27 Question 3

First of all, I want to assure you, that through Christ you can overcome your temptations.  Let’s look at Romans 12:21, “Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.”  Here, the Lord tells us not to let our temptations take control of us.  Remember, the Lord never asks us to do anything that He doesn’t give us the power to do.  1 Corinthians 10:13 says, “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”  Whatever temptation you are struggling with, others have had the same struggle.  There is no need to think that you are going through something that no one else has ever had to deal with.  We’re also assured in this verse that the Lord will not allow us to face more that we are able to handle.  In other words: you can be victorious over your temptations.

So, how can we be victorious over our temptations?  How can we overcome evil with good?  The best example we have is the Lord Jesus Christ, Himself, as He was tempted of the devil.  Let’s read Matthew 4:1-11, “Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred. And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.  Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him.”

In this familiar account, the Lord was tempted by the devil at the end of a forty day fast.  Notice that the Spirit led the Lord into the wilderness so that He would be tempted.  Let me point out, that the Lord Jesus was not tempted to see if He would sin.  He was tempted to prove that He could not sin.  As the spotless Lamb of God, we know that He was, “…holy, harmless, undefiled…” as we read in Hebrews 7:26.

Notice how the Lord Jesus responded to each temptation.  Here we see that He was tempted three times, and each time the Lord responded by saying, “It is written.”  Even when the devil improperly quoted the scriptures to the Lord Jesus, He responded with a proper application of the scripture.  How do we apply that to ourselves today when we are tempted?  Well, if we are tempted to commit adultery, we remind ourselves that the Word of God says in Exodus 20:14, “Thou shalt not commit adultery.”  If we are tempted to tell a joke that is inappropriate, we remind ourselves that the Word of God says in Ephesians 4:29, “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.”  If we are tempted to get back at someone that hurt us, or to tell a lie, we remind ourselves that the Word of God says in Romans 12:17, “Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men.”  Even as the Lord Jesus relied upon the scriptures to combat the tempter, so should we.  By using the Bible to overcome the temptations we face, we honor the Lord because we are acting in obedience to His perfect Word.

Let’s also look at Galatians 5:16, “This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.”  This is such an important principle for believers to keep in mind.  When we walk according to the leading of the Spirit, we will not fulfill the lust, or temptation of our flesh.  That means we will not give in to our fleshly, sinful desires.  I encourage you to be in God’s Word every day.  Read it, meditate upon it, and obey it.  With your heart and mind upon the Lord Jesus, you will find the temptation to sin will be much easier to overcome.

I’m reminded of the words of an old hymn that says: Turn your eyes upon Jesus.  Look full in His wonderful face.  And the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.