Do you struggle with temptation? I hope your answer to that question would be, yes! There’s nothing to be embarrassed about- every human being deals with temptation. It’s part of the human condition. Temptation was born in the Garden of Eden when our first parents listened to the serpent and committed the first sin. Since then, every human is pregnant with temptation. It becomes like a hunger or a thirst inside us. Maybe it’s not adultery or murder but you have insatiable desires inside you. We all have struggles inside us! For some, the struggles are growing stronger, for others the struggles are growing weaker daily.
For some people the struggle with temptation is very strong. I’m talking about the people who genuinely know Jesus, those who are being led by the Holy Spirit, these folks are fighting a war within themselves. This war within is a sinful soul battling against the desire to live a God-honoring life. So, in a sense, it’s healthy to struggle with temptation. Struggling with temptation implies that you really are a child of God. The struggle implies that you have the Holy Spirit convicting you not to do wrong. Let me do the math this way… No struggle – no Holy Spirit. No struggle – no salvation.
So perhaps the greater question is what does it take to win the war within? This is a much harder question to answer. Here are a couple of things to think about as you fight this battle for the condition of your own soul:
Are you searching for the deadline?
Many people struggle to figure out where the borderline is between temptation and sin. They don’t want to sin but they don’t mind getting close to it. I think even searching for the border can be dangerous. Often people look for the border between temptation and sin because they want to get as close to sin as possible without actually stepping over the border. I call this “searching for the deadline”.
Listen to some good advice… Run as far away from the border! Run as far and as fast as you can from the deadline. Instead of getting close to the deadline, try moving towards righteousness. You do this by living like Jesus Christ. You avoid the deadline by passionately following God’s word. Moving away from the border means you are intently listening to the Holy Spirit.
Are you dancing with the devil?
Here’s another tool to consider when battling for your soul. It is the work of the devil to draw you away from God. All temptation is designed to capture your attention and move your heart away from God.
As you give in to temptation, you are literally dancing with the devil. You are allowing him to control your heart instead of allowing the Holy Spirit to captivate you! In other words, it’s either the Holy Spirit or the devil that has your allegiance, never both.
Are you winning the war within?
The most important weapon to win the war within is Scripture! Jesus used Scripture to defend against temptation. Jesus went to Scripture in his defense against Satan. Jesus studied Scripture. Jesus memorized Scripture. Jesus mastered Scripture.
Scripture was the only weapon Jesus used in the battle with temptation. How well do you know Scripture? How much Scripture have you memorized? Take a lesson from Jesus…Get into the Bible and get the Bible into you. Do it now, BEFORE you ever feel tempted. Invest your time now in the tools that will help you win the war within.
While you’re at it, find a couple of friends to help you in this battle. Don’t go onto the battlefield alone. Get a team to help you fight for your soul. If you’re not in a small group of people who can hold you accountable… get into one right away.
Keep this in mind, if you are dealing with temptation you’re in good company- so has every man and every woman who’s ever lived. If you feel yourself losing ground in the battle with temptation remember you’re never more like Jesus, than when you resist temptation.