Biblical Advice on How to Overcome Temptation

We learn from Scripture that temptation begins in the mind:

Overcome temptation

You can overcome temptation

That is why Paul tells us: "And do not confirm to this world: Be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind..." Romans 12:2.

The battle is for our mind. The victory is first attained in our mind. If we wait until we face the temptation to try to gain the victory over it, only the very strong-willed person might occasionally see a victory; but even that victory is a failure since it is really a victory in the flesh and not in the spirit. Such victories result in dead works. The only true victories are gained in the spirit, attained first in our minds and then revealed in our lives when the temptation comes.

James recognized the role of the mind plays in temptation when he wrote:

"But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when the lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death." James 1:4-15.

That temptation prompts a response in our sinful nature. We have a choice. We can either be drawn away toward it and can see that in our mind, which will result in the sinful act; all we can immediately reject the thoughts that temptation stirred up and turn our mind to God's Word thanking him for victory over that temptation. The battle always begins in our mind and will be either won or lost there.

How does this actually work? Let's use the example of an alcoholic named Jim. Jim has been enlightened by God's Word that drinking is wrong and that the alcoholism is destroying his body. The Spirit has put the desire in Jim to stop drinking. So Jim tries very hard not to drink. However, when problems come his way and stress builds up, the temptation becomes very strong within Jim to go to the bottle. He also sees the ads for alcohol everywhere and thinks about the local bar he often frequented after work. Jim struggles with alcohol time and again and is defeated time and again. This is all very discouraging for him. He pleads with God for victory, but such victory seems out of reach. His promises to do better are constantly broken, and his will to stop drinking seems powerless. The fact is, Jim's will is powerless. Also, Jim's promises can't help but be broken. Why? Jim has not discovered where the battle is actually won, in his mind. Then one day Jim reads the Scripture:

"Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what the nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires." Romans 8:5 NIV

Jean realizes he has been focusing his mind on the wrong things. He has been focusing on the temptation to drink and wrestling with the sinful desire to use alcohol as an escape to help him handle the stresses of life. Now Jim realizes that he must begin focusing on the Spirit's desire for him. Immediately Jim prays:

"Father, forgive me for my sin of alcoholism. Thank you for forgiving me. Fill me with your Spirit and manifest the fruits of the Spirit in my life. Especially manifest the fruits of self-control over alcohol. Thank you for giving me the victory over alcoholism."

Now Jim does more than just pray. He remembers the Scripture that says he must "focus his mind on the Spirit's desire for him." So Jim avoids all advertisements for alcohol. He fills his mind with God's promises of victory and focuses on them as soon as the thought of alcohol tries to enter his mind. When problems and stresses come Jim's way, he immediately concentrates on God's promises to see him through the problems of life. He also claims God's promise to manifest the fruits of self-control in his life and thanks God for the victory. He does not allow himself to think about anything related to alcohol, for those thoughts are of the "flesh" and not of the "Spirit."

The principle is simple. What we dwell alone is what we will do. The mind focused on the sinful nature or flesh will dwell on whatever is temptation for him. In Jim's case, it is alcohol; for others, it might be lust, or food, or money. However, the mind focused on the Spirit will dwell on biblical truth and the fruits of the Spirit God desires to manifest to us (Gal 5:22-23).

Author: Pastor Dennis Smith


Comments

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Benhalima
27 Sep 2012, 17:39
don't kick' the dog outside, but go with him and take his fartvioe toy(s) with you. Let him make the move too play with the toy(s) by showing them, if the dog needs more stimulation you can ask with a high pitched voice if he wants the toy/it .After the dog played for a while leave and go inside around the corner so the dog can't see you, stay out of sight for a short while (1 3 min.). After you come back play with the dog again, you will have to repeat this a couple of times
marla barragan
26 May 2012, 04:31
I and my family will pray for you deeply,our hearts go out to you have faith and believe and all will be well read your bible that is the key to all your troubles i believe that you will be delivered from all your troubles just stay close to god a d he will come close to you and ask god to flee the devil away from you never give up never! Pray for jordan everyone please
Devin
29 Mar 2011, 04:20
Please pray for me. My heart has become and is very wicked, my thoughts are focused on violence - not all of the time nor when I'm angry, but I 'feel' as though I have no emotion. I know I do, I certainly feel compation and pitty, but this is not just my worry but whatever love was in me feels as though it is fading. Lust is my most powerful temptation along with smoking.
I've cried out to god many times, but even in my heart during prayer wicked thoughts come in, deceptive thoughts as though there are two, me and the devil, one begging for help and the other accusing and decieving.

I've been diagnosed with so many things, personality disorder, dysthimia disorder, A.D.D., but whatever is going on with me (it's not me) my physical actions and the thoughts of my heart are on two different fronts.

It's as though I act out what god asks me to do but in my heart I'm as cold and empty as the deepest part of the sea.

