Overcoming Temptation

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From the beginning of time, it has been the tendency of mankind to blame their sins on something or someone other than themselves. When God approached Adam about his sin, Adam blamed it on Eve. When Eve was approached she said, "The serpent had deceived her." Some will even blame their sins on God by saying, "God made me this way so it's His fault."

In James Chapter 1 verses 13-15 we read these words: "And remember, when you are being tempted, do not say, 'God is tempting me'." God is never tempted to do wrong, and he never tempts anyone else. Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away. These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death. (NLT) It is clear that we are responsible for the sins we commit. We sin when we give into the temptation to gratify our desires in a manner that is contrary to the will of God.

It is important to understand that temptation is not sin. A strong and powerful desire to commit sin is temptation and not sin. The desire does not become sin until we consent in either word, thought or deed. As long as we are resisting the desire, we have not crossed the line from temptation to sin.

If a temptation is to have any effect on us, there has to be something within us to which it appeals. It is for this reason that even sanctified, mature saints are tempted. They are tempted through their God given human appetites, needs and desires. When these appetites are fulfilled, according to the will of God, they are wholesome and pure. It was through His humanity that Jesus was tempted.

Frequently, after a child of God has successfully overcome a temptation, they will find themselves feeling guilty. Satan will come around and trouble them by saying, "If you were truly sanctified you wouldn't have these desires." Remember, Satan is a liar and he loves to abuse the saints. The strong powerful urge to do wrong is not sin until we consent.

If you allow your eyes or your mind to dwell on prohibited desires, you will soon cross the line and commit sin. On the other hand if you take control of your thoughts, discipline what you watch and refuse to dwell on the forbidden, you will be victorious.

We cannot control our environment. So on any given day we might see or hear things that will trigger strong emotions and feelings within us. These temptations can be resisted and overcome through the power of the Holy Spirit and the blood of Christ. Christ used the scriptures to resist the devil. The scriptures are one of our most powerful tools in resisting temptation.

If for example, a warm slice of apple pie is set before us with a generous scoop of ice cream on the top of it, most of our mouths would begin to water and our taste buds would go crazy. We will want to eat it. There is nothing wrong with that physical reaction. However, if your doctor has warned you to never eat pie, you are now experiencing a very dangerous temptation. The desire to partake is normal. It becomes wrong when you give in and eat it. The same principle is in effect when it comes to the temptation to commit sexual sins or to lie, cheat or steal.

From time to time someone will say, "I just fell into temptation and sinned." They make it sound like they were a helpless victim that was swept away into sin against their will. We do not fall into temptation and sin. If we sin, it's because we ignored the checks of the Spirit and chose to commit sin. In every temptation, we come to a point where we cast the deciding ballot to either sin or not to sin.

The comedian, Flip Wilson, used to say, "The devil made me do it." No, you are a person of free will and the devil can't make you do anything. We are responsible for our actions. Sin is a willful transgression of the known will of God.

I have never heard anyone say, "I don't know what ever came over me and I started doing all of those wonderful things. I just couldn't help doing good." No, we like to take credit for the good things we choose to do. We must also take the responsibility for the sins we choose to commit.

The battlefield of temptation is the mind. So you can't run from temptation by changing your geographical location. There may be times when it is prudent to change your location in order to get away from an evil situation. But Satan will follow you wherever you go. We must learn to resist the devil and the Word says, "He will flee from us." Through the power of the Word, your testimony and prayer you can overcome temptation and live a victorious life.

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