How to Overcome Temptation

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How to Overcome Temptation

Resist what’s restricting you!

People give in to temptations for many reasons. The research from Barna Group shows nearly half of Americans say they are tempted to spend too much time with media, including the Internet, television, and video games. Another form of temptation is to express anger or “go off” on someone by text or email, to escape or get away from “real life” for a while, to feel less pain or loneliness, to satisfy people’s expectations, to take a shortcut to success, for personal pleasure or because “I enjoy it”.

Temptation can be a serious issue when its long-term consequences lead to loss of job, home, health, livelihood, or relationship. If you experience a strong desire to act in a way you know isn’t good for your health, there are steps to resist what’s restricting you from leading a long, satisfied life.

All temptation is linked to what you think on.

You can’t be tempted unless you have first thought about it. Therefore, whatever you agree with, you give your power to that thought. A simple formula is to control your thoughts, and you will control temptation. It’s like a woman who doesn’t want to get overweight but continues to eat to fill a void. Sooner or later, she will be overweight. Maybe you sometimes look in the mirror and think, I wish I was a better person. Are you sometimes disappointed with yourself? Maybe you get angry or selfish or have some bad habits, maybe you let yourself down and you let other people down. You’re not really the person you had hoped you were. I think all of us feel like that from time to time. If anyone thinks on the wrong things long enough, and sooner or later they will give into sin when tempted.

Lady holding Bible

The Bible helps you resist what’s restricting you.

The Bible has a special ability to change people for the better. It doesn’t happen immediately. It’s not like reading one verse, and whoa, you are now a perfect Superman or Superwoman. But it happens over time. The more you read the Bible, the more you absorb it, the more the Bible will change you into a better person.

What is that source of temptation? “Each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire,” James 1:14. Let’s get to the root! Temptation draws its strength from desire. This explains why not everyone is faced with the same temptations. The lure of internet pornography is a serious temptation for one person, while for another it is not. Both have the same access, only one is tempted. What is the difference? The difference is desire. The opportunity to gossip exists for all, yet some gossip and others do not. Why is this? Some want to, others do not.

By seeking truth found in the Bible, words read will speak to you and suggest things you can improve. As you read day after day, week after week, month after month, your mind will be shaped into the values of God Himself, who inspired the Bible. You are shaped into God’s values in a supernatural way. We can’t explain it other than that this book is supernatural.

Those who resist temptation are those who love God.

God’s love thinks the eternal perspective. James 1:12 reminds us that the crown of life is given to those who resist temptation. The root of the issue is guarding our desires and thoughts by focusing on our love for God. The Scriptures are clear that a choice must be made, for one cannot love God and sin at the same time: “If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him,” 1 John 2:15.

How do we love God? By knowing who He is, and who He is for us. It is a call to establish our hearts by remembering the character of God. He is compassionate and merciful, “The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness…,” Exodus 34:6. It’s the same description used of Jesus, the one “full of grace and truth,” John 1:14.

The Word of God is powerful—use it when tempted. Jesus countered every temptation of the devil with the Word. Think about it, Jesus was the Word, and everything He said would have been Scripture and more than sufficient to rebuke the devil. Yet He would say, “It is written” then He quoted God’s Word. It’s important for us to do the same. We must know God’s Word to effectively overcome temptation. That goes back to being prepared; you can’t quote scripture you haven’t learned, and there isn’t any power in what you don’t know or understand.

Temptation will come, but it’s hard for the devil to deceive you when your mind is stayed on the promises of God. Satan can only work with what you give him, so don’t give him any space in your mind. You’ll be able to avoid many of the temptations you face if you will put this into practice, “Walk in the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh,” Galatians 5:16.

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