Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Defeating Temptation

I am really excited about this upcoming Sunday. I am going to be finishing up our study on the Lord's Prayer. We will be looking at how we need to pray and ask for protection from the evil one, and we will be turning to James to find out how the Bible explains how we are to defeat the temptation that comes from Satan. We will be addressing two important questions:

1.) Why do we often find ourselves giving into temptation and committing sin?
2.) What is the secret to defeating temptation?

James 4:6-8 says:
"But He gives more grace. Therefore it says, God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble. Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you."

There are two actions that a follower of Christ must commit to doing in their everyday lives in order to defeat temptation.

1.) Submit: We must totally surrender our will and life to God. This cannot be accomplished apart from a personal relationship with Christ. This simply means that it is imperative that we spend time conversing with God in prayer and through reading scripture.

2.) Resist: In our own power this is impossible. Since we are sinful by nature and do not have the power to resist Satan on our own, we must rely totally on the power of God living in and through us. Jesus resisted Satan's temptation was by quoting passages of Scripture. We must not miss this point and must apply this discipline to our own lives.

We must conclude then, that the only way one can and will defeat the temptation that comes from the evil one, is by submitting to the One who has the power to defeat Satan, and resist the evil one by using the Word of God as our weapon of choice. The only way one can do this is by maintaining a personal relationship with Christ and putting to memory those things written in His Word.

D.A. Carson says about the petition found in Matthew 6:13: "Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.":

"This petition is a hefty reminder that, just as we ought to consciously depend on God for physical sustenance, so we ought to sense our dependence on Him for our moral triumph and spiritual victory."

I am excited about this message because there are so many who are so discouraged about their inability to defeat the temptation that comes into their lives. I know that I am at times. I pray that by revealing this simple truth, that others will find hope and realize that they are incapable of defeating Satan in their own power. We must realize just how desperate we are for the power of God in our lives. This is the hope of the Gospel and I am excited about proclaiming this to others.

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