Be encouraged, never accept temptation; fight it until victorious for Jesus Christ
We typically wish that temptation would simply go away. We get tired and frustrated by its constant attempts to wear us down. You see, the severity of temptation is not determined by the discomfort experienced at the time. Rather, the measure is the degree of violation against God’s character should you give into the temptation and sin.
Realising that most temptation comes from within is a healthy start because temptation for the most part, is not anyone else’s responsibility. Living an effective warfare against temptation begins with a submissive, dependant attitude towards God and against sin. One that says; I will not do as I would like when it comes to sin. A God focused attitude that perseveres in spite of failures, disappointments and criticism.
During Jesus third appearance to the disciples following His resurrection, He asked Peter the same question three times; “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter, although crushed by his failure in denying knowing Jesus three times only days earlier, would have still been burning with guilt. Although grieved, Peter gave an honest answer; “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you” (John 21:15-17). This was a turning point for Peter, who went on to live a faithful and courageous life for Jesus his Lord. In God’s grace, stumbling under temptation does not have to be the end, but can catapult the repentant believer into deeper and more significant service for Christ.
Underneath Peter’s failure, was a deep love that recognised Jesus as the all-knowing God of his life. In spite of Peter’s repeated failure, Jesus was still there with him, calling for the deepest possible acknowledgement of love. Giving in to temptation is not a motive for abandoning faith in Jesus Christ as Lord. It’s an opportunity for greater surrender to the Lordship of Jesus because we realise that without Christ we have no hope of pleasing God.
We accept that “God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one” (James 1:13). So we cry out to God; “lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil” (Matthew 6:13). Our sense of desperation in our struggle against sin motives us to; “Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation.” Because we understand that “The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Matthew 26:41).
Sin will try to convince you that the power of temptation is too great, even though God tells us that “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man.” You’re not experiencing some unique temptation that no one else understands. The truth of the matter is that “God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it” (1 Corinthians 10:13).
So, as an expression of faith, we replace friendships that lead us away from obedience with ones that encourage faithfulness to the Lord. Replace leisure activities that put you in a vulnerable position with activities that serve the Lord and benefit others for righteous living. Replace reading and viewing that leads you away from a faithful walk of love for Jesus Christ with reading etc. that feeds you upon truth and clean desires that will strengthen your love for Christ. Replace times of laziness with activities that proactively promote the gospel of Jesus Christ in other’s lives. Replace meaningless time wasters with time doing discipleship with someone else, helping them to grow mature in Christ, learning from your walk with Christ.
Today, don’t accept temptation; fight it until victorious for Jesus Christ.
Together for Christ: Lincoln Forlong www.bbf.net.nz