Overcoming Temptation

By Casey Cassady

Temptation. What crosses your mind when reading or hearing this word? The first thing I think about is the devil and how he manipulates people into doing things that they should not be doing. A good example of this would be the story of Adam and Eve. The next thing I think about is my past, and the times I have given into temptation simply because I justified my actions or was too naïve or embarrassed to simply say “no”.  Relatively, I think about the weaknesses I have now and that I need to allow God to help me overcome them. If you have these same thoughts, you might agree that the topic of temptation can at times be a bit uncomfortable, and almost feel “taboo” to talk about. I think it’s important for a lot of Christians to hold a certain appearance that looks good to others, so weakness is not often a discussion that is prioritized. There is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to be a good influence on others; and I do believe that there is a time and place for everything that we choose to share about ourselves with others. However, I feel as though the topic of temptation should be talked about more openly. Temptation is a real thing that we face (whether we give into it or not), and it is important to know what to do when that happens.

When faced with temptation, we must recognize and adapt to the STRENGTH of God, the WISDOM of God, and the LOVE of God. With these three things in mind and in action, temptation can either be prevented, or at least minimized to the best of our abilities.

Matthew 4 in the Bible is the narrative called, “Jesus is Tested in the Wilderness”.  Let’s read a bit of this Scripture:

Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

This is one of the three examples in Matthew 4 when Jesus was tempted by the devil. A lot goes on here in just these four verses; but let me make a specific point. I think a lot of times we give into temptation because we feel as though we have something to prove. In most of my past relationships prior to about five years ago, I didn’t fully understand the power of healthy boundaries. Thus, in the effort to “prove myself”, I would not often say no to others. I wanted my “loving” and “selfless” nature to be proven to feel loved and accepted by others. Rather than having self-worth and self-respect, I allowed the lack of boundaries and many undesired “yes’s” to define my worth and the love that I had for myself (or the lack thereof). I gave into a cycle of men who undervalued me, influenced me to do things I would not have done otherwise, controlled me, and who took advantage of me because I conformed to who I thought they wanted me to be.

When we are faced with temptation, whether it be a relationship, a daily habit, or a one-time sin, we must ask ourselves if we feel as though we have something to prove. Then, we must realize that we do not have to prove anything to anyone. The second part to this is that we must know who and Who’s we are. We are children of God! In the Scripture above, Jesus knows He is the Son of God. Yet, He still knew he did not have to prove himself by giving into the devil. He also knew that by not giving into temptation, God the Father would be pleased. This mindset will give us God’s strength to have more defined boundaries, and God’s strength to say no to things that we have no business taking part of.

The second thing I must mention on this topic, is how the wisdom of God can help us. When we live and move in wisdom, we can make better decisions for ourselves than we would otherwise. With wisdom, we are better able to exercise boundaries in ways that can prevent a lot of temptation from even existing. We can choose to not put ourselves in certain situations (if we can help it), as well as how to navigate temptation when it does occur. I realized that the more I read and studied God’s Word, the more wisdom I found myself having. A lot of that was also hearing the voice of God when praying about people and/or potential relationships, and when thinking of potential decisions. When we are wise about who we invest in and what we choose to do, we can see people and things from an outside perspective. God may reveal things to us in prayer as a warning, or just give us a feeling that something seems off. Always make sure that you can take a step back, be prayerful, and view your circumstances with the wisdom of God. Being able to do so will help you resist the devil and move forward with confidence in your Christian walk, rather than being a victim to the schemes of the enemy.

The love of God also helps us prevent or overcome temptation. This is because we are obedient to God because we love Him; and we love Him because of His love for us – which, ironically, he did prove (at the Cross). Jesus had nothing to prove to the devil, but for one reason or another, felt it significant to prove His love for us by dying on a cross and rising again.

John 14:15 NLT says, “If you love me, obey my commandments.” When we love God and have an intimate relationship with Him, obeying Him should often come naturally. This is because as we are transformed, so are our desires. We begin to desire the things of Heaven, rather than the things of the world. I’ve noticed in my own life that when I’m not as consistent with prioritizing God in my daily life, I go through moments of spiritual regressions. When that happens, I find myself being faced with, and/or giving into temptations more than I would otherwise. I end up making decisions that lack God’s strength and God’s wisdom – decisions that I regret and that lead me to go before the Lord in prayer, confession, and repentance.

Our love for God (because of His love for us) should always be the foundation to our self-control. We can choose to not participate in things that are not pleasing to God, because all we desire is to first please Him. His love is the reason we do our best to obey Him, despite our imperfection. His love is why we are obedient, as well as why we can accept His mercy when we know we have done wrong. It does not however, mean that our sin is excusable or justifiable – because it’s not.  Although we can and should be grateful for God’s mercy, it can sometimes be very painful to experience the things we experience that take us to needing His mercy in the first place. Things happen because life is not perfect. But when we make decisions based off what God would want for us, we make decisions that we would ultimately want for ourselves – and life can be so much more enjoyable and peaceful when we do.

Lastly, we must not forget that God’s unconditional love is always present, and mercy is offered when needed. However, God also wants us to do what we need to do on our end to get back to the path He wants us on! A lot of times, this means we need to be intentional with prioritizing our relationship with Him, as well as with a solid Christian community. Even though we are indeed empowered by the Holy Spirit, we are not expected to strive toward holiness alone and should never dismiss the significance of accountability. If you are struggling with temptation, you are not alone; but I encourage you to find your way through the ways of God… and His ways can be found through His Word, His voice, and His people. God bless you!

3 thoughts on “Overcoming Temptation

  1. Amen, very insightful an to the point. About his words guide us in our choices to avoid temptation, when we know it’s just that, not apporiate an good for us, thank you for sharing your view.


  2. “weakness is not often a discussion that is prioritized” You are so right sister’friend & I appreciate you talking on the topic 👏🏾❤️

    💎Our love for God (because of His love for us) should always be the foundation to our self-control.

    💎as we are transformed, so are our desires.We begin to desire the things of Heaven, rather than the things of the world.

    Soo much yesss! 👏🏾
    Great read!


  3. You said we often feel like we have something to prove and I couldn’t help but feel this resonate with me. It’s definitely time out for this. You did a great job provoking the conversation of temptation. I think you’re so right—because of the ‘image’ that’s feels required of us we often forsake the conversation that we are still actively and regularly tempted. I definitely got a new dinner time table talk. Loved this.


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