Overcoming Temptation pt1
You and your fiancé need to be on the same page and moving in the same direction before you enter marriage. You need to have the same beliefs, values, and behavior or you will sabotage a successful long-term relationship. For, as Jesus said, “Every household divided against itself will not stand” (Matthew 12:25). One of the key areas you and your future mate need to see eye to eye on is temptation. With that said, I want to answer some questions for you that will help you and your fiancé help each other overcome temptation.
Who is your greatest enemy?
Your greatest enemy is not your grouchy boss, or your condescending mother-in-law, or your noisy neighbor, or your best friend! Your greatest opponent on earth is the Devil. The Devil is your greatest enemy because he can do the greatest damage to your life. This is why the Apostle Peter warns you to stand guard against the Devil at the end of his first epistle.
“Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.” 1st Peter 5:8
The Greek word translated devour in vs. 8 means “to cause an end to.” Peter wanted you to understand that the Devil is both willing and able to erase your influence from this world.
How can Satan hurt you?
The Devil hurts you by enticing you to sin against God. Satan knows how sin separates us from God’s power, protection, and provision. James – the half-brother of Jesus and Lead Pastor of the Christian church in Jerusalem explains how Satan entices you to sin against God.
Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death. James 1:13–15 NKJV
According to James, it is your sin nature, which you inherited from your earthly father Adam (Romans 5:12), that draws you to sin. Then, Satan entices your sinful desires. He learned how to tempt human beings in the Garden of Eden when he successfully tempted Eve to sin against God. In Genesis chapter three, Satan told Eve the forbidden fruit would make her equal to God. Then, he told Eve she needed to eat the forbidden fruit to be happy. And finally, Satan told Eve she needed to eat the forbidden fruit to be fulfilled. Of course, everything Satan said to Eve was a lie. Eve did not become equal to God when she ate the forbidden fruit. Yes, her eyes were opened to sin and the guilt, and the pain it causes, but Eve did not transform from a human being to a god when she ate the forbidden fruit. Likewise, Eve did not become happier or more physically fulfilled when she ate the forbidden fruit. The opposite happened. Eve lost her innocence and separated herself from God the moment she sinned. For the first time in her life, Eve felt sad and lonely. And, instead of being physically fulfilled, Eve felt weak and doomed to death!
What did Satan do after he was successful in tempting Eve? He took his temptation strategy on the road! Since his success with Eve, Satan has tempted every human being in the same ways. The Devil entices all human beings with Physical pleasures (eating, drinking, drugs, sex, exercise, etc.); Material possessions (money, cars, boats, houses, jewelry, etc.); and Prideful achievements (power, prestige, career, sports, etc.). The old Devil knows if he can get us to give our hearts to pleasures, possessions, and prestige we will not have room in our hearts for God. This is why the Apostle John told us not to love these things.
Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world.” 1st John 2:15–16 NLT
It is important to understand that Satan can only entice you with sin; he cannot make you sin. The saying, “The Devil made me do it!” is untrue. The Devil does not have the power to make you do anything. You sin when you choose to give in to your desire to sin and bite on one of Satan’s lures. Then, when you bite on the Devil’s hooks, he reels you into his boat. The last part of James 1:15 says if you choose to keep sinning, you will become a slave to sin and live separated from God’s presence and power (Romans 6:16; I John 3:24).
What do you need to do to overcome temptation?
1st – You need to know your enemy!
The first step in overcoming temptation is to understand the tempter! Instead of acting like the Devil is a myth, or ignoring the fact that he wants to destroy your life, you need to acknowledge his existence and prepare yourself for his inevitable attack. You need to live as if there is a roaring lion in your living room!
I encourage you to take some time and study Genesis 3, Matthew 4, and 1st John 2:15-16 with your future mate and learn how the Devil entices us with physical pleasures, material possessions, and prideful achievements.
If you’re considering marriage, or you want to improve your marriage, I encourage you to purchase my book The 10 Habits of Magnificent Marriages. It is available through Amazon.