Temptation...we have all faced it. Sometimes it is minor temptations that we can overcome, and other times it hits us in our weakness and we have a difficult time ignoring the temptation. Each of us have different temptations that are hard to overcome, so what seems hard for me may be easy for you. But what tempts you the most may be something that doesn't even tempt me at all. Sometimes we can do things on our own that puts in a place of great temptation and other times we feel like we have been knocked over from behind and are finding ourselves in unexpected temptation. Jesus faced temptation just like we all do and He gave us an amazing example of how to push it away. Please read Matthew 4:1-11.
The first thing that I want to point out is Matthew 4:1, which says that the devil tempted Jesus. That is an important point because God does not tempt us. The idea that He would tempt us is so contrary to what the Bible tells us about the nature of God; for example look at James 1:13-14 (NLT): "And remember, when you are being tempted, do not say, 'God is tempting me.' God is never tempted to do wrong, and He never tempts anyone else. Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away." So, in order to understand and fight our temptation we need to understand where its origins are. Temptation's beginning takes root in our own desires. When you think about it, this makes total sense because how could we be tempted in something we really do not desire? This also gives us one way to fight temptation; we could pray that God would change the desires of our heart.
The next thing we need to consider is the fact that Jesus used scripture to help fight temptation. When He was tempted to do something that was against God's desires, He used scripture that spoke against that very item. This is powerful because we can do that! Something this is telling me to do is to memorize the verses that speak against my own temptations so when I am being tempted I can remind myself how God feels about it and use the scripture to speak against it. In addition to scripture, Jesus also told the devil to leave. This is absolutely incredible for us to remember because Jesus has shared that authority with us. We can also tell our temptations to leave using the Name of Jesus.
The last thing I want to point out that we don't necessarily see in these verses but Jesus teaches us about fighting temptation is to pray. There are several places in the Gospels where we are told to pray about temptation. One example is found in Luke 22:40 (NLT), "There he told them, 'Pray that you will not give in to temptation.'" I think this is important and it is something that I need to remember as I am praying in the morning. Can you imagine the power in our prayers when we start the day asking God to help you to not give in to temptation? It also reminds us that it isn't in our own strength and power that we are able to overcome temptation; it is in the power of God working in us that helps us overcome. Here is one last verse to remember that gives us hope for those who overcome temptation: "God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him." James 1:12 (NLT).
Do you believe that God will help you with your temptations?
This post is linked with iFellowship Blog Hop and Word Filled Wednesday.