Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The Spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak (Mark 14:38).
Hello Beautiful People.
Wow, just like that and we are in the eighth month of the year, nearly the ninth. I hope you have all been keeping well and safe. This month I really want to speak about fighting temptations. Temptation is something that we all face, no matter who you are, male or female, black or white; we all face temptation. And from what I have seen on social media many people have said that they have dealt with temptation even more during this period (i.e. over the last 5 months). A few examples of these may be linked to lust, the desire to be lazy or procrastinate, overeating, gossiping, wrong thoughts, or the urge to do things in secret where "no one can see".
But let us first define what temptation is. Temptation is the desire to do something, especially something wrong or unwise. When you know you shouldn't be doing something but you want to do it anyway. When the Spirit is saying no but your flesh is shouting YES!
For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do (Galatians 5:17).
The key thing to first note is that temptation is not a sin. Howeverrrrr, giving into the temptation is. But I also want to remind you that you are not the only one facing temptation. Sometimes, because we do not personally know the temptations or sin other people are facing or have faced in the past we feel like we are the only ones going through it and then decide to suffer in silence. But you will be surprised, through one conversation with a brother or sister, you will realise that you are not alone in this battle.
Let no one say when he is tempted. "I am being tempted by God," for God cannot be tempted with evil, and He Himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.
There are certain times when we may be more susceptible to temptation, usually because of our desires or our weaknesses. It is very important for us to be aware of the potential triggers, some which are mentioned below.
When you are Hungry
When you are Angry
When you are Lonely
When you are Tired
You may have heard of this acronym already: HALT
These are just some triggers but there are many others. You know what triggers you when it comes to that temptation you have been fighting or just temptation in general. Be aware of these triggers and don't ignore them!
Let us talk about Joseph in the bible for a second. Very often when I hear about Joseph it is in relation to him going from the "pit to the palace" or him being a dreamer, but very rarely do I hear about his faithfulness when faced with temptation. Joseph was literally face-to-face with temptation, a woman in his face saying "sleep with me". Talk about temptation! But I love what Joseph did. Instead of giving in, he said NO! Not only because he could have ended up sleeping with someone else's wife (his master's wife), but also the fact that this would mean he would "sin against God". But the temptation did not even end there. Day after day this woman continued to try and tempt him but still he did not give in. And sometimes this is how it may feel when we are faced with temptation; day after day, night after night. You overcame it the first time, but yet again and again you are faced with this same temptation.
The last time this happened to Joseph he literally had to RUN. It may sound extreme, but sometimes we have to go to that length to flee from sin. Looking at this from a millennial point of view, this may mean unfollowing certain pages on social media, saying no, setting boundaries, refusing to watch certain TV shows or listening to certain songs, staying away from certain environments, starving ungodly desires by not feeding them or in some circumstances it may just mean 'get up and RUN'!
I'm sure you guys know what I am talking about.
I know this lockdown period has been a testing time for many people when it comes to temptation. Some may have been tempted with pornography, some with masturbation, some with lust, perhaps even with laziness. But the key thing is to not feel defeated, especially at the temptation stage. And also, to not beat yourself up. I know its easy to say right. But, it is time for us to stop flirting with temptation, time for us to stop opening those doors of temptation and time for us to know and avoid the triggers.
But you cannot fight temptation alone...
I have mentioned a few practical tips above when it comes to temptation but I have had to learn the hard way that without God it will be difficult to overcome any temptation or sin. In fact, without God many of us are very comfortable in our sin. We must fight temptation with Prayer and with the Word of God! We are not strong enough to resist temptation ourselves and that is why prayer and the word of God is key in this fight. In Matthew 4 we see how Jesus dealt with temptation through quoting the Word of God. Ultimately this is our sword. Now, I'm not going to lie and you can probably agree, whenever you are feeling tempted usually the first thing you think of is not prayer or the Word of God. Sometimes, you may have to literally RUN just like Joseph did. However, my main point is that prayer and knowing the word of God is essential and comes in way before we are face-to-face with temptation.
For we do not have a High Priest who is unable to sympathise with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need (Hebrews 4:15-16). Jesus wants to help you through your temptation, He understands your struggles and weaknesses. Remember, God's strength is made perfect in your weakness. He wants to help you when you are faced with temptations and when you are fighting against sin.
Some people may be reading this and have been flirting with temptation for a while, you may have even lit the fire and feel like there is no way of coming back or no way to overcome those temptations or sins you are facing. Some may have given up, some may have become comfortable and for some maybe you're just tired of trying it your own way. Stop trying to do it by yourself and don't wait until you get to the point where you are face-to-face with temptation because that's when it becomes even more dangerous with sin standing at the door. And for some, you just don't see a way out. I will encourage you to read Revelation 3:20. Let Jesus in, it is not too late, He is knocking on your door.
So, this blog post is just a little bit of encouragement, a reminder and a little bit of shared knowledge. For anyone that may currently be dealing with temptations, whether face-to-face or in their mind Jesus can help you to overcome that temptation. And I believe He will also send people you can trust who will be accountable to you on this journey to your victory. It does not mean that you will not be tempted again, but you can have power to not fall into that temptation. Remember, temptation is not a sin however giving into it is. Be like Joseph who was faithful despite the circumstances, despite the temptations he probably faced. Come boldly before the throne of Grace and obtain God's mercy.
And if you do fall into temptation and sin, don't stay down, don't condemn yourself. Repent and get back up. Remember, you need Christ to help you to overcome any temptation you face. Don't give up, keep fighting this fight.
Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall. No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful and He will not let you beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.
1 Corinthians 10:12-13
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Grace and Peace x