To sin is to fall into temptation but not to be tempted. Still, we must avoid temptations just to help ourselves not to fall into temptation. It’s very simple. For example, I’m trying to have a healthier lifestyle and I want to avoid unhealthy food. So I simply don’t buy any type of food that has too much fat or sugar…among others. This helps me when I have some craving for sugar or any processed food. If it’s not there, it’s easier to avoid it, right?
The Bible tells us that our Saviour, Jesus Christ, was tempted in many ways and still he never sinned! “This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin.” (Hebrews 4:15) As Jesus is our perfect role model to follow, we know it’s possible to be tempted and NOT sin. I’m sure most of us have been through temptation and we’ve overcome it successfully. From simple things like food (it’s harder for some of us, though) to complex situations like cheating, taking advantage of a situation at work, etc.
Let’s go back to the first (original) sin. We know that Eve was tempted and then she sinned. She was tempted to everything the fruit forbade. “The woman was convinced. She saw that the tree was beautiful and its fruit looked delicious, and she wanted the wisdom it would give her. So she took some of the fruit and ate it.” (Genesis 3:6).
The world offers us an intense, insatiable desire for physical pleasure, for the things we see and the pride that “having” and “attaining” gives us.
So, who put the tree in the garden of Eden? God did. He is NOT the one who tempts us but He allows it to be there. Why? To try us and to try our hearts. To confront our hearts. (Remember all the things that come from the heart: Matthew 15:19)
There are three elements in almost every temptation we face and we are going to analyze them with Eve’s sin:
- The tantalizer – the one who tempts us. In this case, the snake (the devil).
- The temptation. In this case, the apple and everything it represented.
- The person that is tempted. In this case, Eve.
Just like in this setting, the lead character is not the devil, it’s Eve. WE are the lead characters in our temptations. We are the ones who need to work on getting rid of the chains that bound us (envy, bitterness, insecurities, etc.)
We can not blame the tantalizer nor the temptation itself. We have only ourselves to blame and that’s why we must turn to God to strengthen us and to help us have a pure heart (Titus 1:15). Just as Jesus asked God to take the world out of us, not to take us out of the world (John 17:15), to keep us safe from the evil one, to take out from us the sin that lies within us.
As some may put it, we must work to take out the beast that’s within us, not tame it.
The problem is not the outside world, is what that world engenders in me.
So instead of just fleeing or running away from temptation (as we are told to do in 2 Timothy 2:22 and 1 Corinthians 10:14)…, which might be a good “initial solution”, we must follow Jesus’s example, be full of God’s Word and find freedom from it (Matthew 4:1-15).
For those who find it harder, there are some things we can do. But it’s all in working on our self-control with the Holy Spirit. So…
How do we beat temptation?
First, in order to beat temptation, we need to know and understand what falling into it means… It can be defined as a strong desire to get some kind of immediate pleasure and acting upon it; this action has negative long-term consequences.
As I already mentioned the importance of discerning our thoughts, all types of thoughts are bombarding us 24/7! Thus, we must manage them wisely. (Some of the thoughts we get constantly are: negative thoughts that lead to self-pity or self-indulgence; criticize politicians, our neighbors, our co-workers, our spouses, etc.; the thought of giving up on some situation or at all; be abusive with the power we might have; eating something we know is bad for us; watch something we shouldn’t; talk to someone we shouldn’t talk to; among maaany others. I’m sure we could all mention several more.)
In James 1:13 we find that God is not tempted and he doesn’t tempt us but He might lead us to the place of temptation just as Jesus was taken to the wilderness by the Holy Spirit right after being baptized. (Matthew 4:1) Just like Peter was told it would happen in Luke 22: 31-33, His purpose with this was to reveal what was in Peter’s heart and it’s the same with us so we can be free from it.
We might be tempted to be free!
So, our prayer to God as Jesus taught us could be: “Father, please don’t lead us into temptation. Instead, tell me what’s in me that needs to be changed. Why do I need to go to the place where I’ll be tempted?” It’s always better to do this before God and not in the hands of temptation when we might have little to do to discover our hearts.
Some things we must know and act upon to beat temptation are these three:
- Believe right: “It is finished!” (John 19:30). Jesus completed the work that his Father, our Father, sent him to do (John 17:4). He won the victory for YOU and for me.
- Remember that it’s not in our own strength. God is our strength (Habakkuk 3:19). He lives in us, Jesus Christ lives in YOU and in me. We have a new mind, Jesus’s mind. And declare this EVERY. SINGLE. DAY: “For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:13)
- Study the Word and beat the devil with it, just as Jesus did when he was tempted: “The Scriptures say…” and declare His Word and promises upon your life all the time.
I hope this post has helped you to work towards beating your temptations and be free from sin.
If you think this might be helpful to someone you know, don’t hesitate and share it with them.
Also, please comment below and let us know your thoughts about this topic, or you can always jump to our private Facebook group. What has helped you beat your temptations? What piece of advice would you give others?
Be gracious and don’t forget God’s love never fails.