How to overcome temptation
Temptation is a spiritual force. It is highly influential. It is the most powerful urge for sin and illegal behaviour. Temptation is not the worst thing that can happen to anybody. Without trials, there will be no triumph and without testing there will be no testimony. The worst thing that can happen to anybody is the inability to overcome temptation. How then can one overcome temptation?
The tempted ones are those who are lured into sin. So many people are tempted in our world today. The police are often tempted to collect bribe from the masses. Some judges and lawyers accept bribe in order to distort justice. Some nurses and doctors collect bribe for abortion and other illegal practices that threaten life. Some Lecturers collect bribe from their students in order to award them unmerited grade. Lawmakers and some government officers are tempted to collect bribe before signing a bill into law. INEC officers are tempted to collect bribe in order to rig election. Some men of God are tempted to charge money before ministering to their flocks, whereas our Lord Jesus Christ said, freely you receive, freely you should give. Some parents are tempted to abort their children’s pregnancy for fear of what people would say.
Who is the tempter? Is God the tempter? St. James declares, “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. But one is tempted by one’s own desire, being lured and enticed by it. Then, when that desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin, and that sin, when it is fully-grown, gives birth to death. Do not be deceived, my beloved” (James 1:13-18). Our selfish and immoral desire is our major channel of temptation. Our greed and ambition for power and money is another source of temptation.
Apart from our ungodly desire, the book of Revelation described the tempter as the defeated dragon, the devil: “the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world” (Revelation 12:9). The devil is not just the tempter; he is also the one that deceives the whole world. Our Lord Jesus Christ describes the devil as a murderer and father of lies “He was a murderer from the beginning and does not stand in the truth… When he lies, he speaks according to his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies (John 8:44). The devil deceives people through lies.
How then can one overcome temptation? St. James declares, “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7). We can resist the devil by saying no to him as Jesus did when he was tempted through Peter. He resisted the devil, saying, “Get behind me, Satan!” (Matthew16: 23). May God give you the grace to resist Satan and all the tempters that may come your way!
We can overcome temptation through prayer. Our Lord Jesus Christ told His followers: “Pray that you may not come into the time of trial.” Luke 22: 40. Prayer is the most powerful weapon against temptation. In the gospel of Luke 4:1-13, Jesus prayed and fasted for forty days and He was able to overcome His own temptation.
Above all, we need Jesus! He is the only One that can frustrate Satan’s plans: “The Son of God was revealed for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil” (1 John 3:8). With Jesus, victory is sure! And with prayer and discipline, you will surely overcome all the temptation that comes your way! And it shall be well with you in Jesus name – Amen!
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