What temptations are you facing in your life right now? This Sunday at 217church we will address how to deal with these struggles. One of my favorite stories in scripture was when Jesus was preparing for ministry. He was accompanied by Satan himself to the desert! Jesus endured 40 days of preparation as he was taken to His limits and tested to see if He was ready for the task that was ahead. Jesus was preparing for 3 years of grueling arguments, persecution, humiliation, and loneliness all leading up to defining moments of His victory, death on a cross followed by His resurrection!
“…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
Temptation happens when our desires and God’s desires for us clash. The question is, “How do I allow God to bend my own desires and bring them in line with what he wants for me?” This means we are working from the starting point of depravity. There is something wrong with us. Something terribly wrong. Keep this in mind, just because you are a follower of Jesus, it doesn’t mean the temptations will subside; it usually means they will increase. The beautiful part of the picture, however, is realizing your new identity and calling in Jesus. When you give your life to Christ, you are not saying, “I’ll try harder,” but you are submitting the purpose and will of your life to Jesus. You submit to Him, then He continues His work in you to purify you. (Philippians 2:12) This process is called sanctification.
5 Ways To Overcome Temptation
#1 You Already Have: This may sound trite but you have already won! Although you struggle with sin you aren’t defined by sin. In countless places in scripture we are told who we are in Christ. We are “more than conquerors, over-comers adopted as sons and daughters, purchased at a price.” I could go on and on. Most of us simply have not made the decision to hate sin! It has to be that strong. It can’t be you kind of “don’t like it” You can’t flirt with it and dance with it. You have to hate it! Hate it, HATE IT! Speak out against it! DESPISE it! Then and only then will it be subdued in your life. Remember it’s not your power that overcomes, but the power that is in you through the Holy Spirit. You may need a REVOLUTION in your mind and heart and the power of Jesus is accessible to YOU!
#2 Keep Your Eyes Forward: This means what it means. Don’t be distracted by what is on your left or right but “press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:14) Sometimes we lose our integrity and focus because we are too focused on the here and now. We want immediate gratification and satisfaction of our wants as opposed to a long term better result. When was the last time you saw your whole life before you and evaluated your current decision based on your eternal reality? People who overcome temptation are able to see and anticipate their eternal future and the consequences of poor decisions.
#3 Diligently Prepare: For some of you this may sound crazy. Just when you think you have overcome a sin, the enemy will make it somehow seem more appealing and you better be ready. Jesus’ words “man does not live on bread alone,” (Matthew 4:4) are some of the most profound words ever spoken. What you can anticipate, you can defeat. Don’t act like you were caught off guard and keep in mind, “your adversary is prowling around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” (1 peter 5:8) One of the ways the enemy will deceive you is to “sterilize” your view of him. Don’t doubt that He is waiting for His moment to destroy you, but take heart.
#4 Protect Yourself: This is common sense! If you are addicted to shopping, then maybe you should stay out of the mall? Guard your eyes! Guard your heart! Here is a common sense protection for your marriage: Maybe I am just too old school, but meeting one on 0ne with a member of the opposite sex, who is not your spouse, when your married, seems like a recipe for disaster in your marriage. Protect yourself by setting up practical behavioral wisdom guidelines. It will save you a lot of unwanted temptation. What affair didn’t start as an innocent conversation? Pray prayers of protection and when you feel it getting difficult move on to #5.
#5 Get Someone To Watch Your Back: Unconfessed, private sin leads to a breeding ground of detrimental behavior. This is where the church is at it’s finest! You, me, brothers, sisters, willing to go to battle for each other! Give me someone to fight for and I’ll immediately have passion. This is where we say, “NOTHING PENETRATES THE UNITY OF OUR CHURCH!” Not on my watch! The bible says we should “confess our sins to one another.” (James 5:16) You may be thinking it is too personal, too private and too difficult. I would submit to you that it is more difficult to struggle with private sin than it is to share it and ask for the prayer of others. This means you have to find someone you can be honest with. Your relationship is not just about confessing sins, but also about sharing the victories and receiving encouragement from someone who has your best interest in mind.
You got this church! Let the resurrection power of Jesus live in you as you persevere towards the calling Jesus has for you! OVERCOME!
Join us this Sunday at 9:30 or 11 am at the AMC 24 Theater in Hamilton, NJ! We are a unique contemporary church in Central Jersey dedicated to restoring lives and rebuilding and renewing the community around us. If you live in the Mercer County, Burlington County, Middlesex County or Bucks County, PA area, learn more about 217church by clicking HERE.