OVERCOMING: Understanding temptation and overcoming it

Definition:

  1. to get the better of in a struggle or conflict; conquer; defeat:
  2. to prevail over (opposition, a debility, temptations, etc.); surmount:
  3. to overpower or overwhelm in body or mind, as does liquor, a drug, exertion, or emotion

(www.dictionary.com)

An overcomer is one who conquers over an enemy or prevails over circumstances or overpowers a condition. As believers, we are referred to as Overcomers because we stand in the victory of Christ and overcome the works of the enemy in our lives and on this earth.

Believe it or not, you are in a constant battle on this earth. The devil and his cohorts do not want us to fulfil God’s purposes on this earth and are continuously fighting us for supremacy in our circumstances.  Unfortunately, a lot of us have allowed him to win this battle for too long. Why? Ignorance!

“To keep Satan from getting the advantage over us; for we are not ignorant of his wiles and intentions.” 2 Corinthians 2:11 AMPC

 “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge” Hosea 4:6 NKJV

We do not know that Christ already won the victory and we are to exercise this victory in our lives. The scripture tells us we are overcomers already by believing in Jesus:

“For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?” I John 5:4-5 NKJV

However, despite this victory, we still have to enforce it in our lives daily as the devil keeps warring against us.

“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,”

II Corinthians 10:3-5

The main battle for our lives is fought in our thoughts. The devil knows our lives go in the direction of our thoughts, he therefore focuses on that and introduces thoughts contrary to the purpose of God. Our acceptance of those thoughts is what leads us into temptation and we go against the purpose of God. We allow our passions and desires to be aroused by those thoughts and it leads us into sin.

“But each one is tempted when he is dragged away, enticed and baited [to commit sin] by his own [worldly] desire (lust, passion). Then when the illicit desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin has run its course, it gives birth to death.” JAMES 1:14-15 AMP

Seven steps in temptation

  1. Tempted – Evil thoughts come from the enemy
  2. Dragged away – Your imagination takes over and you begin to think the thoughts of the enemy.
  3. Desires/Lust – Viewing it and delighting in it.
  4. Enticed and baited – The sin no longer looks so bad to us. Our will is weakening and our strength is decreasing.
  5. Illicit desire is conceived – You yield to it
  6. Sin – You have now committed the sinful act.
  7. Death – The result of sin in the long term. (Romans 6:23)

Check where you are on this scale by the help of the Holy Spirit and halt the work of the enemy in your life.

The temptation of Jesus (Matthew 4:1-11) is my best example for overcoming the wiles of the devil. Let’s look at the highlights of this and how Jesus overcame:

  • Jesus was led by the Spirit (v1). He did not go by Himself into the wilderness. This was the main thing in the entire scripture! He was led by the Spirit. We as believers are meant to be constantly and continuously led by the Spirit. That is the first sign of an overcomer.

“For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God” Romans 8:14 NKJV

  • The devil tested Him based on His current perceived weakness first, hunger! The weaknesses in our lives are the first things the enemy would go after and all sorts of temptations would come from this area. That first temptation wanted to play on His current state but Jesus had two things working for Him; He knew the Word of God and He operated by the Spirit. The hunger was a weakness of the flesh, a necessary one as He had fasted for 40days and 40nights. It was a spiritual exercise that had prepared Him for the temptations but it had left Him physically hungry and the devil saw this as room to act.

“I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.”

Galatians 5:16 NKJV

  • The second temptation showed the devil trying to get Him to show off that He is the Son of God. As believers, we are not supposed to tempt or dare God by our lifestyles. Deliberately getting involved in sin because we understand grace or by holding on to negative emotions gives the devil the foothold to stand in our lives.

“And do not give the devil an opportunity [to lead you into sin by holding a grudge, or nurturing anger, or harboring resentment, or cultivating bitterness].” Ephesians 4:27 AMP

 We are deceived into distorting the real meaning of scripture and we begin to follow a doctrine that is contrary to what God actually said. The Holy Spirit is the one that reveals the Word of God to us and walking with Him and trusting Him to explain scripture is the best way. The devil twisted the meaning of scripture here to get Jesus to fall into the temptation but Jesus being full of the Holy Spirit knew what he was up to.

  • Satan then tried finally to get Jesus to surrender to Him as he was the ruler of this world (John 12:31). The devil was trying to get Jesus to be popular among men as opposed to doing the will of the Father, the real reason He came. How many of us are trying to gain popularity with our “work” for God as opposed to actually doing the will of the Father only? Your motives are important and you can be tempted by them. If your desire is just to be wealthy from the things of God, the devil would tempt you right in the midst of that and you are more likely to fall as you are carrying greed in you.

Jesus knew why He came and was not going to be distracted from that in any way. Focus solely on the will of the Father and every other thing will come from Him. Check your motives always!

“And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men,”  Colossians 3:23 NKJV

The whole temptation had a central theme, the Word of God gave the victory. Each temptation was countered with “It is written”. The lessons I picked from this are as follows:

  1. The Word of God cannot contradict itself. In the second temptation, we see the devil twisting scripture to tempt Jesus. Never take the Word without full research and enlightenment from the Holy Spirit. Doctrines (personal and communal) should be built on a full understanding of the Word of God.
  2. Temptations will always come but it is the reservoir of the Word in your life that will enable you overcome. Without the Word in our hearts, a believer will fall.

         “Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You.”     Psalms 119:11 NKJV

 Feeding on the Word of God will take away the edge to hunger after less satisfying things (ungodly desires). It fills you with Joy.

“Your words were found, and I ate them, And Your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart; For I am called by Your name, O LORD God of hosts.” Jeremiah 15:16 NKJV

  1. The Word of God is sure already and does not need to be proven by anyone. Never feel a need to “prove” God’s Word is true. You are just to believe. Trying to prove it is a sign of unbelief. “Every word of God proves true.” Proverbs 30:5a NKJV

Are you ready to steep yourself in the Word of God to overcome temptations?

Share with me!

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2 thoughts on “OVERCOMING: Understanding temptation and overcoming it”

  1. These are true and divine words. The word of God is truly one. Victory is ours in Christ Jesus. Thou the devil is defeated, he smashed head is still deadly and we are constantly in a battle here on earth. And you said it so well, the word of God, knowledge and believing in the word of God and being led by the Holy Spirit is all we need to remain overcomers that we are already. I pray that we will go dwell deeper in the word of God and wield our swords right against the temptations that come against us. Thank you so much for sharing this truth. God is forever your wisdom and strength.

  2. Thank you so much Yemisi. I used to be very dedicated to the things of God but along the line I guess laziness and some kind of excuses weakened me which I know deep inside of me. Because I know what it feels like when you have the holy spirit. Now my prayer life is not stable. I need help I want to be back on track with the holy spirit and then read,study and understand the scripture more. Am really struggling about it. Thank you so much.

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