How to Resist Sin and Temptation
How do we resist sin and temptation? The devil wants to convince Christians they are victims, but 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). We can be victorious over sin. Victory is God’s desire and plan for us (Romans 6 and John 8:31-36).
When we succumb to sin, we become its slave. “Whosoever commits sin is the servant of sin” (John 8:34). “Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness” (Romans 6:16).
The reality is that we are tempted because our desire or want to is in the wrong place. The Bible says, “Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempts He any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust (desire), and enticed” (James 1:13-14).
It’s like a fish turning aside by that which is enticing (the shiny lure) until he catches it to his demise. We likewise turn aside from the path of righteousness by what is alluring to our flesh. When we take the bait, we are hooked and death ultimately ensues. “Then when lust hath conceived, it brings forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, brings forth death” (James 1:15).
Here are a few ways to resist and overcome temptation:
Submit to God. “Submit yourselves, then, to God” (James 4:7). Submit yourself and what you are struggling with to God for the power to overcome. “According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness” (2 Peter 1:3). Submit to God’s will and surrender your life to Him. He will give you the power to overcome. “In all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us” (Romans 8:37).
Resist. “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7). If we resist the devil and our flesh, God promises us the devil will flee and we will have victory. This is a spiritual battle (Ephesians 6:12), and if we fight it spiritually, we will overcome.
Flee. Some times the best way to resist is to run from the temptaion. When Joseph was tempted by Potiphar’s wife, he knew the temptation was strong and if he stayed he would surely succumb. So when “She caught him by his garment, saying, Lie with me! He left his garment in her hand and fled” (Genesis 39:12). God’s way of escape for us may very well be to flee (1 Corinthians 10:13).
Consider yourself dead to sin. “Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:11). We died and rose together with Christ, so we must 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 facing nailed to the cross with Jesus. We must crucify our flesh daily (Galatians 5:24). We are dead to sin!
Present your body as a weapon of righteousness. “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). 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 Bible. 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 ask God for grace and mercy daily so we don’t 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 our flesh. 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). The Holy Spirit not only empowers us to witness, but to be witnesses through our life (Acts 1:8). We must 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 Holy Spirit with all that is necessary to overcome sin and temptation. Help me to crucify my flesh, use Your Word, and resist all this world may throw at me. In Jesus name, Amen!