"You pray… and fast… and read the word… and go to church… and beg God to take away every temptation. If you’re ever going to win the war over temptation in your life..."
“And Jesus full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness for forty days, being tempted by the devil.” – Luke 4:1-2
“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” – Hebrews 4:15-16
Temptation is something that we all must face. All of us do face. And all of us will continue to face. One of the lies that the devil wants God’s people to believe is that “if we get close enough to God… if we pray enough… if we fast enough… if we read the Word enough… if we go to church enough… that someday the temptations will go away, and then we can be victorious over sin.” First of all, that simply isn’t true. Secondly, it is a dangerous thing to believe because as long as you believe that you will continue to give in to your temptations when they come. In other words, you reason with giving in to your sinful temptations with a mindset like this: “God, I’ll stop this sinning when you take away the temptation to sin. If you’ll just remove the desire to compromise, I’ll never compromise again!” So, you pray… and fast… and read the word… and go to church… and beg God to take away every temptation. If you’re ever going to win the war over temptation in your life, here are four facts that you must embrace and live accordingly to:
1. Temptation is never going away; at least not on this side of heaven. You must fight it, not wish it away. Plain and simple: You must choose to say “no”. And yes, you do have the power to say NO.
2. Temptation is part of the Spirit-led life. Jesus was tempted. In fact, the temptation of Luke 4 happened as Jesus was “led by the Spirit in the wilderness”. Just because you battle temptations does not mean that you are a bad person. It means that you’re human. That said, if you’re going to win the battle, if you’re going to live victoriously – you must learn how to say “no” to temptation.
3. Jesus sympathizes with you. He knows how it feels to be tempted in every way that you have. He can relate to you, and consequently He sympathizes with you. Let that sink in. God is not angry with us because we are tempted. He sympathizes with us.
4. If you need help, there is help. “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Did you hear that? Let us… draw near to the throne… with confidence! The primary reason many people fail in the face of temptation is that they choose not to pray about it. Pray about it before you make the choice. Go to God with confidence and confess your weakness and ask Him to help you make the right choice that deep in your heart you know you need to make. God answers prayers. And through Christ, you can do all things! When you face temptations, go to God in prayer with confidence knowing that He sympathizes with you. God is not going to shame you for your weakness. Instead, He will give you grace and mercy in your time of need.