James (pt 3) - How to Win Over Temptation
We are all tempted by different things at different levels. There are desires that drag us away from what we know we should do. Sometimes it’s not the desires themselves that are wrong, but the way we satisfy those longings is... for example, a few Oreos isn’t going to affect your waistline the way a package of Oreos will. Do you know where you are prone to temptation? How can we see and recognize temptation, and rightly overcome it?
1. Be realistic. When you are tempted...not IF but when! Honestly, there are things that our enemy the devil will send our way on purpose to try and get us off the track God’s set out for us.
2. Be responsible. We are to look at ourselves and recognize that the choice is ours, only ours! Temptation is not wrong - it just shows us where we have weakness that remains in our lives. We need to recognize the temptation, call it what it is, and choose the right thing.
3. Be ready. Prepare yourself to not be misled - there’s a spiritual reality that is warring for my soul. Understanding how it works equips is to overcome.
A. It starts with desires. Most desires are natural and God given (food, sex, justice, freindship, etc) but the enemy will try to convince us to satisfy that desire in an ungodly way.
B. Deception is, well, deceiving. There are certain phrases of permission that slowly warm us up to minimize the means to satisfy our desires in that ungodly way.
C. Disobedience happens when we’ve allowed ourselves to be convinced enough to decide that the way we want the thing we want isn’t as sinful as God says it is, or we have solidified our excuses enough to ‘enjoy’ the satisfaction of our desire. Beware - James says that disobedience leads to death!
4. Be refocused. If we just focus on the thing we shouldn’t do... we’re still thinking about the thing! Take that desire and ask God how He says to rightly live it out. Overcoming temptation is worth it - it spares us from heartache and loss, and opens up the possibilities to bless and bring life to those around us
5. Be reborn. It’s never going to work for you, overcoming temptation, without Jesus being your savior! It’s His power, and in His Kingdom, that we can find freedom. There are a myriad of ways this world offers for us to accomplish whatever we think we should do - but He’s the one who knows us better than ourselves. He’s the one who brings freedom that lasts.