“How can Christians resist sin and temptation?” I received this question recently through Ministrymaker. The devil wants to convince us we are victoms to sin and temptation. He is a liar. God’s destiny for the believer is victory. “For whatever is born of God overcomes the world” (1 John 5:4 NKJV). God wants us to have victory over sin (John 8:31-32). Here are a few suggestions for resisting and overcoming temptation.
Submit it to God. “Submit yourselves, then, to God” (James 4:7 NIV). Submit yourself and what you are struggling with to God for the power to overcome, to God’s will and the surrender of your life to Him. This is the first step in resisting temptation.
Resist – stand up against it. “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7 NIV). If we will resist the devil and our flesh God promises us the devil will flee from us and He will give us victory. This is foremost a spiritual battle (Ephesians 6:12). If we will fight it spiritually we will overcome.
Consider yourself dead to it. “Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:11 NKJV). We died and rose together with Christ and must simply appropriate it into our lives (Romans 6:1-5). If we were dead we would be incapable of sinning. Positionally, in Christ, we are dead to sin. We have died, been buried and are risen to walk a new life in Christ (Romans 6:1-8). Picture yourself and the temptation you are battling nailed to the cross with Jesus. You are dead to sin!
Present your body as a weapon of righteousness to God. “Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God” (Romans 6:12-13 NKJV). We must not only consider ourself dead to sin but also alive to God. We are to present the members of our body as weapons of righteousness to God.
Use the Word. Jesus used the Word of God when faced with temptation and so should we (Matthew 4:1-11). Contrary to what is normally taught, prayer should be the last thing we do when face to face with temptation. Prayer should be preparatory to temptation. In other words, we should have already been spending time praying not to face temptation (Matthew 6:13). We are all inclined toward sin, and therefore, we should be seeking God for grace and mercy daily so as not to fall into temptation. When we are confronted with temptation, we must take out our sword and use it as Jesus did (Hebrews 4:12).
Lean completely on the Holy Spirit. Our flesh is weak. We can never overcome through the arm of the flesh. This is doomed to failure. We must lean completely on the power of the Holy Spirit for victory in overcoming temptation. “As His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust” (2 Peter 1:3-4 NKJV). The Holy Spirit not only empowers us to witness but to be witnesses through our life (Acts 1:8). We must completely trust Him for power and victory in times of temptation.
God has promised us victory. Let’s stand on His Word. Read, study and memorize Romans 8:37; 1 John 4:4; 5:4-5; and Revelation 12:11. May God empower and equip us with all that is necessary to resist sin and temptation.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, I claim your Word for victory over temptation. Empower me by your Spirit with all that is necessary to overcome temptation. Help me to crucify the flesh, use your Word, and resist all the devil and this world may throw at me. In Jesus name, Amen!