All Christians fight the daily battle against temptations. No man or woman is exempted from this fight. It is one of the battles we must fight and win every day in the war against the arc-enemy (satan). It is of little importance whether you are a pastor or usher in church, you must fight your own battle. Nobody is above being tempted. Some preachers/teachers misleadingly tell their congregations otherwise. No matter your level or years in the Christian Faith, you must war against temptations. In Matthew’s rendition of the Gospel, he tells us that Jesus Himself was “led” up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. So, if Jesus faced it, we all sure will.
According to the Oxford Pocket English Dictionary, temptation is an incitement to do what is wrong or forbidden.
The truth is that temptations should not seem strange to the believer. In fact, here in the Kingdom, if you stay without temptations, you are not a Christian! This is because, for one, our model (Jesus Christ) was tempted; and if we (as Christians) are Christ-like, we should expect temptings. Temptation, therefore, is not sin. Yielding to it, however, is.
By now, you already know (either by personal experience or by gained knowledge) that fighting—and winning—each of these battles is not easy. Some people win these battles daily. Others are not consistent with the wins. However, and saddening so, much more are still struggling for a single win.
WHY YOU SHOULD WIN THESE BATTLES
There is a lot of gain in overcoming temptations. Here are just a few of them:
1. It reveals God’s Grace and Mercy that abounds towards you (1Cor. 10:13).
2. It is a pointer to an incoming blessing and prize (James 1:12).
3. It grows your faith—and since we are talking battle here, it increases your rank—thereby qualifying you for greater prizes after greater battles (Lk. 16:10).
4. It gives you the qualification to help and encourage others in their own times of temptings.
HOW THEN DO YOU WIN?
The Bible gives three war strategies. These I want to call the WPS Formula. Unlike in the battles fought with guns and grenades, you use these strategies on yourself instead of the enemy:
Peter warns that the believer must be “vigilant” should he overcome in this battle (1Peter 5:8). How do you watch? By folding your arms and praying for grace? No. You watch deliberately. Most Christians wrongly pray the prayer for grace. God does not do this for you. He gives you the strength, yes, but He allows you do this yourself. It is crazy to walk wilfully into places, people, and events that promote sin. Do not do it! Do not play with sin; it is as dangerous as a snake. You must deliberately make the decision to leave that dirty job, desist from visiting that member of the opposite sex at odd hours, or end that sinful relationship with a friend. The place of watching is a place of deliberate decisions. God did not make Joseph disappear when he stood before Potiphar’s wife; Joseph had to run with his legs (Gen. 39:12)! Daniel decided himself. Nobody pushed him to request for vegetables instead of the king’s meat, neither did anybody take him to the chief of the eunuchs; he went himself (Dan. 1:8). Until you make deliberate decisions to “flee these things” (1Tim 6:11-12), you will continue to lose these battles.
“Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Jesus said this to His disciples in Mt. 26:41. Prayer empowers your spirit. It keeps you ‘willing’ always. An evangelist at my home church back in Northern Nigeria once told something. I tried it out, and was pleased that it worked. He advised me to pray, immediately I noticed a tempting thought in my head. He said prayers could kill these thoughts before they grew into actions. He was right! Scriptures say every knee bows at the Name of Jesus (Phil. 2:10). Prayer shows your inability to help yourself. It puts you at the mercy of God. Understand that we fight not against humans, but against spiritual forces. You need a mighty hand at work in you, if you must win. You need somebody bigger. You need God—so you need prayers. Moreover, He has said, “Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.” (Jer. 33:3)
The Psalmist wrote, “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.”(Ps. 119:11). God’s word empowers you for the battle. These powerful guidelines keep you informed of what the enemy’s tactics are, and how you can overcome them. Even Jesus used what was written [in scriptures] against the devil. In chapter number four of Matthew’s account of the Gospel, He (Jesus) always said, “It is written”. Hear the rendition of Ps. 119:165 from the Amplified Bible: “Great peace have they who love Your law; nothing shall offend them or make them stumble.” The Scriptures have life in them (Jn. 6:63). Feed on God’s word, if you need your spirit to come alive. The mind is the centre of any man. To change a man, you have to change his mind first. And, concerning the mind, hear Paul: “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 2:5). Your study gives you the tips for overcoming this battle (2Tim. 2:15). You must learn new strategies often. You need to renew your mind (Rom. 12:2; Eph. 4:23) via the word of God. Take out time everyday deliberately to study the word of God.
God is your strength. To win in this series of battles, you will definitely need Him. I pray for you, to receive the enablement to commit to these three things, in JESUS MIGHTY NAME! Amen.
See you at the place called ‘THERE’.