Temptation seems to lurk around every corner. No matter where we turn there’s usually someone or something ready and willing to make us fall. Even though our spirit deeply desires to please God, our flesh desires the exact opposite. Paul said it best when he proclaimed:
I have discovered this principle of life– that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. – Romans 7:21 (NLT).
Even being a man as righteous and God-fearing as Paul was, he still found a constant struggle in dealing with temptation. See, the devil is quite crafty when it comes to getting God’s children to fall. It’s sad to say, but it’s true. The enemy knows that if we continuously fall into temptation, we will never make any real progress in our relationship with God. That’s exactly what he wants. A man or woman that is constantly falling into sin becomes ineffective in the kingdom of God.
Have you noticed that your temptations almost always seem to be the same? The enemy knows our weaknesses and will continue to throw temptations at us according to our weaknesses! To the person that struggles with sexual immorality, the devil will constantly throw pornography and sexual thoughts at you. To the person that has a bad temper, the enemy will constantly put you in situations that will tempt you to lose your cool. Whatever sin we struggle with becomes the temptation that constantly shows up at the door.
Like me, you’ve probably gotten to a point where you’re fed up with falling into temptation. The only problem is: how in the world do we overcome the people or things that tempt us? Temptation seems way too powerful to overcome, right? Well, guess what? It’s not. In fact if we adhere closely to the Word of God, we can make every temptation weak and scrawny in our sight. I’m going to reveal two keys components we must follow in order to destroy every temptation that comes our way.
If we take a look at Jesus, we can answer our temptation dilemma. Matthew 4:1-11 tells us how Jesus destroyed temptation and how we can too. Before Jesus began His ministry, He fasted forty days and forty nights (Matthew 4:2). This is our first key. When Jesus fasted, He was essentially killing His flesh and empowering His spirit. Paul shows us how important killing our flesh is:
Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. – Galations 5:24 (NLT).
For if you live by its dictates, you will die. But if through the power of the Spirit you put to death the deeds of your sinful nature, you will live. – Romans 8:13 (NLT).
To crucify, or kill our flesh (which is our sinful nature), we must do so by praying daily, reading God’s word, actively growing closer to Him and fasting on a regular basis. Yes, I said fasting on a regular basis. This doesn’t mean that you have to fast every day. But you should fast often. I recently began fasting on a regular schedule. I fast once a week. You can fast from food, your phone, social media, TV, etc. Fasting disciplines our flesh. It let’s our flesh know that we are not subject to it’s desires (which are sinful). Fasting starves the flesh of it’s desires and feeds our spirit with ITS’ desire, which is God. Fasting gives us the ability to say “NO” without hesitation. It empowers us to consistently walk in the Spirit, rather than the flesh. Furthermore, fasting helps keeps our minds pure from the thoughts that lead into temptation.
The second key to destroying temptation is by following Christ’s example when He encountered the devil right after His fast. If you read Matthew 4:1-11, you’ll notice that the enemy immediately tries to tempt Jesus. For the sake of time, we’ll just take a look at the first temptation that was presented to Jesus:
During that time the devil came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become loaves of bread.” But Jesus told him, “No! The Scriptures say, ‘People do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” – Matthew 4:3-4 (NLT).
Notice that Jesus’ response to the temptation was simply proclaiming the Word of God! If you go on to read the other two temptations, all Jesus does is refute those temptations by proclaiming God’s Word! What if you knew a Scripture that goes against your temptation? You would be able to declare the Word of God out loud and destroy that temptation! Using the examples I gave above, the person who struggles with sexual immorality could declare:
God’s will is for you to be holy, so stay away from all sexual sin. – 1 Thess. 4:3 (NLT).
The person who loses their cool easily could declare:
Fools vent their anger, but the wise quietly hold it back. – Proverbs 29:11 (NLT).
By declaring the Word of God, you place God’s authority against your temptation. Now which do you think is stronger? God’s authority, of course!
Ladies and gentlemen, destroying our temptations are very much possible. We don’t have to fall into those sins any longer, if we choose not to. God gave us the power and instructions to overcome every temptation. By killing our flesh constantly (praying, reading, seeking God, fasting, etc) and declaring Scriptures that rival our temptations — we can be just like Jesus and triumph over every sin!
Do you believe that you can destroy your temptations if you apply these principles? What Scriptures can you find to fight against the temptations you’ve struggled with?