I messed up again. Forgive me, God, again. Please forgive me. I don’t know why I struggle with this. It’s wrong, and I know it’s wrong, and I try so hard to battle it, but I fail. I feel like David going up against Goliath with no stones. Father, I know that your Son has put my sins to death on the cross and left them there, setting me free, but Lord I keep messing up…
Confession time: I am a repeat sinner. There have been so many times that I have been tempted, and though I tried real hard not to fall, I give in to temptation when it gets too much quicker than Eve convinced Adam to eat the “unidentified fruit” in the Garden. Of course, because of the Holy Spirit, I immediately feel guilty and go crawling back to God, who in His awesome love, forgives me. I promise not to do it again, but I eventually falter, sending myself into a never-ending cycle of temptation until I feel completely hopeless when battling Satan and his temptations.
Maybe you can relate. Maybe you too have struggled with temptation. Maybe you too have felt the brute of Satan’s arrows. What do we do when we feel like we’re being pressured to give in to temptation? What do we do when feel like we’re David going up against Goliath, and we have no stones?
Here are a few Biblical tips on how to battle and overcome temptation:
- Recognize the difference between temptation and sin.
I think many Christians (myself included) forget about this. Temptation is what Satan does to try to get us to sin. Sin is a disobedience/rejection of God’s way. Do you see the difference? So many times I have felt guilty about Satan’s temptations that I feel utterly hopeless in resisting them. Temptation itself is not sin, and I think it is important to remember. Jesus Christ, our Savior and Perfecter of our faith, was tempted by Satan himself in the wilderness, and He was without sin. Satan doesn’t win the battle by tempting us. He wins when we take that next step and give in to temptation.
2. Don’t fall into the guilt and shame trap.
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus –Romans 8:1
I am not trying to make light of our sin. Our sin rejects and separates us from God. He hates our sin so much that He sent His Son to die for it. Our sin should make us feel guilty, and call us to repentance, but once we’ve asked for forgiveness, we shouldn’t wallow in it. I think shame of our past sins (and shame for even being tempted) is something that Satan tries to uses us to separate us further from a God who has already set us free.
Take the helmet of Salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is God’s Word. –Ephesians 6:17
There is a reason getting studying and meditating on God’s Word daily is so important. If we are truly modeling our lives after Jesus, we know that we cannot truly overcome temptation without it. When Jesus was being tempted, he combated Satan with God’s Word! He knew what Scripture said, so that when Satan reared his ugly head and tried to tempt him, he stood against him. God’s word is powerful and effective. For more about the powerfulness of God’s word, check out: Wound Me.
And do not bring us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen –Matthew 6:13
Every time I think of battling temptation with prayer, I think of the movie War Room and the lady yelling at Satan to leave her house. I’m not saying you have to create a War Room (FYI: my roommate and I are trying to make one, and it’s been going great!), but you need to be praying fiercely to God. There is power in the name of Jesus, and at his name, Satan will flee. God will fight our battles for us. He will give us the stones to defeat Goliath if we only ask him.
5. Know Your Triggers
Be angry and do not sin. Don’t let the sun go down on your anger, and don’t give the Devil an opportunity. –Ephesians 4:26-27
This is a hard one, but it is really important. If anyone would ask me about practical ways to fight temptation, I would tell them to know your triggers. What has Satan used before to tempt you to sin? Know your triggers and do not get yourself into situations that might cause you to sin. For example, if you struggle with the temptation to watch pornography, don’t spend time watching R-rated movies with a lot of vulgarity and sexually explicit scenes. If you are tempted to drink alcohol (not that I’m saying alcohol itself is bad, just using it for an illustration), try not to go to places where there is a lot of heavy drinking. Sometimes you will be put into situations you cannot help and sometimes it will feel like the temptations are coming out of nowhere, but one of the main ways Satan gets us to sin is by tempting us a little at a time. Knowing what triggers Satan uses to get us to sin will help us be more tactful in battling against him.
And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of the parts of your body than for your whole body to go into hell! -Matthew 5:30
This is the hardest thing when it comes to temptation. We can pray and read Scripture and call out to God (which is the MOST important), but if we truly want to overcome Satan’s temptations, it takes disciple. I know what you’re thinking. Krystal, I’ve been battling with this sin for years, and you’re telling me to just..stop? It’s not that easy! No, it really isn’t. That’s why we need Jesus, who has overcome sin. Trust me, I know how hard it is, but if it was easy, we would not be in this situation in the first place.
My mom has been smoking ever since she was a teenager. Recently, she has tried to quit, and so far, it has been going well. It took her getting to a point where she finally said no to the temptation to smoke. Overcoming temptation takes choosing not to sin, and continuing not to sin. Satan will tempt us, and sometimes we will give in, but each time he tempts us, we have a new choice of whether or not to fall into his traps.
We have to be tactful. For example, if you are being tempted when you are alone in your room, try getting out of the room and going for a walk or doing something to get your mind off of the thing that is tempting you. Or if you need to be held accountable for whatever is tempting you, try talking with a close friend and becoming accountability partners.
7. Celebrate victory
Now the sting of death is sin and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ! –1 Corinthians 15:56-57
Satan will tempt us. There will be days when we fall into temptation, but there will be days when we overcome it. There will be days when we say resist his advances, drawing nearer to Jesus, and he will flee from us. On those days, rejoice. Celebrate the victory of having overcome temptation, even if it was something you view as silly or small. Celebrate it because Christ celebrates with you. This has helped me in battling temptation because it reminds me that I can overcome it and helps me to resist the devil the next time he rears his ugly head.
We have a real Enemy. Scripture tells us that Satan is seeking to kill and destroy God’s people. From the very moment he tempted Eve in the Garden, he has been at odds with God and his people.
Have you ever killed or seen someone else kill a snake? The deadly blow to a snake is when you chop off or smash its head, but even after, it will fling itself around for a little bit until it ultimately dies. Satan is a snake. At the cross, Christ delivered the deadly blow. He defeated him, but right now, Satan is trying to take as many as he can down with him until he is ultimately destroyed in the second coming of Christ.
Sometimes it will feel like we are suffocating and there is no hope against Satan’s arrows. It will feel like we cannot ever overcome our temptations. But we are children of a God who has overcame Satan, sin, and death. When Satan comes at us, we can resist because we know that our God has overcome.
Longest. Blog post. Ever. I hope that in some way, this has encouraged you to know that even though your battle against Satan’s temptations seems hopeless, you can overcome him because Jesus has overcome for you! If you struggle with temptation, what are some practical things you do to defeat it? Let me know in the comments below! God bless.