Overcoming Temptations

I Cor. 10:13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.


A.  What are the doors of escaping temptations?  Some general comments about temptations.

1.     We must realize we are addicted to sin, and we like it.  It is natural to us, and to be spiritual is not “natural.” James 1:14,15 - “But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. 15  Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.”

2.     Satan wants to keep us thinking about this world and everything he has to offer us. He doesn’t want us to think about heavenly things, or the consequences of our sins. Galatians 6:7-8 - “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. 8  For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.”

3.     Satan doesn’t want us thinking about the things God has for us.  We must realize we can’t defeat Satan by ourselves, that we are powerless to overcome him.  We must realize God can defeat Satan for us.  Remember that everything that goes through our minds stays in our minds.  It will come up again when you don’t want it to come up.

4.     Remember that our relationship with God is harmed when we don’t take the escape routes God has provided for us.  Our relationship with people around us is also harmed. The cause is the sin that is in us.

5.     Admit to God that you have some sort of temptation you aren’t able to overcome.  Realize that He can overcome it, not by the power of the flesh, but by spiritual power.  We must remember that the reason we face temptations and trials we can’t overcome is so we will learn how to trust in God better.  If we didn’t have temptations and trials, we would become self-sufficient, and not trust God at all.  We are all weak in the flesh and cannot defeat Satan, or be victorious for God without His power.

a.      Realize that God is allowing this temptation to come upon you because He has something greater in mind for you. II Cor. 12:7-10 - Paul had a thorn in the flesh, which he prayed that God would relieve.  God didn’t, therefore Paul learned that the grace of God was sufficient for Him.  Paul got to the place where he would glory in his infirmities so the power of God would rest upon him!  This is the place we all want to be.

b.     This may sound silly to us, but God wants us to understand our total inability to be obedient to Him in our flesh, our minds, and in our hearts.  He wants us to fully understand that the only strength we have is His strength.  When temptations, trials and troubles come, and we fail to stand true to God, we ought to learn that we don’t have the ability in ourselves to stand true to Him.  We need to learn to partake of the strength He gives us so we will be able to stand for Him.

6.     Realize that we are creatures of habit.  We get in the habit of failing, and don’t “feel” right if we don’t fail.  We get in the habit of being in the spotlight, therefore don’t “feel” right if we aren’t in the spotlight.  We get in the habit of feeling a certain way, therefore don’t “feel” right if we don’t feel a certain way. What you feed your mind is what your mind wants fed.  Thought is the root of all action.  Compare to what we eat and get used to and desire - even if it’s bad for us.  It gets easier to do what is right, or to do what is wrong.  Neither of these becomes automatic.

B.    Our Work.

1.     I Thess 4:3-5 - “For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication: 4  That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour; 5  Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God:  The will of God is that we be separated from this world and to be to Him what He wants us to be.  We ought to know how to possess our vessel (body) in sanctification and honor.

2.     Col. 3:5-11 - “Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: 6  For which things' sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience: 7  In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them. 8  But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. 9  Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; 10  And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him: 11  Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all.”

3.     I John 2:16 - “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16  For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.”

4.     You will never be completely from the desire to sin.  You are going to have to fight the desire to sin all the days of your life.  There is no magic formula, or prescription you can receive that will remove the desire to sin.  There can be, however, a lessening of the desire to sin by not yielding to sinful desires.

a.      Rom. 7:15-25 - Paul struggled against sin, but never could completely overcome it.  This is the way it is with us.  We should struggle against sin, so we can understand that we can’t overcome it, but God can.  It is sin that reigns in our mortal bodies that causes us to yield to the temptations of Satan.  Sin will be present with us all the days of our lives.

b.     I John 1:9 - God is faithful who will cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

5.     Phil 4:8 - Put your mind on something else, not on the temptation, or the force of the temptation, and the peace of God will be with you.

a.      Martin Luther once said: “The best way to exorcise the devil is to go and plough a field.”

b.     Put your body doing something beneficial, and your mind will soon catch up with it.

6.     I Cor. 6:19 - Understand that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost, and you are not your own, but you are bought with a price.

7.     Remember that God’s promises will be fulfilled.  Phil. 1:6 - He who has begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.  When we ask God for a way out, He always gives it.  The reason we don’t have a way out is because we haven’t asked, or we haven’t used what God gave us.

C.    God’s Work in us.

1.     Let God take care of things, while are busy submitting ourselves to Him.

a.      Eph. 4:29 - Let no corrupt communication …

b.     Eph. 4:31 - Let all bitterness…

c.      Col. 3:15 - and let the peace of God rule in your hearts…

d.     Col. 3:16 - let the word of God dwell in you richly…

2.      Don’t ask God to “take this evil thing away from me,” but “give it to God” and let Him do with it as it pleases Him.  James 4:7 - Submit yourselves therefore to God, resist the devil and he will flee from you.”  We will understand that is isn’t the will of God that we sin, or that we are overcome by sin.  It is God’s will that we understand that He is the one we overcome sin by.

3.      Rom. 12:2 - and be ye not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind…