Romans 13:14 “But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.”
Temptation is at the beginning of all addictions. Before someone sins they are tempted to sin. If we could find a way to avoid all temptation we would be able to live a life free from sin and addictions. Although eliminating all temptations is not possible, we need to avoid as many of them as possible. In this foundation we will look at what temptation is, how to avoid it, and how to resist it.
What is Temptation?
Temptation is the enticement of a person to commit sin. It is not a sin to be tempted; sin occurs when we give in to the temptation.
The Sources of Temptation
- The devil
Satan is the ultimate source of all desire and action contrary to God’s purposes. He is the one that tempts us to do evil. In fact the Bible refers to him as the “Tempter.”
(Mat 4:3) And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.
(1 Thessalonians 3:5) For this cause, when I could no longer forbear, I sent to know your faith, lest by some means the tempter have tempted you, and our labour be in vain.
- The World
When Adam and Eve disobeyed God and ate of the forbidden fruit mankind became sinners. The world became a cursed world ruled by the devil. The Bible refers to the devil as the “god” of this world.
(2 Cor 4:4) In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.
(Eph 2:2) Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:
Although the devil cannot do anything that God does not allow, he does have a lot of control over this world. He uses this world to perform his dirty work on humans. He uses all that is in the world to tempt people.
(1 John 2:16) For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
- The Lust of the Flesh – The desire to please the flesh in a forbidden way.Drunkenness, laziness, and immorality are all examples of the “lust of the flesh.”
- The Lust of the Eyes – When someone sees something with their eyes that God has not given to them yet they have the desire to take it – that is the “lust of the eyes.”This is the sin of covetousness.Lusting after women/men, gambling, greed, and materialism are examples of the “lust of the eyes.”
- The Pride of Life – When someone lives life their own way, without God.They do not want to be subjecting or limited in anyway.They want to do what they want.
These three vices are the tools that the devil uses to tempt people in this world. He used them on Eve in Genesis 3:6 “And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.”
- “good for food” – Lust of the Flesh.
- “pleasant to the eyes” – Lust of the Eyes.
- “desired to make one wise” – Pride of Life.
- The Flesh
The flesh is our physical nature that is still subjected to sin. After someone receives Christ into their life they are still going to battle sin. We need to keep our flesh under control rather than let it control us. The Apostle Paul writes about the battle within all believers:
Romans 7:23-25 “But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.”
The Process from Temptation to Sin to Death:
The Bible tells us how someone goes from temptation to sin in James 1:14-16:
“But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.”
- Drawn away – to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
- Temptation – something that appeals to the flesh and promises immediate gratification.
- Lust – A strong desire to have what is forbidden.
- Enticed – The encouragement and the opportunity to sin.
- Sin – Violation of God’s law which brings about death.
- Death – The end result of all sin; something dies.
How to Avoid Temptation:
- Identify — In order to avoid temptation we need to identify our weaknesses. Some people struggle with drugs, others struggle with alcohol. There are those who struggle with immorality, pornography, or gambling. The first step in avoiding temptation is to figure out what are personal weaknesses and tendencies are. The devil knows what they are and he will attack us in these areas. If we are able to identify our weakness it will help us to eliminate some of the temptations that the devil is going to throw our way.
- Avoid — The next thing we need to do is to purpose in our heart that we are going to avoid all the areas of temptation — whether it is a place, a person, or an object. We may have to avoid certain people, parties and places that we used to hang out.
- Eliminate – We must get rid of all things that can be a source of temptation. It may be a T.V., the internet, cell phone numbers, or even a personal relationship.
How to Resist Temptation:
The more temptation we can avoid the less we will sin, but there is no way we can avoid all temptation. So once we are actually tempted we need to know how to resist it in order that we do not sin. We need to understand that although God allows the devil to tempt us, God promises to make a way for us to escape. He will not allow the devil to tempt us above what we are able to handle.
(1 Cor 10:13) There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.
The devil is going to continuously try to tempt us to sin, but God has given us the weapons that we need to be able to resist his temptations.
(Eph 6:11-13) Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
Once someone is tempted they need to use the weapons that God has given us to fight back. In Ephesians 6:13-18 God describes the armor that will protect us from the devil’s temptations.
(Ephesians 6:14-18) Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.
- Loins Girt About with Truth
In the Bible days men wore robes and other loose fitting clothes. In order to fight they had to gird their loins. In other words they had to secure their clothing with a belt so they would not be hindered by lose fitting attire. Girding the loins was a mark of preparedness. The Bible tells us to gird our loins with truth. Satan is a liar and God’s Word is the truth. It is very important for us not only to read and study the Bible but we must work hard on understanding the truth of the Bible. The truth of God’s Word will expose the lies of the devil and will prepare us to fight back and resist the devil’s temptations.
- The Breastplate of Righteousness
The breastplate covered the vital parts of the body. To put on the breastplate of righteousness is to live in daily moment-by-moment obedience to God’s Word. It means to live a holy life. Living right will help us to resist temptation.
- Feet Shod with the Preparations of the Gospel of Peace
A soldier’s feet are vitally important. If a soldier’s feet get cut or injured in any way it could render him vulnerable in the battle. If a soldier loses his footing it could cost him his life. As we do battle against the devil we must put on the kind of shoes that is going to give us the protection and traction that we need. “Preparations” means readiness. We must always be ready for the devil’s temptations. The “gospel of peace” is the good news that we are at peace with God. We are no longer in bondage to the devil, we now free to live according to God’s Word. When satan comes to attack us our feet must be rooted firmly on the solid ground of the gospel of peace and we will be able to stand!
- The Shield of Faith
Just like a shield would protect a soldier from the spears and arrows of the enemy, faith protects a Christian from the temptations of the devil. The Bible says in 1 John 5:4 “Faith is the victory that overcomes the world.” Faith is trusting that God’s way is the right way! It is believing what God says in His Word, even if we do not understand. Faith will diffuse satan’s temptations.
- The Helmet of Salvation
The helmet protects the most important part of the body, the head. Satan will attack our minds in two major areas: discouragement and doubt. The helmet of salvation encourages us and gives us assurance that we are God’s child and we are going to be with Him for all eternity because we are “saved.” The battle we are fighting is only temporary – we have complete assurance that we will be saved in the end!
- The Sword of the Spirit
A Roman soldier would carry a sword which varied in length from six to eighteen inches. It was the main weapon that was used in hand-to-hand combat. The Sword of the Spirit is referring to the Word of God.
(Heb 4:12) For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
Obviously a sword is both an offensive and defensive weapon, but if it is used correctly it can deflect the devils temptations. In Matthew chapter 4:1-11 we see that the devil tempted Jesus. The devil uses his three tools on Jesus – the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life. Jesus teaches us how to avoid temptations using God’s Word. In every case Jesus quotes a Bible verse to the devil.
- Temptation 1:
Matthew 4:3, 4 “And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.”
- Temptation 2:
Matthew 4:5-7 “Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.”
- Temptation 3:
Matthew 4:8-11 “Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and showeth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him.”
Jesus is the example to us of how to resist temptation. He shows us that God’s Word gives us the power to resist the devil.
(Psa 119:11) Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.
The last part of the armor is prayer. Prayer is not symbolized like the other parts of the armor, but it is extremely important. Prayer will give us the strength to fight against the enemy. Prayer allows us to walk close to God because it is the way we communicate with Him. We need Him to strengthen us, encourage us, fight for us and protect us. We need Him to help us fight against the enemy. Prayer will accomplish this.
(Matt 26:41) Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.
Avoiding temptation may be difficult, and at times it will be impossible, but if we make a conscious effort it will dramatically help us to stay free from addictions.
- What is the definition of temptation?_________________________________________________________________________________________.
- What are the three sources of temptations?
- What does three things does the devil use to do his dirty work on humans?
- The ________________________.
- The ________________________.
- P____________ of L___________.
- Who is the god of this world? _______________________
- What did Jesus do when Satan tempted Him? ________________________________________________.
- What three things can we do to avoid temptation?
- What did Jesus use to resist the devil’s temptation?______________________________________________________
- In order for us to resist the devil’s temptations we need to wear the “Armor of God.”Name three parts of the armor:
- What are some things you can identify in your life that are areas of weakness?______________________________________________________________________________________
How can you avoid, or eliminate them?
Memory Verse: Romans 13:14 “But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.”