Overcoming Temptation


James 1:2-4 NRSV

[2] My brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of any kind, consider it nothing but joy, [3] because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance; [4] and let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking in nothing.

God fully intends to turn all the hard, tough stuff of life into joy for you and every other member of his family. But God takes his time, so hang on for the ride!

The first area of tough stuff we’re going to talk about is overcoming temptation, something that is universal to all of us. It plagues us all.

Three Facts About Temptation

James 1:13-15 NRSV

[13] No one, when tempted, should say, “I am being tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil and he himself tempts no one. [14] But one is tempted by one’s own desire, being lured and enticed by it; [15] then, when that desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin, and that sin, when it is fully grown, gives birth to death.

Fact #1: Temptation comes from within me (and always starts in my mind).

Fact #2: My behavior flows out of my beliefs

Fact #3: Repeated, habitual sinful behavior has a destructive effect in my life.

Three Primary Areas of Temptation

1 John 2:15-17 NRSV

[15] Do not love the world or the things in the world. The love of the Father is not in those who love the world; [16] for all that is in the world-the desire of the flesh, the desire of the eyes, the pride in riches-comes not from the Father but from the world. [17] And the world and its desire are passing away, but those who do the will of God live forever.

First: The temptation of physical pleasure.

Second: The temptation of everything we see.

Third: The temptation of pride in ourselves.

In the temptation of Eve… in the temptation of Jesus… in the temptation of me and you… in our culture today, these are always the three areas where we are tempted.

Why hasn’t Satan adopted any new methods in thousands of years? He doesn’t have to! These three things work like a charm!

Three Ways to Overcome Temptation

First: You are not immune – so be on guard.

1 Corinthians 10:12 NRSV

So if you think you are standing, watch out that you do not fall.

Second: You are not alone – so trust God and his people.

1 Corinthians 10:13 NRSV

No testing has overtaken you that is not common to everyone. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tested beyond your strength, but with the testing he will also provide the way out so that you may be able to endure it.

Third: You are not bound – so run away.

2 Timothy 2:22 NRSV

Shun youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.


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