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Dealing with Temptation

dealing with temptation

We were delighted to welcome Trevor Matthews back to Listooder, and his topic was one of significance for all Believers, whether young or old. Trevor began by drawing us to the Word of God, advising the young people that it is the only source from which they can gain the tools required to resist temptation. He read from 1 John 2, James 1 and 1 Corinthians 10.

Trevor began by reminding the young people that it is the experience of every Christian to be tempted. It is, in fact, healthy to be tempted as it assures us that we belong to Christ, and therefore we are a target for Satan. We were also reminded that the temptation is not, in itself, a sin, but rather the giving into the temptation is where we often fall as Christians.

This is where prayer should play a vital role in our Christian lives. Daily prayer, requesting the help and strength of God to resist the evil thoughts that influence us, is a weapon of God to the pulling down of Satan's strongholds. And While there is no escape from the fact that we will be tempted, we must remember that our Heavenly Father will always provide a way out. There will always be an option to escape without giving in.

The walk of a young Believer in this world is a treacherous one, fraught with many dangers and temptations. But the comfort of every Christian is the knowledge that if we endure to the end (which we inevitably will by the grace of God), we will receive a crown in heaven: a crown that we will have the privilege of casting at the feet of Christ when we see Him in all His glory.

The Source of Temptation

God is never the author of our temptations. We see in Scripture that Satan is often the source, tempting, in person, Peter, Job and even the Lord Jesus Christ.

Another source is 'the flesh'. In 1 John 2:16, the apostle references the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life. The lust of the flesh deals with those things that are sensual. Pornographic and sexual material that sadly is so freely available today, and often placed in front of young people on a daily basis. The lust of the eyes speaks of the 'want' culture. The desire to have what we see, or what others have, whether it be a home, a car or even a new phone. And the pride of life, an inner yearning to uplift our own selves, to achieve the heights of a particular career or a certain social status. Seeking these things above the glory of God is a demonstration of pride in our lives.

The source of temptation can also come from our friends. The Psalmist exhorts us to 'walk not in the counsel of the ungodly'. The pressure of our associations, our relationships, can often present a temptation that is very strong.

Types of Temptation

Many young Christian face doubts about their faith, doubts about God and doubts about the Bible. Temptation can often come in the form of doubt. Another form is discouragement. Satan can often bring us down with our thoughts: thoughts of worthlessnes, thoughts of failure and thoughts of darkness. The walk of Christian is a walk of joy, a walk of life and a walk of light. Thoughts contrary to this are not from God, and we must turn away from dwelling on these thoughts.

Pleasure is also a very strong temptation for young Believers. And while the pleasures of sin are short-lived, we all know that sin can bring pleasure. So often Satan will use our desire for pleasure to turn our back on the laws of God.

Strength in Temptation

There are many types, there are various sources... there is much to be fearful of. However, Scripture has given us principles to guide us in these times of temptation. Firstly, we must, as we read in James 1, thank God that we are even tempted at all. Although this seems counter-intuitive, the existing of temptation is wonderful evidence of the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives. It is a sign of a walk with God.

Secondly, the Scriptures themselves are a weapon. As we read the Word of God, and as we commit it to memory, we can call it to mind when Satan fires the darts of temptation into our minds. It is a weapon, a quick and powerful two-edged sword that we can use to defeat the influence of the evil one.

Overcoming Temptation

Temptation is real. The influence of Satan, the influence of the flesh and the influence of peers is strong. But it can be overcome. Here are the principles of Scripture:

Rely on God's faithfulness. God will never break His promise, He is absolutely faithful and will never let us down.

Resist the devil. Although it is vital that we are aware of the power and influence of Satan, we should not allow it to overwhelm us. The Word of God commands us to resist the influences of the evil one.

Run. In the book Genesis, Joseph found himself in a position where, as a young man, he would have been strongly tempted to sin with the wife of his master. Joseph was given the strength to run. There are times when we must learn to do the same.

Repent. God knows that we will fail, often repeatedly with the same sins. But He loves us and has, by the blood of Jesus Christ, redeemed us. We have been set free from the guilt and punishment of sin. All He asks is that when we fall, when we fail to adhere to the principles of Scripture on the matter of temptation, we should come to Him in prayer, in humility, and confess our sin to Him. Yes, He has already forgiven us, even before we commit the sin, but the heart of a true child of God will not rest until it has communed with God, until we have brought the matter to His throne and asked for His strength to resist the devil.

Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. James 4:7