HOW CAN I OVERCOME TEMPTATION?
Every person is tempted to do wrong. Does the devil play a role in this? Of course, he does. The Bible calls him “the tempter” (Matthew 4:3). He is our enemy, who like a roaring lion, goes about seeking whom he might devour (1 Peter 5:8). Satan tempts all men through the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life (1 John 2:16). He is powerful, but we know that first century saints were able to overcome him: “. . . you have overcome the wicked one” (1 John 2:13). With God’s help we, too, can overcome him. Just what can you and I do to overcome his temptation? Here are some “must” items:
1. First, we must have a strong desire to overcome him. In some sporting events, there can be tie scores. But with Satan, there will be no ties. We will either defeat him, or else he will defeat us. If we are going to overcome him, then we must first possess the desire to do that. Ask yourself, “How strongly do I really desire to overcome Satan?” The Bible says, “Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your calling and election sure, for if you do these things you will never fall” (2 Peter 1:10). Diligence to overcome comes from desire.
2. We must resist Satan. Overcoming the devil does not happen by accident! “Resist the devil and he will flee from you” (James 4:7). Some Christians fail to overcome temptation because they never really try to resist the tempter. How can we resist him? “Resist him, steadfast in the faith” (1 Peter 5:9). What else helps in our resistance? “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil” (Ephesians 6:11).
3. We must fill our hearts with God’s word. If our heart (mind) is filled with the word of God, then we will know what is right and wrong in the sight of God and this will help us be prepared in advance when the devil tempts us. The Psalmist wrote, “Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You” (Psalm 119:11). Christians are instructed, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly” (Colossians 3:16). If we will follow this instruction, then we will be better prepared to overcome the evil one.
4. We must imitate the example of Jesus. What did Jesus do when Satan tempted Him in the wilderness? Each time He was tempted, He said to Satan, “It is written,” then quoted the word of God. Like Jesus, we should use “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Ephesians 6:17) when we do battle with the tempter.
5. We must flee from iniquity and spiritual danger. “Do not enter the path of the wicked, And do not walk in the way of evil. Avoid it, do not travel on it; Turn away from it and pass on” (Proverbs 4:14,15). The New Testament says, “Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity . . . Flee also youthful lusts” (2 Timothy 2:19,22).
6. When tempted, we must look for a way of escape. “. . . but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it” (1 Corinthians 10:13). Where is the way of escape from temptation? We must seek for it.
7. We must watch and pray. Jesus told His weary apostles, “Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Matthew 26:41).
The devil does not want any of us to go to heaven. He uses every means at his disposal to get us off course. If we are serious about overcoming him, then each of the seven things that we have noted above is essential in our fight against him.
— Roger D. Campbell
“BUT WHAT CAN I DO?”
We may sometimes feel that we are of little or no value to the Lord’s Cause. We might think of ourselves as being less talented or less useful than other Christians. The truth is, regardless of whom we are, each member of the church is important and can be helpful. “But what can I do?” Consider:
Like Barnabas, exhort other saints to cleave to the Lord (Acts 11:23).
Like Abraham, instruct your offspring to serve the Lord (Genesis 18:19).
Like Daniel, be instant in prayer, even in difficult circumstances (Daniel 6:10).
Like Andrew, try and bring your family members to Jesus (John 1:40-42).
Like Onesiphorus, refresh and serve those that need special attention (2 Timothy 1:18-20).
Like Paul and Barnabas, visit the brethren (Acts 15:36).
Like the early saints in Thessalonica, demonstrate that you abound in your love for other Christians (2 Thessalonians 1:3).
You are right: you cannot do everything. You are also correct in saying that other people do a lot of things better than you do. All of us could make such an admission about ourselves. Still, there are so many things that each soldier of the Christ can do. Let us be about our Father’s business.
— Roger D. Campbell
TRUTH is published monthly by the Klang church of Christ in order to help educate, edify, encourage, and equip the saints of God.