“Little children (believers, dear ones), you are of God and you belong to Him and have [already] overcome them [the agents of the antichrist]; because He who is in you is greater than he (Satan) who is in the world [of sinful mankind].”
1 John 4:4 (AMP) states that we can overcome temptation because “the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” Satan is the master deceiver, but God tells us in His word that we can win the victory over temptation – every time! The Bible lays out a strategy to help us overcome temptation.
Strategy for Victory over Temptation
Understand the location of the battle- the battle is won or lost in the mind.
Romans 12:1-2. How do we offer our bodies as living sacrifices? As believers, we are transformed by the renewing of our mind. That means, instead of seeing the limitation which may be around you, you see the limitless power and strength of God through His Word, and the power of Holy Spirit.
Ephesians 4:17-24. According to verses 17-19, look at how the Bible describes worldly people, and the problem they have. Now look at how a believer in Christ is different from the world (vs.20-24).
2 Corinthians 10:3-6. Our next step is to wage war against the enemy. We do this by taking every thought captive for Christ. This is done by speaking God’s word over life’s situations, instead of agreeing with the situation, or saying nothing. You will never think yourself to victory. We overcome by our Word of Faith.
Understand the process of temptation
James 1:13-15. James lays out the process Satan uses to tempt us.
Desire– Although we are created in the image of God, our physical nature is highly susceptible to sin. Our “flesh,” given the opportunity will seek its own fulfillment, which leads us to desire things that are contrary to God and His best for us. James calls this propensity to sin “our own evil desires.” Desire is a word rooted in our emotions. Desire originates in the flesh and uses our emotions against us. Emotions are not bad, but they are particularly vulnerable to temptation. We are required by God to keep them in check. Here is the difference between a person operating in the flesh vs. someone operating in the spirit:
Person operating in the flesh: Emotion -> thought -> action
Person operating in the spirit: Thought -> action -> emotion
Deception– Satan’s tool for temptation is deception, and he is a master at the allure of sin. James calls it “enticed.” Enticed is a word that is best explained by the word picture of a fisherman with bait on a hook. He waves the bait in front of the fish until he entices the fish to go after the bait. That is what Satan does to us. He knows our particular evil desires, and he goes fishing to hook us into sin.
Disobedience– When we are enticed and grab the bait, we get hooked into sin. This is called disobedience. Satan entices us, but we must take responsibility in the sin process. We choose to disobey. Temptation is not the sin, acting on it is the sin.
Death– When sin is alive in us, it brings death. One sin can easily become a habit. With each choice to sin, we are on a slow fade to habitual sin. Habitual sin kills relationships, intimacy with God, and peace with ourselves. Sin brings death!
Think about how Satan tries to bait you. Once he sees that a tactic works, he will use it again and again.
Understand that you have options- 1 Corinthians 10:13.
You are not alone in your temptation. No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. Satan tries to isolate us so that he can devour us. It is amazing how Satan convinces us that no one else could ever understand our situation. Isolation invites temptation. A biblical strong community is necessary for a strong walk with God.
You can withstand the temptation. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. God promises to put a hedge of protection around us so the enemy can never make us sin. We can stand up under any temptation (1 John 4:4). Take a few moments and think of the tools God has given us to withstand temptation. When we give into temptation, who is the culprit?
You will always have a way to escape. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it. Envision the consequences of the sin if you give in to temptation. Here is the key: the longer we play with the temptation, the less our options to get out. When it moves to the flesh, we lose every time. We must win the battle in our minds. We need to win it early before fantasy sets in. Run from temptation early in the process! Talk through the process of winning the battle in your mind. Become skilled in using the Word, prayer, and community to win the battle over temptation.
Heavenly Father, I believe that You make a way for me to escape temptation every time. I do not negotiate with sin! I believe godly wisdom would have me get out of temptation as quickly as I can; when temptation comes calling out to my mind. I flee, take flight, run away from, and escape as quickly as I can when I know the devil is attempting to lure me into his trap. I believe Holy Spirit will always guide me to make the correct choice, as He guides me how to escape each temptation!
In Jesus’ Name, Amen
EMIC Groups Pastor