Firstly, it is ok to be tempted. Yes, it really is.
What is Temptation
The Oxford Dictionary defines temptation as ‘the desire to do or have something that you know is bad or wrong’
13 No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.
–1 Corinthians 10:13(ESV)
1. Be Realistic
First, accept that you are being tempted. Be realistic that it is human to be tempted. Even Lord Jesus was tempted.
18 For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.
2. Be Responsible
Accept responsibility for your temptation.
- Do not blame others as the cause of your temptation. “She/He tempted me and hence he/she is responsible for my failure” is a strict no-no for a responsible Christian.
- Do not blame the situation for your temptation. “Anybody would have been tempted and done the way I would have done” is another no-no.
- Do not compare with any other human. “Even my spiritual mentor was tempted and sinned” is not acceptable. Our role model is Jesus Christ and we should strive to be like him.
3. Be Ready & Prepared
Satan hits us with temptation when we are most vulnerable.
We are most vulnerable at two points in our lives :-
- when we are very successful
- when we are totally down in the dumps
Satan is a master of deception. Satan is a master of logic and rationality. He can make you rationalize your sins!
Satan is a good fisherman. He knows your weaknesses and lays the right bait to hook you. At times, we know it is a bait, but it is such a tasty bait that we want to nibble at it. We tell ourselves, we will only nibble a bit, we won’t get hooked. The initial nibble, leads to one more and then one more, until we fully fall into Satan’s trap.
Desire -> Deception-> Disobedience-> Sin-> Death
Think about what bait Satan has laid for you today and how you can be prepared to handle it.
4. Persistently Resist & Run Away
2 The Lord was with Joseph, and he became a successful man, and he was in the house of his Egyptian master. 3 His master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord caused all that he did to succeed in his hands. 4 So Joseph found favor in his sight and attended him, and he made him overseer of his house and put him in charge of all that he had.
Joseph was a very successful man, he was in charge of everything of his master. In other words, he was at his most vulnerable (refer point 3).
7 And after a time his master’s wife cast her eyes on Joseph and said, “Lie with me.” 8 But he refused and said to his master’s wife, “Behold, because of me my master has no concern about anything in the house, and he has put everything that he has in my charge. 9 He is not greater in this house than I am, nor has he kept back anything from me except you, because you are his wife. How then can I do this great wickedness and sin against God?” 10 And as she spoke to Joseph day after day, he would not listen to her, to lie beside her or to be with her.
He was tempted time and again.
He did three things right :-
- He refused immediately (did not take time to think about it)
- He reasoned correctly (violation of trust, immorality(another man’s wife), a sin in the sight of God)
- He resisted persistently, in spite of repeatedly being tempted.
12 she caught him by his garment, saying, “Lie with me.” But he left his garment in her hand and fled and got out of the house.
One day Joseph walked into a trap, there was nobody in the house and the Potiphar’s wife caught him by his garment. At this moment, Joseph did not try to reason with her, nor did he tarry.
He left the garment, turned back and ran away from the temptation.
8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
– Philippians 4:8(ESV)
As the word of God says, Change the way you think. Change what you choose to think about.
Nobody (not God, not Satan) can control your thoughts. God knows your thoughts, but you choose to think. Satan puts images in front of your eyes. You see the images, but you can choose to think about it. Refocus your thoughts on God.
6. Be Reborn in Christ
- Be in fellowship of other Christians. They will be your wall of protection.
- Get the Word of God into your everyday life. When you are tempted, God will bring the right verses to your mind.
- Find a spiritual father/mentor(a mature, godly, Christian) in your life.
I would like to end the post with a small story on temptation shared in the sermon.
According to tradition, this is how an Eskimo hunter kills a wolf.
First, the Eskimo coats his knife blade with animal blood and allows it to freeze. He then adds layer after layer of blood until the blade is
completely concealed by the frozen blood.
Next, the hunter fixes his knife in the ground with the blade up. When a wolf follows his sensitive nose to the source of the scent and discovers the bait, he licks it, tasting the fresh frozen blood. He begins to lick faster, more and more vigorously, lapping the blade until the sharp edge is bare. Feverishly now, harder and harder, the wolf licks the blade in the cold Arctic night. His craving for blood becomes so great that the wolf does not notice the razor-sharp sting of the naked blade on his own tongue. Nor does he recognize the instant when his unquenchable thirst is being satisfied by his own warm blood. His carnivorous appetite continues to crave more until in the morning light, the wolf is found dead on the snow!
Many begin using drugs, drinking alcohol, smoking cigarettes, or engaging in unsafe sexual behavior for the same reasons that the wolf begins licking the knife blade. It seems safe and delicious at first, but it doesn’t satisfy. More and more is desired, leading to a crisis or death.
Don’t be fooled by the temptations of sin. Like the wolf, we can get away with it for a while. Eventually, however, its true character is revealed. Sin leads to death and destruction. “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Author: Compiled by Gejoy Kuriakose(NLFA Baroda) from the following sources:-
- Sermon teachings(18-Mar-2012) of Pas Chaitanya Gera (Capstone Church, Hyderabad)
- Bible Reading and Meditation