Overcoming Temptation Pt. 3
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. You need to agree on what temptation is and how you need to overcome it.
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 prepare yourself for the inevitable attack of the roaring lion (1st Peter 5:8)! You and your future mate need to study Genesis 3, Matthew 4, and 1st John 2:15-16 to learn how the Devil entices your sinful nature. Again, Satan’s ultimate goal with temptation is to get you to love something so much that you have no room in your heart left for God.
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 – 1st John 2:15–16), you need to identify how Satan specifically is enticing you to sin. You need to determine what you are drawn to.
3rd – You need to know how to submit to God.
Knowing your enemy and yourself will only help you understand how Satan works. To resist the devil’s temptations, you must learn to submit to God. For… the only way to avoid being in the wrong place with the wrong people, doing the wrong things is to choose to be in the right place, with the right people, doing the right things! James explains this awesome truth in one verse.
“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” James 4:7 ESV
The key to overcoming temptation is to get so close to God that the devil flees from you!
But, submission is an act of the will. You must choose daily to humble yourself before the Lord and seek to do His will. You only do actions that benefit you. You eat healthy foods and go to the gym because it makes your body feel and look better. You get up and go to work each day because you get paid to get up and go to work each day. You shower, brush your teeth, put on deodorant, and wear clean clothes because you want to have some friends. Well, you will only submit to God and avoid sin if you see the benefit of submitting to God and avoiding sin. So, let me give you…
Some benefits to submitting to God and resisting the Devil:
1. You will not get hurt by sin if you submit to God.
Bad things happen when you choose to follow your sinful nature. Sin always hurts you in some way.
“When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God. But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control…”
Galatians 5:19–23 NLT
Later in Galatians chapter six, we see that God has promised to bless those who choose to live by the Spirit and to judge those who choose to live according to their flesh. The Lord has established a universal (applies to all people) law to make sure we get what we deserve.
“Don’t be misled—you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant. Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful nature will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit.” Galatians 6:7–8 NLT
The Law of Sowing and Reaping is really simple. God has promised to make sure that the people who choose to live for Him will enjoy everlasting life. But, God has also promised to make sure that the people who choose to spend their precious time, energy, and money on foolish people, places, things, and activities will suffer decay and death.
The Law of Sowing and Reaping is why we have so many passages in the Bible that warn us to stay away from sin. Passages like 1st Corinthians 6:18-20 where the Apostle Paul warns us to flee sexual sin (sex outside of your marriage) so we do not hurt our bodies.
“Run from sexual sin! No other sin so clearly affects the body as this one does. For sexual immorality is a sin against your own body. Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.” 1st Corinthians 6:18–20 NLT
Sex outside of your marriage can hurt you physically. You can contract a life-threatening sexually transmitted disease. By the way, there are more STD’s today than any other time in history! But, sex outside of your marriage can also hurt you mentally and emotionally. Premarital or extramarital sex causes you to think about sex in wrong (incorrect) ways, which could cause problems in your marriage.
2. You will receive God’s blessings if you choose to do His will.
The Bible says God rewards those who seek Him and choose to live by faith (Hebrews 11:6). God rewards our service in this life and in the next! The Apostle Paul said there is a crown of righteousness reserved in Heaven for all who live for Jesus (2nd Timothy 4:6-8). Those who choose to serve the Lord will one day hear Him say, “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!” (Matthew 25:21 NIV). God rewards those who faithfully serve Him with crowns and with happiness!
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.