Thursday, August 16, 2018

How to resist the Devil and overcome temptation

Warefare with the Devil is circumstances that every Christian faces. Not just some, but all.

Jesus Himself was tempted by satan in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1-11. He did it so we could receive mercy from heaven, as Scripture declares:

For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:15-16 )

Many Christians continue to struggle with the same bondages that have held them captive for five, 10, 20 years—or longer. There is an answer!

We must know that God does not tempt anyone but He allows trial to come our ways. It is against His very nature and purpose to tempt or cause us to sin.

The Word says:

“Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man” (James 1:13 ).

However, He does test us, just as with Abraham:

And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt [Heb. test] Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am. And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of. (Genesis 22:1-2 )

Why does God allow testing and trial to come our way? He does so in order that He might develop our spiritual strength, for we are told:

“Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him” (James 1:12 ).

It’s also important, in the context of temptations, that the enemy uses three basic emotions to ensnare those who fall for his wiles. We are told:

“For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.” (1 John 2:16 ).

Therefore, we must be aware of these:

Lust of the flesh, or physical desires
Lust of the eyes, or mental desires
The pride of life, or emotional desires

How can we overcome temptation and live a victorious Christian life? Here are seven important keys:

#1 Pray!
A man who can pray, will stand in times of adversity. A prayerless man will lack strength.

Thus people are defeated when temptations come their way, because they fail to call upon God.

Jesus told His disciples:

“Why sleep ye? rise and pray, lest ye enter into temptation” (Luke 22:46 ).

In the Old Testament, Samson thought of himself as the strongest man in Israel, but instead of praying he yielded to Delilah’s temptation:

“And she made him sleep upon her knees; and she called for a man, and she caused him to shave off the seven locks of his head; and she began to afflict him, and his strength went from him” (Judges 16:19 ).

Prayerlessness cost Samson his anointing!

#2 Use God’s mighty weapons of warfare.

The Lord has provided you with the weapons of war and the strength to succeed. The apostle Paul wrote:

“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil” (Ephesians 6:10-11 ).

We are given the weapons of warfare (Ephesians 6:14-18 ):

“Stand therefore, having your loins gird about with truth”—the Word of God must fill your mind (see also 1 Peter 1:13 ).
“The breastplate of righteousness”—the Word must fill your heart.
“Feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace”—the Word must affect your walk.
“The shield of faith”—the Word must quicken your faith and cause you to act.
“The helmet of salvation”—know your position in Christ and take your authority.
“The sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God”—speak the Word of God.
“Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit”—live a life of prayer.

#3 Live a life of continual surrender to God.

We are given clear instructions:

Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. (Romans 6:12-13 )

The result of a life of continual surrender to God are also clear, for “Sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace” (Romans 6:14 ).

#4 Stand on the Word.

The Lord Jesus fasted 40 days when He was tempted in the wilderness. The enemy, knowing the Lord was hungry, said:

“If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread” (Matthew 4:3 ).

Jesus answered:

“It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4 ).

Our Lord stood firm on the Word, not straying.

The psalmist wrote:

“Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee” (Psalm 119:11 ).

The Word of God will give you the power to stand against temptation!

#5 Receive a continual in-filling of the Holy Spirit.

God has provided exactly what we need as believers:

And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Ephesians 5:18-20 )

Notice that the in-filling of the Holy Spirit will affect your speech (Ephesians 5:19 ), your heart (Ephesians 5:19), your relationship to God (Ephesians 5:20 ), your relationship with others (Ephesians 5:21 ), and your family (Ephesians 5:22 )!

#6 Walk in the Spirit.

By the anointing that you have received through the in-filling, you will be able to “Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh” (Galatians 5:16 ).

Walking in the Spirit means being led by Him, obeying Him, and following His leading every day!

#7 Live in the Spirit.

The apostle Paul wrote these specific directions:
Jesus reaching out

“If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit” (Galatians 5:25 ).

As you walk in the Spirit, God will enable you to live in the Spirit, have the power to escape temptation, and not fall into sin again.

Believers have this promise directly from the Throne Room:

There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able, but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. (1 Corinthians 10:13 )

You can be victorious! You can overcome temptation! You can achieve freedom from bondage and captivity!

And I am praying that the Lord will give you total victory in your Christian walk.

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