I am lost, I have been baptised, I do believe but my sin makes me think otherwise sometimes because I know that I am stepping away from the father.

I'm seeking Much prayer and hope, because alone I'm nothing, I need the Father's help, I need God's help. PLEASE Pray for me. I love you all....Thank you.
Thomas
20 Oct 2010, 17:00
Hello,i have so much troubles and i need speak with somebody,i don't know when i gonna to change just i need your help.The things in my life it's not fine and i don't know how fix them.I lied to God when i said that's i gonna change but no chnge but now i think what it's the moment to change i wait and thanks for read me.
violet warara
24 Aug 2010, 07:41
Thanks for your advice, but why is it that when you pray about something you dont want to do, it even becomes worse to overcome the problem. I am a widow but failing to break my relation with a certain man in life. please help me. thanks
mej
28 Jan 2010, 02:49
dear fren in Christ!
i really got blessed by goin thru the example of Jim's story n u know its very much same of my dad life now by God grace he kept up t habit of alcoholic Praise God!!. m very sinful person who is very weak in promises.every now n then i confessed my sins but most of the times i really cant overcome the worldly pleasure. after i committed t sins i wil always cried out regreting wat i have done. 3 yrs back whenever i come acros i giv advice n encourage frens but now i only doing it ....i really need ur prayer...to always remember me in ur prayer.
thanks
GRACE
14 Dec 2009, 05:57
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Elizabeth
01 Dec 2009, 05:45
Hi Jordan you need to stop self pitying your self ask god for the strength and sincerly mean it to stop this temptation! you need to find productive ways 2 substitute this addiction such as excercising when you are very stressed out and taking out that Ipod joining a gym, a poetry club, attending church, reading inspirational books, and possibly going to bible study classes and releasing your frustration and going on christian chatlines even blogging whatever it takes the battle is in your mind God is waiting for u
Amber Kay
03 Jun 2009, 22:27
Hi Jordan,
I was touched by your trouble. I have you in my thoughts and in my prayers before I sleep.
I understand how you feel. I too have anxiety issues that cause me to overeat for comfort. I have been climbing a mountain for this past year and a half and I am over half way up. I am overcoming fears that threatened my sanity. I count my success to God only. It took me so very long to trust God to care for me but I am almost there. I want you to talk with God about how you feel. I want you to tell him that you trust him and GIVE YOUR PROBLEMS to him. You might keep trying to get them back as times get tough for you but please, give them to God again and again and soon, you wont be able to get them back. Stay Strong Jordan. Remember that everything is in Gods time. One thing I have learned is that God loves you so very much,..He never turns his back on us, we are the ones who turn away. And the humbling part is,...He is right there with open arms when we come back. He will forgive you Jordan and He will always love you no matter what, just like a father does. In the mean time,...maybe you can seek help within your church or maybe a therapist to help. GOD BLESS YOU. Keep me updated.

Amber Kay
03 Jun 2009, 22:26
Hi Jordan,
I was touched by your trouble. I have you in my thoughts and in my prayers before I sleep.
I understand how you feel. I too have anxiety issues that cause me to overeat for comfort. I have been climbing a mountain for this past year and a half and I am over half way up. I am overcoming fears that threatened my sanity. I count my success to God only. It took me so very long to trust God to care for me but I am almost there. I want you to talk with God about how you feel. I want you to tell him that you trust him and GIVE YOUR PROBLEMS to him. You might keep trying to get them back as times get tough for you but please, give them to God again and again and soon, you wont be able to get them back. Stay Strong Jordan. Remember that everything is in Gods time. One thing I have learned is that God loves you so very much,..He never turns his back on us, we are the ones who turn away. And the humbling part is,...He is right there with open arms when we come back. He will forgive you Jordan and He will always love you no matter what, just like a father does. In the mean time,...maybe you can seek help within your church or maybe a therapist to help. GOD BLESS YOU. Keep me updated.

Jordan
03 Mar 2009, 18:39
Hello, I have been struggling so much with eating. It started two months ago. I am enticed. I feel so condemned by God. I can't pray anymore, I think God is super mad at me, as in Proverbs 2, when they don't listen to his rebuke. I've been convicted of it everyday, everytime I eat, it has taken my mind, and complete control of my thoughts and feelings. I feel so guitly. I repent, but go right to it, then I dont pray because I lied to God. I don't know what to do, I am literally dying. I am not producing any fruit, it has made me so selfish into self pity. I can't stop. I know it needs to be the spirits strength, and not my own. I havent trusted God, and I am ignoring it, I am storing up wrath for myself. I need advice, I need prayer, I need this trial to be overcome, I don't want to die, and have God give me over to my sinful desires. I am so sorrowful, I can't speak, I hate myself.

Please help me in anyway, thank you for your wisdom in this topic..

-Jordan
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