How to Overcome Temptation & Sin

How To Overcome Temptation

Because temptation strikes when we are most vulnerable, we can’t resist it alone. Prayer is essential because God’s strength can shore up our defenses and defeat satan’s power. This episode is about something that we all have to deal with as long as we are alive.  But by God’s grace we will be victorious over every temptation. For the notes and prayer plan, click here. To listen to this click below.

For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature a slave to the law of sin. – Romans 7:22-25

The inward struggle with sin was as real for Paul as it is for us.    From Paul we learn what to do about it.   Whenever Paul felt lost, he would return to the beginning of his spiritual life, remembering that he had already been freed by Jesus.  When you feel confused or overwhelmed by sin’s appeal, follow Paul’s example.  Begin to thank God that he had given you freedom through Jesus Christ.  Let the reality of Christ’s power lift you up to real victory over sin.

No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted,[e he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. – 1 Corinthians 10:13

Paul gave some strong encouragement to the Corinthians church about resisting temptations.

  1. Wrong temptations and desires happen to everyone. So don’t feel like you’re being singled out.
  2. Others have resisted this temptation and you can do it too.
  3. Any temptation can be resisted because God can help you do it.

God will help you resist the temptation by doing the following.

  1. Recognize the people and situations that give you the most temptation/trouble.
  2. Run from anything that you know is wrong.
  3. Choose to do only what is right.
  4. Pray for Gods help.
  5. Seek for friends who love God and can offer help when you are tempted.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. – Philippians 4:8

What we put into our minds determines what comes out in our words and actions.  Paul tells us to program our minds with thoughts that are true, honourable, right, pure, lovely, of good   Excellent and praise worthy,  Replace harmful inputs with wholesome materials. Most importantly, read Gods word and pray regularly.

For the lips of the adulterous woman drip honey, and her speech is smoother than oil; but in the end she is bitter as gall, sharp as a double-edged sword.  Her feet go down to death; her steps lead straight to the grave.  She gives no thought to the way of life; her paths wander aimlessly, but she does not know it. Now then, my sons, listen to me; do not turn aside from what I say.  Keep to a path far from her, do not go near the door of her house, – Proverbs 5:3-8

Any person would be on guard against those who use flattery and smooth speech (lips that drip honey) that would lead him or her into sin.  The best advice is to take a detour and even avoid conversation with such people.

Jesus answered, “It is said: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’ When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left him until an opportune time. – Luke 4:12-13

Too often we see temptation as once and for all. In reality, we need to be constantly on guard against the devil’s on-going attacks.  Always be conscious of the areas of your life that you are most susceptible to temptation and prepare how you will defeat it.  Be proactive in your fight against sin.

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.’ Matthew 6:13

God doesn’t lead is into temptations, but sometimes he allows us to be tested by it.  We should pray to be delivered from these trying times and for deliverance from evil.

Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter. “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” – Matthew 26:40-41

Jesus used Peter’s drowsiness to warn him about the kinds of temptation he would soon face.  The way to overcome temptation is to keep watch and pray.  In this verse “Watching” means being aware of the possibilities of temptation, sensitive to how subtle it can be and spiritually equip to fight against it.    

Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. – 2 Timothy 2:22

Running away is sometimes considered cowardly, but wise people realize that removing themselves physically from temptation can often be the most courageous action to take.  Timothy, a young man, was warned to flee anything that produced an evil thought.  If you have a reoccurring temptation that is difficult to resist try removing yourself physically from that situation.  Knowing when to run is as important in a spiritual battle as knowing when to stay and fight.

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. – James 4:7

Here is a strategy to defeat temptation:

  1. Submit to God – Yield to his authority and will, Commit your life to him and his control. Be willing to follow him.
  2. Resist the devil – Don’t allow satan to entice and tempt you.
  3. Cleanse your hands – Purify your hearts and mind and lead a pure life.  Desire the things of God.
  4. Be miserable and mourn for your sins – Think of sin as a mournful experience and not something you would enjoy anymore.
  5. Humble yourself in the presence of God.  Rely 100% on him alone to lift you up when you are weak.

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings. – 1 Peter 5:8-9

Lions attach sick, young, or straggling animals.  They choose victims who are alone or not alert.  Feeling alone weak, helpless, and cut off from other believers, so focused on our own problems can leave us vulnerable to satan’s attacks.  Be sure to have a strong group of believers around you always so that you can all encourage each other and build each other up.  This way no one will be left behind and for satan to attack like a lion.

For the notes and prayer plan for this episode, click here.

May you walk in victory over every temptation.

Be blessed