Overcoming Temptation Pt. 2
Jesus said, “Every household divided against itself will not stand” (Matthew 12:25). So, you need to make sure your fiancé is committed to your same beliefs, values, and behavior before you enter marriage. One of the key areas you and your future mate need to see eye to eye on is temptation. As a married couple, you need to see temptation for what it is and have an effective strategy to overcome it together.
What do you need to know to tackle temptation?
1st – You need to know your enemy!
The first step to overcome temptation is to understand your tempter! You need to acknowledge that you have a sinful nature and the Devil is going to entice it daily. You need to prepare yourself for the inevitable attack of the roaring lion (1st Peter 5:8) living in your home!
“When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.” James 1:13–15 NIV
I encourage you to study Genesis 3, Matthew 4, and 1st John 2:15-16 with your future mate to learn how the Devil entices your sinful nature with physical pleasures, material possessions, and prideful achievements to get you to sin against God. You must know how your enemy works to defeat him at his game!
2nd – You need to know yourself.
After you get an understanding of how Satan tempts you with 3 P’s (pleasures, possessions, and prideful achievements), you need to take time to understand how you respond to the devil’s lures. In short, you need to identify how Satan specifically entices you to sin.
Here’s what you must answer to know yourself:
- Which of the 3P’s do you crave?
Are you drawn more to physical pleasures, material possessions, or prideful achievements? Yes, you may be drawn to a combination of the 3P’s, but try to identify which of the 3P’s you want the most? What do you want the most – physical pleasure, money and possessions, or prestige and power?
- What specific thing do you want within the “P” you want the most?
If you long for physical pleasures… do you crave to eat, sleep, work out, watch television, play video games, or have sex? If you are drawn to material possessions… do you desire clothes, jewelry, cars, art, or houses? If you want power and prestige…do you crave athletic awards, career promotions, social positions, powerful titles, or the admiration of others?
- Write a description of the person, thing, or activity that your sinful nature most desires.
If eating is your love… what food do you most desire and when do you want to enjoy it? If clothes are what you crave… what kind of clothes do you want and when do you want to purchase them? If sex is your pleasure of choice… what type of sex do you desire and with whom?
Understand, Satan has already done his homework on you. He already knows what your sinful nature is drawn to and he has already experimented with different lures to see which ones you nibble on. The devil has already identified your greatest weakness! And, he has assigned some demons to continually entice you with your greatest weakness.
If you crave sex with tall blonds the old Devil will find a way to tempt you with tall blonds! If you love cars, Satan will find a way to put lots of bright, shiny things that go really fast in front of your eyes! If you hunger for the applause of others, the devil will find a way to tempt you with all kinds of promotions and trophies that inflate your ego. The Devil is ruthless; he is committed to throwing lures in front of your nose until you bite on one.
Again, Satan’s goal with temptation is to get you to love something so much that you have no room in your heart left for God.
“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
3rd – You need to know how to submit to God.
Knowing your enemy and yourself will help you understand how Satan is going to tempt you, but that is not enough to give you victory over temptation. To resist the devil’s temptations, you must learn to submit to God and oppose the devil. For, the only way to avoid being in the wrong place doing the wrong things with the wrong people is to choose to be in the right place doing the right things with the right people! James explains this truth in one verse.
“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” James 4:7 ESV
This word submit is a military term that means “get into your proper rank.” As a private humbles himself and submits to the orders of a superior officer, so we must choose to do what God wants us to do. On the other hand, we must choose to resist – “take a stand against” the devil. In short, the key to overcoming temptation is to both submit to God’s will and oppose Satan’s will. Then, the devil flees from you because he knows he has lost the battle for your heart!
The way to resist the devil is to submit to God. But, submission is an act of the will. You must choose to humble yourself before the Lord and seek to do His will. Likewise, you must choose to resist (stand against) the devil and seek to not do his will. In part three of this post, I will give you some benefits to submitting to God and resisting the devil.
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.