"...nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are upon You."
There came a time in the life of Peter when Jesus said to him, "...assuredly, I say to you that this night, before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times." In reply to this Peter boasted, "Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You!" Matthew 26:34-35.
Well most Christians know the story; only a few hours after Jesus predicted Peter's denial he did in fact deny Jesus. Now Peter had spent around three years with Jesus when this temptation beset him; my point? Just like Peter we all have our areas of vulnerability which, if not dealt with through discipline and character development, could defeat or even destroy us.
So what can we do to gain the victory over temptation?
1) Recognize what usually precedes temptation.
Before a Christian yields to temptation they go through certain stages. Neglecting prayer and bible reading is how it usually starts. When you do this, you become indifferent to God and insensitive to danger.
The next step is you'll start to rationalize your disobedience thinking to yourself, 'nobody knows, and besides what harm will it do?' Once you begin to silence your God-given conscience your carnal appetites will grow stronger. When your carnal appetites start taking hold, you'll begin to surround yourself with people who do the same things, or are at least are willing to turn a blind eye.
Jesus said, "Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation..." Mark 14:34. In others words, be aware that sin is always crouching at your door waiting to get a foothold, so pray for strength to stand against temptation. Genesis 4:7 says, "...sin lies at the door and its desire is for you, but you should rule over it."
2) Reach out for help.
When Jehoshaphat found himself in a battle with an enemy much greater and stronger, he turned to God and prayed, "...we have no power against this great multitude that is coming against us; nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are upon You," 2 Chronicles 20:12.
Jehoshaphat knew that he could not defeat this enemy on his own, but he knew who to turn to for help. The secret to gaining the victory over temptation is found in knowing that you can't do it by yourself; it's found in leaning less on yourself and more on God.
3) Confess your faults.
Sometimes a Christian can be so weighed down with temptation and sin that they don't even have the strength to turn to God. What are you to do? Turn to a trusted believer; confess your faults and be healed. Great blessing is released when faults are confessed, and prayed for by others.
James writes, 'Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much,' James 5:16
Dear reader, whatever temptation you're facing, take it to God. Take it all to God no matter how ashamed you might feel about it. God loves you; He's seen it all, and He's there for you.
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Next post: Dealing with temptation (2) A plan for victory.