians are hard to find. They are people who are trying to overcome the lure of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life. When we surrender our life to God He provides us with the tools to work with. He gives us a new nature. We possess the power of the Holy Spirit which counteracts our old nature. I wish I could tell you that the old nature is eradicated, but it is not. As long as we live in a body of flesh we will have the nature of flesh within us. The Holy Spirit does not place the imitation of Christ inside of us but the reproduction of Christ. Every Christian is Christ reincarnated. When the Holy Spirit possesses us there is no heart big enough to contain both the Spirit of God and the spirit of Satan.

The Holy Spirit is essential in fighting every enemy in this world. Without the Spirit of God there will be no victory. When a person is confronted by the Word of God, the Holy Spirit convicts that person of their sins. Without the Word there is no work of the Spirit. We grow in faith by reading the Bible. I have witnessed mentally special people who were not capable of understanding the Bible or the words spoken by a preacher,  yet the Holy Spirit convicts their heart and they believe. When the Holy Spirit takes the things of God and shows them to us we will immediately see how short we have come to God’s glory and we will strive to be more like Him. The believer can be confident that being filled with the Holy Spirit is the answer for every temptation that will come our way. As we read our Bible we are led by the hand to walk in the light of God and the desire of the flesh leaves us. This is the result of progressive sanctification. In 2 Corinthians 5:17 we read,  Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things have passed away; behold, new things have come. As time passes we find that the things we once loved we now hate. He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit. Titus 3:5 

  Intelligent people of this world struggle with faith. So do people who are born into wealth and those002 who have power over many people. In Corinthians 1:26-31 the Bible says,  For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble;  but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong,  and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are,  so that no man may boast before God. But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, so that, just as it is written, “Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord.”  

  Many people confuse faith with feelings. They have some type of emotional experience and declare themselves saved. That is the farthest from the truth. Saving “faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things to come.”  You have to believe with the heart, and that means much more than believing God is good. The statement,  “so therefore if we are good we will go to heaven,” is a total lie. The inner man has to believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. Without faith it is impossible to please Him, for He who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him. Hebrews 11:6 NASB

In the Gospel of  John we are told that, “ the whole world lies in wickedness,” and all the people and pleasures of this world are against God. Christians are crucified to the world and a true believer should have no fellowship with the world whatsoever. Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us – for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”— in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we would receive the promise 004of the Spirit through faith.  Galatians 3:13-14 NASB We are told not to love the things in this world.  It is an enmity against God. “If any person loves the world the love of the Father is not in him. The world passes away, and the lust thereof: but he who does the will of God lives forever.” So when temptation comes, when we run into one of our old buddies, or the old life is brought back before us. We are to consider ourselves dead to these things. The world is crucified to the believer and the believer is crucified to the world. An old drinking buddy came up to me one time and said, “ I haven’t seen you in so long I thought you were dead.” I told him I did die and I have been born again. Born to everlasting life and free from the control of sin. Our living faith is to know Jesus Christ died on the cross, and we died with Him. When He rose from the grave, we rose with Him, and when He ascended to heaven, we ascended with Him. Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.  And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:1-2

  The greatest tempter on earth is often ourselves. It is the recollection of things past. Times when we found temporary happiness. So many times we forget the outcome of our behavior. We need to step back sometimes and remember why we turned from the past in the first place. The mind is made up just like the library in your hometown. Instead of books there are shelves of memories . They are in disarray. Some stacked flat, others stacked upside down, and still others have fallen on the floor. The Holy Spirit comes and cleans up the mess, rearranges our memory and our thinking. Volumes that are of no use to us anymore He discards in the trash. Then our mind is swept clean and filled with the peace and comfort of the Holy Spirit. Here is where so many Christians fail. They relax and get comfortable. They stop reading their Bible and they stop praying. All of a sudden the Holy Spirit has pulled back from us and has made room for Satan to re – enter our mind. He gains power over us and his temptations lead us back into sin. We read in 2 Timothy 2:15, “Study to show yourself approved unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” KJV  To keep us away from temptation we have to be filled daily by the Holy Spirit of God. The only way the Holy Spirit can work inside of us is through daily Bible study and prayer. Firemen put on fire-proof suits. Policemen put on bullet – proof vests, and we put on the whole armor of God.  Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith ( which is given to us through the Word of God ), wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit. Ephesians 6:11-18 KJV

Disregarding the Words of our Father leads to sin. One is the cause and the other is the effect. When we005 know Our Father’s wishes and we refuse to give Him His just due our imagination becomes more and more evil. Our heart becomes darkened and our wisdom becomes foolishness until God gives us up to uncleanliness through the lusts of our own heart. We dishonor our bodies through sexual perversion because we did not retain the knowledge of God. All sin is self-will. We know God but we refuse to honor His wisdom. It is like a kid who is told not to touch the stove because it is hot, but he does it anyway. So we change God’s truth into a lie and remove God from our thinking. This leads us to a degraded will and we are blinded by our own intelligence. We read in Ephesians 4:17-19, “This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind,  having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart; who, being past feeling, have given themselves over to lewdness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.” NKJV

  Before this earth was ever created God devised a plan of salvation for us through His Son Jesus Christ. We were chosen to become holy and without blame before Him in love. We were predestined to become the sons and daughters of God through the sacrificial blood of Jesus Christ. When we accept God at His Word the blood of Christ covers us like a blanket and we are sinless in His eyes.  God predetermined us to be adopted into His family enjoying all the privileges of His only begotten Son. We are heirs of God through Christ. The Holy Spirit conforms the believer into the image of Christ, which Himself is the image of the invisible God. The Bible says, Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. 1 John 3:2

006  My friend, this world will eat you up and spit you out just like it has done to people for thousands of years. I urge you to take this minute and confess your belief that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. Admit that you have fallen short of His glory. Ask Him to come into your heart and recreate you as a son or daughter of God. Surrender your life, and your will to your Creator. It’s as easy as bowing your head and praying these things. He is here with you. His arms are outstretched and He so much wants to help you, and protect you from this evil place. The Bible tells us in Romans 8:35-39: Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? “Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written: For Your sake we are killed all the day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him Who loved us.  For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come,  nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”