Overcoming Temptation

This week we are talking about overcoming temptation. Last week we looked at the power of our tongue.  The things that we say matter.  What we confess we will possess.  Today, I want to look at another extremely important topic: temptation.  We know that regardless of who you are on this earth temptation affects everyone.  

When we know the secret to overcoming temptation, we can grow in our maturity and usefulness in the kingdom of God. 

Our Text

2 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;

3 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.

4 But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.

James 1:2-4 KJV

Temptations are the waring of spirit against flesh

What do I mean?  Temptations happen when each one of us is drawn away by our flesh.  It says so in James 1:14.  Temptations win when we allow the voice of our flesh to speak louder than the voice of our spirit. 

24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?

25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.

Romans 7:24-25 KJV

This is what Paul is talking about.  He forces his mind onto the things of the Bible (the law) even though his flesh serves sin.  

Our body (flesh) doesn’t receive a new birth when we get saved.  That means it still wants to do all the old things it wanted to do before salvation.  

It is up to us to feed one side of this war or the other.  We can either choose to do what our flesh wants to do, or we can choose to do what our spirit wants us to do.  

Which ever side we feed the most will be the strongest in our lives.  The whole point of renewing the mind (Romans 12:2) is to make your awareness of the spirit so much more than the flesh.  

Whatever you feed grows

8 For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.

Galatians 6:8 KJV

This is the point.  Feed the spirit and starve the flesh.  Do what your spirit wants to do, and replace what your flesh desires with what the spirit desires.  

You cannot overcome temptations simply by willing yourself not to think or do something.  You succeed when you replace the old with new.  

You have to be so focused on the new habits that you no longer have time for the old bad habits.  

THAT is how maturity happens.  

If you want to be different you have to DO DIFFERENT THINGS

It sounds simple when you say it like that, but it is the truth.  We have heard a thousand times the quote, but it’s true.

“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

— Albert Einstein

It starts by making different habits when it comes to spending time with God.  

Things to do to overcome temptation

Now I want to look at a few things that you can specifically do to feed your spirit more than your flesh. (aka overcome temptations).

  1. Pray in Tongues

Praying in tongues builds yourself up on your most holy faith.  It makes you more sensitive to God’s leadings and His voice.  (Plus it’s pretty hard to cuss or smoke or drink when you’re speaking at the same time.)

20 But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost,

Jude 1:20 KJV
  1. Worship

When you worship you are getting your mind off of what you want and on to what God wants.  That is the fastest way to overcome a temptation.  

We know the story of Paul and Silas praying and singing praises.  Their chains broke off when they worshipped God.  Mind you they were just beaten!  It wasn’t exactly like the ideal – most comfortable time – to worship God.

  1. Confess Scriptures / Read Bible

Remember as we were talking about last week.  Take that confession sheet and confess the Bible over yourself.  

All of these things will feed your spirit more than your flesh. That is the key to success. See temptation for what it is. An opportunity to press further into God’s Word. Overcoming temptation leads to maturity in Christ.