Overcoming Temptation

Dear readers, it has really been neat to teach through “The Essentials of Effective Prayer“. We have dedicated this entire year in the Children’s Department to learning about prayer and living out a vibrant prayer life. As I have been studying this topic with my Kids’ Express teachers, I have been blessed to see how the Lord is at work in all of our lives, drawing us closer together as a team.

  1. Effective Prayer Lesson 1
  2. Effective Prayer Lesson 2 part 1
  3. Effective Prayer Lesson 2 part 2
  4. Effective Prayer: Allegiance, Submission, and Gratitude
  5. Effective Prayer: Petition and Intercession
  6. Effective Prayer: Forgiveness

This next lesson that I am about to teach is a crucial one. In the Lord’s Model Prayer in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus teaches us to pray, “Lead us not into temptation, but, deliver us from evil”. There are several things that Jesus wants to show us through this theme/subject. One is that temptation, if not handled correctly, will lead us to do evil. We need deliverance and we are too weak to do it on our own. Let’s see how this plays out as we use Scripture to interpret Scripture and discover the essence of Christ’s teaching here.

I. The Reality of Temptation

In Matthew 6:13, Jesus reminds us that we need to pray to be delivered from our daily temptation. If you are one of those “super saints” who claims that he or she is no longer tempted because of your spiritual maturity, with that statement, you have proven your actual spiritual immaturity. All of us are going to be tempted, and tempted often. Jesus reminds us in Matthew 26:41 that we are all weak. If you think that you can stand strong on your own in the face of temptation, again, you have proven just how spiritually immature that you really are. All of us are weak, even when our spirits are willing. On our own, we will cave to temptation every single time. We need to acknowledge our need for help and ask for it so that we can overcome our temptation. Finally, in I Peter 5:8, we learn that we have an adversary, one who comes up against us and wants to destroy us. He is the devil, which means accuser. He throws accusations our way, or, he sets traps to tempt us so that his accusations have something to land on. He is on the prowl, looking for an opportune time to strike. He, like the lion, circles his prey waiting for the moment of relaxation so that he can strike. When he strikes, he wants to beat you down to nothing. This is a daily battle that rages on moment by moment. What is our hope? How can we overcome our temptation?

II. God’s Plan of escape

Our only hope for overcoming temptation is God. He is our hope. He is our shield. He is our Rescuer. We need Him and His plan of escape. I Corinthians 10:13 teaches us that all of us will be tempted and our temptation is not unique. It is something that all humanity faces. God wants us to overcome our temptations but He has to provide our rescue. God’s provision provides a way of escape for each unique situation. With God’s help, we are able to endure all temptation that comes our way. I believe that the way of escape is described by Jesus in His High Priestly Prayer in John 17:14-19. The thing that helps us overcome the world (temptation) is the Word of God. It sanctifies us which means it sets us apart. It makes us different from the rest of the world. The world falls flat in the face of temptation where as believers are able to overcome, making us different. We must live in God’s Word and have God’s Word live in us so that God can remind us in our time of need. Are you trusting in God’s way of escape? Do you live in God’s Word? Does God remind you of the right choice in your time of need, when you are tempted? Do you heed God’s advice?

III. A Practical Example

Let’s take a look at Jesus’ example of handling temptation with the the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. In Matthew 4:1-11, Jesus is tempted by Satan. Let’s examine this situation to learn what we can about how we can implement this strategy in our daily battle with temptation. The first point of attack is “if”. If You really are God, then prove it. Show the whole world who You really are. Jesus was going to do that upon His resurrection. Satan was not interested in the truth. He wanted Jesus to do something that would cause his accusations to stick. How did Jesus respond? He quoted from the Old Testament, from Deuteronomy 8:3. Satan tries the same tactic in temptation number 2, but he puts a twist on it. If You really are God, then prove it because “it is also written” and Satan goes on to quote Psalm 91:11-12 out of context. He twists the Scripture to his own personal meaning for his own purposes. Satan knows the Word of God but he will not humble himself and submit to the authority of the Word of God. Jesus responds, demonstrating His understanding the Word in context and His submission to the Word. Jesus responds with Deuteronomy 6:16 about not putting God to the test. The final temptation is Satan offering Jesus temporary power and glory if He will just bow down and worship Satan. Jesus was not willing to trade eternal power and glory for temporary so He finishes the battle with quoting Deuteronomy 6:13 about not worshiping anyone or anything other than God. The enemy was defeated and he left, waiting for a more opportune time. This is God’s way of escape, we depend upon Him, pray for help, and receive His help, which is the Word of God, to remind us of Truth when temptation (the ultimate source is a lie) rears its ugly head in our lives. Apart from God, we cannot do it on our own, even if we do have the Truth from the Word of God.

So, my dear friend, I have a few questions that I would like to ask you. Are you aware of the fact that you will be tempted daily? Do you realize how weak you really are? Do you know the way that God has provided so that you can escape temptation each and every time? Are you a diligent study of the Word so that you can properly use It when temptation rears its ugly head? May the Lord help us stand strong in the face of temptation moment by moment, day by day.

2 comments on “Overcoming Temptation

  1. Pingback: Jesus on Divorce | Erik and Elena Brewer's Weblog

  2. Pingback: Jesus’ Call to Discipleship | Erik and Elena Brewer's Weblog

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