Recognition of Temptation
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.Matthew 6:13
This verse is from the model prayer Jesus presented during the Sermon on the Mount. The best way to overcome sin is to avoid the temptation whenever possible. But do we sometimes justify walking around the fringes of temptations only to get sucked into the claws of sin? We have to be careful about people, places, and things, because Satan will lure us with a desirable temptation.
Each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed (James 1:14). We can be tempted by people, places, and things, but also tempted by our thoughts. Our thoughts can tempt us and activate the dopamine in our brains, thereby enhancing our desire to yield to the temptation. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; (James 1:15). Once we have yielded to the temptation, our Godly consciences have typically shut down and we have given birth to sin. Now we will act out on our thoughts, leading to sin and to the wrong places, wrong people, and doing the wrong things. And sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death. When we continue in sin and do not ask forgiveness and his power to overcome, it can lead to spiritual death.
So how can we overcome temptations? The easiest way to avoid temptation is to stay away from tempting people, places, and things. However, the difficult task is to avoid temptations in our own minds. When we yield to temptations in our minds, we are no longer in control; the flesh now controls us and we are just puppets on strings with our fleshly desires leading our souls to sin. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5). Demolish the sinful temptation by quoting scripture, forcing the flesh to do something physical, going for a walk, run, or other exercise, going for a drive, talking to a Christian brother or sister, or whatever it takes to derail the flesh that normally tempts us through our emotions.
The difficulty of overcoming a temptation that reaches the mind is to overcome the emotional drive toward the temptation. This takes discipline to overcome because our desire is to yield to the temptation. This is where we have to call on the strength of the Lord, consider the consequences, and quickly escape the temptation. Immediately do something that takes your mind away from the temptation and utilizes the flesh in some new activity, something that overrides the desire of the flesh and changes your emotion.
The moment the temptation occurs, demolish it immediately, and know ahead of time how you will demolish it. Learn to fight the spiritual war by preparing for battle just as the military prepares for battle. The feeling of victory can be more powerful than the desire of the temptation. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:57). Learn to avoid temptations and to demolish temptations through the power of God, and live in victory.
Today, be aware of the temptations in your life and try and avoid them, or immediately capture them to the obedience in Christ. Continue to see yourself as victorious because when temptations occur, your mind will think victory. Realize that you have the power of God to overcome the world and to overcome your flesh, which is part of the world.
Let’s Pray: Lord, lead me away from temptation. Give me the power of victory, and the wisdom to see every temptation as coming directly from Satan. Change my sinful desires and habits by renewing my mind and heart with your desires. Help me to see every temptation as an opportunity to override Satan and to celebrate victory in Christ. In Jesus name, Amen