“When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death." (NIV) James 1:13-15.
Yesterday we looked at what temptation is, and what it entails, knowing this doesn't end helplessly but there is a great joy for we Christians having Christ as our forerunner in every arena of life.
Since the Hebrew writer has said Jesus can help those who are tempted, then He can set forth the way out of temptation. Yes, He does, there are several practical things the scripture says we can do to overcome temptation. Examples include
- Recognize our human tendency to be seduced by our fleshly desire. This is a great deal and can be done through the introspection of James 1:14. Temptation is real, so don't be surprised by it, expect to be tempted daily, and be prepared for it.
- Learn to flee from it and not yield to it, 1 Corinthians 10:13 put it in simple words: “But remember that the temptation that comes to your life is not different from what others experience and God is faithful. He will keep the temptation from becoming so strong that you can't stand up against it. When you're tempted, he will show you way out so that you will not give in to it “ (New living translation).
- When you come face-to-face with temptation, look for the way out (the way of escape) that God has promised, flee from it AS FAST AS YOU CAN, so that you may not sin. And that will limit the opportunities that the devil provides.
- You can only run and flee from temptation without sin when your focus is on God, and His words are in your heart as the psalmist said in Psalm 119:11. So that you can fight temptation with the word as Jesus also did in Matthew 4:1-11 when He was tempted by the devil. You are also to refocus your mind and heart with praise and that will take care of your sinful desire.
- How often have you been tempted to sin when your heart and mind were fully concentrated on worshiping the Lord?
- Continuously doing these - Keeping God’s words in your heart and praising him, will take your focus off yourself and put it on God.
Remember you may not be strong enough to resist temptation on your own, but as you focus on God, he will give you the strength to resist and walk away from the temptation and once you have been able to overcome temptation which is the first stage you're done with it all.