How To Turn Temptations into Triumphs
"Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry." 1 Corinthians 10:12-14
We're all subject to temptation. It is not a sin to be tempted. Even the Lord Jesus was tempted. The Bible says Jesus “was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin" (Hebrews 4:15). Where do those temptations come from? The sources are many. But the three “f’s” will defeat them. First, though, where does all this temptation come from?
The Sources of Temptation
We all have the same kinds of temptations from the same sources—and three are only three: the world, the flesh, and the devil.
• The world is the external foe. The world will tempt you primarily in the area of your soul. Your soul encompasses your mind, your emotions, and your will. These temptations include pride, greed, a desire to be worldly,betc. In Genesis 13,we wat Abraham’s nephew, Lot, as he responded to his uncle’s generous offer by choosing the best land for himself. That’s an example of the temptations of the world.
• The flesh is the internal foe. We all have a predisposition to sin. The Bible calls that “the flesh.” Now, it’s not your physical, fleshly body, but it wars against your body and even uses your body as a vehicle of expression. The flesh tempts you in areas such as appetite, lust, laziness, and violence. King David’s affair with Bathsheba (2 Samuel 11) was a result of his being tempted by his flesh.
• The devil is the infernal foe. Your spirit is your sense of God-consciousness. The spirit in man is that vehicle of communication, worship, praise, and spiritual knowledge. So the devil wars against your spirit. The devil will try to cut you off from God by any eans he can. He will put doubts in your mind. When Simon Peter denied the Jord Jesus Christ (Matthew 26:74), it was a result of the devil’s attack on Peter’s spirit. The devil is your dedicated, sworn enemy.
The Subduing of Temptation
How do we stand against these 3 sworn enemies, the world, the flesh and the devil? The three “f’s”—faith, flight, and fight.
1. Overcome the world through faith.
This fallen world—the world system—is not our friend. When we say someone is “worldly,” we are saying they love the world and the things in this world more than they love God. 1 John 2:15 says, “Love not the world, neither the things in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”
How does our faith help us overcome the world? Faith makes God real to you. “For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith” (1 John 5:4). We are not told to fight the world; we are told to have faith in God instead.
Suppose you’re driving and notice your oil light begins blinking on your dashboard. What do you do? Take a hammer and break the light? No! The light is a warning that your engine is out of oil. To solve the problem, you add oil to your car.
Now, if you’re worldly, warning signs will illuminate your condition—you have fallen in love with the world (which means you have fallen out of love with the Lord Jesus Christ). Don’t fight the warning light. Heed the warning and turn your eyes upon Jesus—increase your faith by going deeper into the Word of God. The Bible explains that “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God” (Romans 10:17). As the Word begins to reverberate in your heart you’ll find your faith will rise.
2. Don’t fight the flesh – take flight!
God does not tell you to fight this kind of temptation. Instead, He clearly tells you to flee (see 1 Corinthian 6:18, 10:14; 1 Timothy 6:9-11; 2 Timothy 2:22).
David wouldn’t have ever given in to the temptation of his flesh if he had done as Joseph did when Potiphar’s wife approached him. (You can compare those two stories in 2 Samuel 11 and Genesis 39.) What did Joseph do? He ran for his life! But what did David do? He lingered and watched Bathsheba. Then he entertained his lustful thoughts that led him to commit two heinous sins in the flesh—adultery with Bathsheba and the murder of her husband Uriah.
How does this apply to you and me? If there is a magazine, movie, television program, or even a person who arouses thoughts in you that you know are wrong, you are to flee. Just get away! When I was in college I had a motto on my desk: “He who would not fall down ought not to walk in slippery places.”
Proverbs 6:27 warns, “Can a man take fire in his bosom, and his clothes not be burned?” You and I are to flee.
3. Fight the devil, and he will flee!
First we submit to God, then we resist the devil, not in our own strength, but in His strength. James 4:7 says, “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”
Instead of our resisting and him fleeing, most of us say to the devil, “If you’ll leave me alone, I’ll leave you alone.” But he’s not going to leave us alone until we resist him in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Here’s how you overcome him! “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death” Revelation 12:11
The devil cares nothing for your resolutions or good intentions, but he fears the blood of Jesus Christ. When the devil comes after you, show him Jesus!
Get on the offensive. Tell Satan, “I bring His Word against you. I bring His blood against you. You are trespassing on my Father’s property, and in the name of Jesus be gone!” Don’t tell me it won’t work until you’ve tried it.
Have faith against the world. Take flight from the flesh. Fight the devil. And take courage from Ephesians 6:10: “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might.”
Remember: Satan is an already-defeated foe. Jesus is Victor. And the Holy Spirit dwells within to come alongside and strengthen you.
To hear this entire message, including more content than we can share here, the message will be heard on radio nationwide in two parts on Friday, January 12 and Monday, January 15. You can hear it on our website, www.lwf.org on those dates and afterward, and at www.oneplace.com.
If you’d like a CD copy for your own study and review or to share with a loved one or friend, call us at 1-800-LOVE-GOD.