Previously, we have been able to define Temptation, and why God permits temptation. This week, I am going to be teaching on ‘Sources of Temptation and How to Avoid Temptation’. Following God’s instructions and leading helps you stay away from every trap of the devil. I see God helping us to overcome every temptation in Jesus name!
What are the Sources of Temptation?
We can begin by noting that God is not a source of temptation despite what many conclude from the phrase in the Lord’s Prayer, ‘lead us not into temptation’ (Matthew 6:13). This phrase is a petition asking God not to permit us to be tempted beyond our capacity and for grace to withstand it. When tempted, no one should say, ‘God is tempting me’. God cannot be tempted by evil, and He does not tempt anyone, but each person is tempted when he/she is dragged away by his/her own evil desire and enticed (James 1:13-14).
The following are the sources of temptation:
- Temptation that comes from the world: The word ‘world’ does not mean that which God created, which is good. When used in this context in Scriptures, it means the powers, opinions, priorities and values arrayed against God and what He has revealed. It is that which is hostile, rebellious and opposed to God. According to Scriptures, if you belong to the world, it would love you as its own. But Jesus said that you do not belong to the world because He has chosen you, and that is why the world hates you (John 15:19). Paul says, And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God (Romans 12:2).
- Temptation arising from the flesh: The ‘flesh’ does not refer to the physical body but our many sinful drives. The flesh is that part of us that is rebellious and does not like being told what to do. It resists the truth and bristles at being less than God, and at being dependent upon Him. In traditional teachings, the seven basic sinful drives are pride, greed, lust, anger, envy and slothfulness.
- Temptation from the devil: Some temptation comes directly from satan and demons, who suggest evil thoughts to us and point to wicked things, ways, and solutions. Satan is also able to manipulate the world and our flesh.
How to Avoid Temptation
- Praying always: In the model prayer that Jesus gave to His disciples, He taught them to ask God to lead them away from temptation. A daily relationship with God in prayer is a first step to avoiding temptation (Matthew 26:41).
- Study the Word of God: There are many good verses that will help you overcome certain temptations. Memorising Bible verses targeted to combat your areas of temptation will be a protection and defence. 2 Corinthians 10:4-5 talks about pulling down things that get a stronghold in our lives. You need to work on memorising a list of Bible verses that will help you avoid temptation. You cannot rely on finding a Bible at the moment of temptation. Therefore, the verses have to become your second nature; spend time in God’s Word daily and make it a habit.
- Understand Your Weaknesses: Not everyone is tempted in the same way. What is a struggle for one person may not be the least bit tempting for another person. For example, one person may be tempted with smoking, but for the next person, smoking has never had a foothold on him and therefore, it is not at all tempting. James 1:14 says that we are drawn away with our own lusts. This indicates that each person has his/her own weak areas to deal with. You need to understand your own weakness so that you will know how to combat and avoid them.
- Flee Temptation: God has promised to make a way of escape; so, if you look for the escape route, then you can flee the temptation. Many times, this way of escape is literally to walk (or run) away. Temptation often comes when you find yourself in certain situations or places (2 Timothy 2:22).
- Do not be discouraged: Do not be complacent about your sin, and do not allow it defeat you. Therefore, you must always encourage yourself to rise again.
- Confess and Repent: When you fall into temptation, go to God and confess; He already knows about your sin. You are not telling Him anything that is a surprise, but for your own sake, humble yourself before God and confess your sin. The truth is, He has already forgiven you if you are a Christian. Going to Him in confession makes it easier for you to have clear communication with Him.
Remember, we are righteous through God’s righteousness. Therefore, we must consciously draw close to God to enjoy His covering from any form of temptation. If you desire a closer relationship with God to be free from every trap of the wicked, I will like you to say this prayer of faith with me: Dear Lord Jesus, I come to You today. I believe You died and rose again for my sake. Forgive me my sins, take over my life, make me Your child and let Your peace reign over my life. Thank You for saving me. Now I know I am born again! Congratulations, you are now born again! I believe you will begin to experience the reality of the price Jesus paid for your sins on the cross. You will enjoy all round rest and peace, in Jesus name! Call or write, and share your testimonies with me through firstname.lastname@example.org OR call 07026385437 and 08141320204. For more insight, this book authored by me is available at the Dominion Bookstores in all Living Faith Churches and other leading Christian bookstores: Overcoming anxiety.