Temptation affects all people, particularly Christians. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the word temptation means – “the state of being tempted especially to evil”.
How can we keep fixed in God’s word so we don’t give in to temptation (1 John 2:16)?
We need to surrender to God continually. I have learned in this journey with the Holy Spirit that surrender goes against my flesh (Rom 7:15). My flesh battles each day. It does not want to give up the things of the world. It’s a constant fight over the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23) which are good and that of the flesh which reaps ruin.
The enemy wants you to fall. His ultimate goal for mankind in the world is to ensure that every person, including Christians, live by the flesh. If we are going to live a glorious life in Christ Jesus, we need to know what we are fighting against (Gal. 6:8). Satan is working overtime because he knows his time is short. Christians are Satan’s chief focus.
Gal. 5:19-20 lays out what the desires of the flesh are. “Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.”
Paul is clear in his letter to the Galatians, that if you are involved in these practices, you will not inherit the kingdom of God. Jesus also supported this in Matt. 7:21-23 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.”
Sexual immorality is the first on God’s list. This isn’t a coincidence. It’s because sexual immorality is Jesus’ primary concern. If you’re living a life of sexual impurity you are involved in the following:
Scripture concludes in 1 Cor. 6: 19-20 “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own,for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.”
The next act of the flesh that is accelerating to an all-time high is idolatry. We only need to examine the first two of the ten commandments to understand how God feels about idol worshipping. It’s placed right at the top so it’s a top priority for God (Jdg. 10:14).
- 1) You shall have no other gods before me
- 2) You shall not make idols
Idolatry can take many forms. It could be the worship of an object or a person and/or the worship of false gods. (Lev. 19:4; Psa. 16:4; Rev. 9:20).
The definition of idolatry is great and excessive admiration and devotion. Below I’ve listed some examples of what idolatry consists of. It’s a broad subject, so listing all examples is nearly impossible.
Dream-catchers, Money, Tattoos, Rosary Beads, Religious Saints, The Virgin Mary, Eye of Horus, Shiva, Buddha, Angels, Celtic gods, Greek gods, Norse gods, Egyptian Gods, Ankh, Fairies, Elves, Gold, Silver, Jewellery, Crystals, Gem Stones, Animals, Sun, Moon, Planets, Stars, Mother Nature, Christmas, Pentagram, Tree of Life, Celebrities, Horoscopes, Statues, Satan, Demons, Baphomet, Halloween, Good Luck Charms/Images, Mohamed.
After idolatry comes Sorcery. Sorcery is used in the following ways:-
Casting spells, mixing potions, hexes, enchantments, charms, chanting, mantras, incantations, curses, bewitchment, conjuring up the dead, calling up a spirit or devil, fortune-telling, divination, future prediction, necromancy and reading auras.
Who uses Sorcery? It’s more common than you think. The following practices are considered Sorcery:-
Witchcraft, Magic, Black Magic, White Magic, Wizards, Voodoo, Warlocks, Illusionists, Astrology, Occult, Numerology, Hypnosis, Tarot Cards, Mediums, Wicca’s, Tea Leaf Readings, Psychics, Clairvoyant, Feng Shui, Superstition, Palmistry, Acupuncture, Rune Stones, Paganism, Druidism, Angel Cards, Transcendental Meditation, Astral Projection and Telekinesis, Meditation, The use of Amulets and Talismans.
Jealousy strikes the heart of every unsuspecting person. It sows bitterness and unbelief. Scripture reminds us of how jealousy can affect us if we let it in. Jam. 3:16 says “For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.” So it’s safe to say, jealousy causes us to sin in such a way that evil will dominate in our lives. It allows unbelief to fester where faith should be residing. And it creates destruction in our minds because it confuses.
Another scripture that reveals how jealousy can control us is Pro. 23:17 “Let not your heart envy sinners, but continue in the reverent and worshipful fear of the Lord all the day long.” When we are jealous of others and what they have, it’s called coveting. Coveting leads to unbelief and destruction in the same way that jealousy does.
Countless people are walking around angry. Anger propels you into all sorts of compromising situations. It bears no good fruit and it produces shame and regret. Scripture is very clear regarding anger. Jam. 1:20 “for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.”
Anger can lead to lawlessness which is another reason why it doesn’t yield righteousness which is a characteristic of God. Pro. 14:17 says “A man of quick temper acts foolishly,
and a man of evil devices is hated.” Anger influences our decision making. When anger is allowed to take control of a situation, it changes our thinking and it causes us to react irrationally.
Our culture is saturated with the idea that alcohol intoxication is acceptable. Why does God loathe drunkenness? 1 Pet. 5:8 sheds some light “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”
God places drunkenness in the same group as orgies, idolatry and sensuality. Drunkenness also leads to lawlessness, unrighteousness, sexual immorality and bad decisions because it’s mind-altering.
Another Scripture opposed to drunkenness is Rom. 13:13 “Let us live and conduct ourselves honourably and becomingly as in the [open light of] day, not in reveling (carousing) and drunkenness, not in immorality and debauchery (sensuality and licentiousness), not in quarreling and jealousy.”
1 Pet. 4:2-4 explains “so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God. For the time that is past suffices for doing what the Gentiles want to do, living in sensuality, passions, drunkenness, orgies, drinking parties, and lawless idolatry. With respect to this they are surprised when you do not join them in the same flood of debauchery, and they malign you.”
Temptation is Satan’s weapon to drive a wedge between you and God. He’s been using the same tactic for thousands of years and he will continue to use it because it brings him results. Satan is often very subtle. He disguises himself as an angel of light (2 Cor. 11:14).
Jam. 1:13-14 “Let no one say when he is tempted, I am tempted from God; for God is incapable of being tempted by [what is] evil and He Himself tempts no one. But every person is tempted when he is drawn away, enticed and baited by his own evil desire (lust, passions).”
To resist temptation, we need to be walking in the Spirit of God consistently. This is how we fight temptation. But we need to remember, nobody’s perfect. If we confess our sins to God, He will forgive us if we seek Him with a sincere heart.
Scripture reassures us with Eph. 5:8 “for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light.” and Eph. 5:2 “And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”
Stay in faith and encourage yourself with the Word of God. He is committed to you if you commit to Him (John 15:4). In the modern age we are living in, we need the guidance of Jesus Christ more than ever. He knows who His children are and they hear His voice and follow Him (John 10:27).
The desires of the world bring no satisfaction. The world will never fill the void that only Jesus Christ can fill because Jesus is the true vine (John 15:1-3).
To uplift us with the words of the Hebrews writer “looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Heb. 12:2)