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Practical Steps On How To Overcome Temptation

Overcome Temptation

We all face different temptations in our lives. This article focuses on providing practical steps to conquer temptation by drawing inspiration from the life of Jesus to outline the necessary elements and actionable steps to overcome.

Before delving into the steps for overcoming temptation, it is crucial to understand what causes temptation.

1. What Causes Temptation?

The cause of our temptation stems from our desires. James 1:14 states, “Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away.” Therefore, temptations reveal our personal desires, and if we succumb to them, they drag us away from God.

When faced with temptation arising from our desires, it’s crucial to recognize that it masquerades as the fulfillment of theses desires. The presented temptation is merely a façade and not the genuine thing we desire. Once we give in to this illusion, we soon discover that it does not meet our true expectations and desires.

Knowing that temptation comes from our personal desires, this begs the question: What were Jesus’ personal desires which led to his temptation?

2. What Were Jesus’ Personal Desires Which Led To His Temptation?

After Jesus fasted for 40 days, he was taken to the wilderness to be tempted by Satan. In the first temptation, in Matthew 4:3, Stan said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become loaves of bread”.

This temptation reveal that Jesus had a desire for man to know that he is the Son of God. This is because the temptation entailed proving, by miraculously turning the stones to bread, that he is the Son of God.

In the second temptation, Satan said Matthew 4:5-5, “If you are the Son of God, jump off!” This temptation reveal that Jesus not only wanted man to know that he is the Son of God, but also to reveal the power of God to all man. Jumping off would certainly lead to his death, but he rather chose to die on the cross in front of so many witnesses so that his oncoming resurrection would make man believe in him being the son of God.

In the the last temptation, Satan took Jesus to the peak of a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. Then he said, if you kneel down and worship me, I will I will give it all you you (Matthew 4:8)

This temptation reveal that Jesus personal desire was to receive glory or to be glorified.

Now let’s investigate how Jesus’ personal desires were fulfilled.

3. How Were Jesus’ Personal Desires Fulfilled?

James 1:8 reads, God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. So when Jesus was tested and ministering the Good News, he held on to these desires by patience and endurance until the became fulfilled at the right and perfect time.

3.1 The Desire For Man To Know That He Is The Son of God

All of Jesus’ words and deeds had one core reason behind them – to reveal to man that he is the Son of God. This began when he turned the water into wine at the wedding in Cana. This miraculous deed led to his disciples believing in him.

The same is true when he encountered the woman at the well (John 4:25-26) and when he prophesied to Nathaniel (John 1:48-49).

Other examples include the events at his crucifixion. Roman soldiers who witnessed the earthquake and all that had happened, exclaimed, “This man was truly the Son of God” (Matthew 27:54).

During his ministerial time, Jesus asked his disciples in Matthew 16:16, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?”. The disciples replied that some say he is John the Baptist, Elijah, Jeremiah, and other prophets. Then he finally asked them, “But who do you say I am?” And peter unequivocally answered that Jesus is the Messiah – the Son of the living God.

This revelation, that Jesus if the Son of God, led Peter to be declared as the foundation of the Church. He later became the pioneer for establishing the Church when he preached first sermon that would lead many to believe in Jesus Christ as the Son of God.

The Good News continues to be preached today, many believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God thus continuing with the fulfillment of Jesus’ desire for all man to know that he is the Son of God.

3.2 The Desire To Reveal The Power Of God To All Man

Jesus fulfilled this desire in many ways, he conducted miracles in the presence of man so that they may believe in him as the Son of God.

The ultimate showcase of the power of God was when he rose up from the dead. No one since creation had ever rose up from the dead, he is the only one with an empty grave, his body never decomposed in death because he resurrected three days after being crucified.

It is though his crucifixion and the evidence of his resurrection that has made many to believe in Jesus Christ. The temptation to jump off wouldn’t have achieved his desire to showcase that he has defeated death through the power of God that rose him up from the dead.

3.3 The Desire To Be Glorified

Jesus had the desire to be glorified, because his glorification would bring glory to his Father in Heaven. He prayed in John 17:1, “Father, the hour has come, glorify your Son so he can give glory back to you.”

When Jesus died on the cross, he glorified his Father’s Name, for it was the power of God that rose him up from the dead. Such display of God’s power brought all glory, praise and honor to God from his Son and from man.

