DEFINITION: Biblically, temptation is a physical and/or mental desire to sin–a deep craving for something that is contrary to the Word of God.
FACTS ABOUT TEMPTATION:
God does not tempt you. You are tempted when you are drawn away by your own carnal desires. “When tempted, no one should say, ‘God is tempting me.’ For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death” (James 1:13-15). The process of temptation is desire, conception, birth, sin, and death.
The battle with temptation begins in your mind. It starts with desire which conceives evil and gives birth to sin.
Temptation arises from three major sources. The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, the pride of life: “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world–the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life–is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever” (1 John 2:15-17).
Everyone experiences temptation. No one is exempt. Even Jesus, when He was in the flesh, experienced temptation, but He did not sin (Hebrews 4:15).
Temptation is not sin. Being tempted is not sin, but yielding and acting upon it is sin.
One purpose of temptation is to glorify God. “In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith–of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire–may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed” (1 Peter 1:7).
There is always a way of escape. You do not have to yield to temptation. In every temptation, God provides a way of escape (1 Corinthians 10:13).
DEALING WITH TEMPTATION:
If you have yielded to temptation, repent. Temptation is sin only when it is acted upon. If you have sinned by acting upon temptation, you must repent (1 John 1:8-9).
Avoid places of temptation. Do not go places where you are tempted to sin. Be careful about what you hear and see, as the ear-gate and eye-gate are how temptation often gains access to your life. Do not associate with people who tend to lead you in to temptation.
Pray the daily prayer which appeals to God to “lead us not into temptation” (Matthew 6:13).
Reprogram your mind. Temptation starts with desire, then sin is conceived and birthed. Stop tempting thoughts the minute they enter your mind before sin is conceived and birthed. Rebuke the thoughts and tell them to go in the name of Jesus!
Read the Bible and pray. Prayer and Bible study are essential to living a life of victory over temptation. Jesus said to be prayerful, lest you enter into temptation (Matthew 26:41). David declared that he hid God’s Word in his heart to keep him from sin (Psalm 119:11).
Meet temptation with the Word of God. Study the temptation of Jesus recorded in Matthew 4:1-11. He met every temptation with the Word of God. You can do likewise.
Use the escape hatch. The Bible says that in every temptation there is a way of escape (1 Corinthians 10:13). Look for the escape hatch and use it! Readjust your thoughts. Walk away from the errant group or the sinful pleasure. Remove yourself from temptation. Look for the way out, and take it! Escaping temptation may be immediate or a process, but there is always a way out.
WHAT GOD’ WORD SAYS ABOUT TEMPTATION:
I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. (Psalm 119:11)
Like a muddied spring or a polluted well is a righteous man who gives way to the wicked. (Proverbs 25:26)
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. (Matthew 6:13)
Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak. (Matthew 26:41)
And lead us not into temptation. (Luke 11:4)
When He came to the place, He said to them, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.” (Luke 22:40, NKJV)
Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey–whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were entrusted. You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness. (Romans 6:6-18)
For the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you through Christ Jesus from the power of sin that leads to death. (Romans 8:2, TLB)
Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God–this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:1-2)
If you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! 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. (1 Corinthians 10:12-13)
Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character. (1 Corinthians 15:33)
You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. (Ephesians 4:22-24)
Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand, Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. (Ephesians 6:11-18)
Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. (Colossians 3:2-3)
Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. (Colossians 3:5)
Yet the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen [you] and set you on a firm foundation and guard you from the evil [one]. (2 Thessalonians 3:3, AMP)
Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted. (Hebrews 2:18)
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are–yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. (Hebrews 4:15-16)
Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. (2 Timothy 2:22)
When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death. (James 1:13-15)
Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. (James 4:7)
In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith–of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire–may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. (1 Peter 1:7)
Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed. As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:13-16)
Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings. And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. (1 Peter 5:8-10)
Now if [all these things are true, then be sure] the Lord knows how to rescue the godly out of temptations and trials, and how to keep the ungodly under chastisement until the day of judgment and doom, (2 Peter 2:9, AMP)
Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world–the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life–is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever. (1 John 2:15-17)