Archives for : Temptations

How to Overcome Temptation

Background and Meaning of the Word ‘Temptation’:

  • The same Greek word (Peirasmos) is used for ‘temptations’ (Mat 6:13, 1 Cor 10:13, Jas 1:13) and ‘trials’ (Jas 1:2,12, 1 Pet 1:6).
  • Meaning of the word – To put to proof by experiment of good or experience of evil
  • to scrutinize, entice, discipline, examine, prove, try, tempt
  • It is important to make a distinction between two meanings within this one word.
    • On one hand, it signifies an attempt to entice someone into evil. (Often translated as temptations)
      • Satan is the ultimate source of all desires and actions contrary to God.
      • He is the tempter. (Mat 4:3, 1 Th 3:5)
    • On the other hand, it indicates a testing which aims at spiritual good. (Often translated as trials)
  • This bible study is detailed description of ‘temptation’ in its negative significance.
Purpose of Temptation:
  • To undermine God’s plan and will (Gen 3:4-5)
  • To stray man from God’s way (John 10:10)
  • Temptation at its core, is to deny the authority of God and to seek our independence from God.

What are the ways of Temptation?

  • Temptation starts in heart and mind, in our deepest motives and desires. (Jas 1:14-15)
  • 1 John 2:16 talks about three most fundamental means of temptation. – “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.”
    • Lust of the flesh
    • Lust of the eyes
    • Pride of Life
  • These three fundamental principles summarize any temptations we may face in our daily lives.
  • Satan used this devices to tempt Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden.
    • Lust of the Eyes – “When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye..” (Gen 3:6)
    • Lust of the Flesh – “…tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye..”
    • Pride of Life – “…and also desirable for gaining wisdom (like God)…” (Gen 3:5-6)
  • Satan use the same devices to tempt Jesus in the wilderness. (Mat 4:1-11)
    • Lust of the Flesh – “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” (Mat 4:3)
    • Lust of the Eyes – “the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor.” (Mat 4:8)
    • Pride of Life – “All this I will give you, if you will bow down and worship me.” (Mat 4:9)

Is temptation Sin? Can temptation be considered as Sin?

  • No, Jesus was also tempted. (Mat 4:1-11)
  • Hebrews 4:15 – “but we have one (Jesus) who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin.”
  • Every Christian is faced with some kind of temptation.

Why is it so ‘easy’ to fall or give in to temptation? Why do we see a constant struggle with sin?

  • Because there is a temporary pleasure in it.
  • Hebrews 11:25 – “He (Moses) chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time.”
  • We are susceptible to sin because of our frailty due to sinful nature. (Gen 6:5)

So How to overcome temptation? What are the steps one can take?

Preparation:

  • Bible often picture temptation and struggle with sin as a battlefield, it is fighting against temptation and if you want to succeed in the battle, you need to prepare well.
  • Ready for the battle. (Eph 6:11, 13-17)
  • Watch and pray. (Mk 14:38)
  • Remember Jesus used word of God to attack and overcome all three temptations in the wilderness. We are no better, so spend time in the word of God. Immerse yourself into word of God, study it, memorize it. Remember, you may not have your bible with you when Satan confronts you with some kind of temptation!
  • Be alert and self-controlled (1 Pet 5:8). (For every christian, temptation can come in different form.)
  • Strong in faith. (1 Pet 5:8-9)

Perseverance and Endurance:

  • So often the battle goes weary, and we just give up and give in.  We need to persevere, persist and continue to resist temptation.

Planning: (Strategy)

  • Remember that there is always a way to overcome temptation.
  • 1 Cor 10:13 – “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.”
  • There are two strategies, which I have discovered in bible when dealing with temptation.
  1. Resist or Fightback:
    • James 4: 7: ” Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”
    • There are times when you need to fight back and resist the temptation. You need to stand firm.
  2. Retreat:
    • 2 Tim 2:22: “Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness…”
    • There are times when you need to flee, run away or retreat to escape temptation.
    • Joseph is an excellent example of both of this methods. He tried to resist Potiphar’s wife as much as he could, but when the time came, he chose to flee out rather than resist her. (Gen 39: 6-12) (Joseph – Bible Character Study)
    • I believe that many times, we choose wrong ways, we flee when we need to stand firm, and vice versa.