3.4 Final Thoughts On Jesus’ Desires

Jesus desire for man to know that he is the Son of God is directly connected to our salvation because, it is by declaring that Jesus is the Son of God and believing that God raised him from the dead do we be come saved (Romans 10:9).

When we declare this truth and believe in his resurrection, he pours the Holy Spirit onto us so that whatever we do, we do it for the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31).

4. How Does God Fulfill Our Desires

God fulfills desires that are aligned to His will, and may His will be done on earth as it is in heaven. He does so by answering our prayers through good and perfect gifts that require no additional enhancements or reductions.

James 4:3 cautions us that God does not answer our prayers when we have wrong motives that aim to please ourselves. Rather, our desires should be aimed at pleasing Him (Philippians 2:3).

5. What Happens When We Give-In To Temptation?

Giving-in to temptation means settling for something subpar because the gifts from God are flawless in every way.

Moreover, to withstand temptations, it is essential to possess patience and self-control, supported by the Word of God and fueled by the Holy Spirit.

When Abraham had Ishmael with Hagar, he settled for something less than perfect. His longing for a son led him to have a child with Hagar. This story highlights the importance of patience in waiting for God’s gifts and having faith in His unwavering promises.

When Adam and Eve ate the fruit, their desire was to have wisdom. But what they received was a feeling of shame and nakedness, and this dragged them away from God.

Yielding to temptation drags us away from God, but God who is rich in mercy, compassion and grace has saved us through the blood of Jesus Christ so that we may be united with him, both now and forever.

6. Practical Steps To Overcome Temptation

Studying the events before Jesus was tempted can provide us with clues on how to circumvent temptations that comes from our desires.

6.1 Know The Word Of God

The bible recounts that when Jesus was 12 years old, he was found in the temple asking questions and many where amazed at what he knew (Luke 2:46-47). This indicates that Jesus was rooted and grounded in the scriptures from a young age. When he was tempted he already knew the word of God and used it to counter Satan’s attempts to deceive him.

Use the word to overcome temptation

Understand that the word of God is supreme, even God had exalted his word above his name. Therefore, whatever God’s word says becomes truth, and will remain truth until eternity. Jesus knew this, and used the word of God as an offensive and supreme weapon against Satan’s advances.

6.2 Pray And Fast

Just before Jesus was tempted, the Holy Spirit descended upon him like a dove and stayed on him. One of the Holy Spirit’s function is to guide us in all truth- God’s word.

Even though Satan quoted a truthful scripture in the second temptation, Jesus was able to still use a scriptural defense. And this only comes through enlightenment by the Holy Spirit through prayer and fasting.

The importance of prayer and fasting is also exemplified in the life of Paul. He knew all the scriptures, but when he encountered Jesus – he prayed and fasted, and received revelations and illumination on what the word of God means. Leading him to become an apostle, spreading the Good News to the Gentiles.

Therefore the main elements to overcome temptation is through word of God and prayer, under the unction of the Holy Spirit.

7. Summary On How To Overcome Temptation

  1. Temptations reveal our personal desires.
  2. Once you have identified the desire, delve into the word of God under the unction of the Holy Spirit to receive a scriptural references against the temptation.
  3. Next, declare these scriptures, the same way Jesus declared, “it is written…” when tempted.
  4. As we declare God’s word, they begin to crystalize into our consciousness and the Holy Spirit gives us the power and strength to endure the temptation that will lead to settling for what is subpar. He also gives us the patience to wait upon God, for His timing is always perfect.
  5. For example, if one is tempted to steal money, the appropriate scriptures to declare would be:
    • The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want (Psalms 23:1)
    • God has given me everything I need for living a godly life (2 Peter 1:3)
    • All things are mine (1 Corinthians 3:21-22)

8. Final Remarks

Temptation has to do with the will to gratify our desires before the appointed time. In today’s world, temptations are more pervasive as we live in a digital age that provides us with instant gratification for most things.

Temptations will always come, regardless of the state of our spiritual relationship with God because we will always have desires.

Even if we may have the desire to bring glory to God, as all his children should, either through ministry, helping others, and more, with certitude, temptations will arise.

But we thank God for his living word and the power of the Holy Spirit whose fruits include patience and self control to endure temptations.

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