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Triumph Over Temptation
How can a Christian resist sinful temptations? Whenever a person is saved, a great struggle begins. He still has the old nature; the sinful nature of Adam, which will try to drag him into sin all the time. But he also has the new nature, the life of God, which hates sin and wants to do what is right. The two natures fight against each other continually. The question is which will win. The answer is, the one you feed. Galatians 5:16-17; Romans 8:5-8.
The old nature is incurably bad. It cannot be improved, and it will not be removed until the Christian goes home to heaven. God condemned it when Christ died on the Cross, and He wants Christians to treat it as if it were dead. Don't encourage it! Don't feed it! Don't give it a chance! Romans 13:14.
The new nature inspires the Christian to do good. It should be encouraged and fed. This, then, is how the Christian resists temptation - by saying "No" to the world, the flesh and the devil. At the same time he must nourish the new life that is within. The following are practical suggestions as to how this may be done:
A. Read the Bible! Study it! Memorize it! Meditate on it! Obey it! Psalm 119:9, 11.
There we learn that the Word of God helps to keep us from sinning. Be sure, therefore, that you set aside a definite time each day for the reading of God's Word. Colossians 3:16.
B. Pray without ceasing!
Whenever you are faced with temptation, ask God for help. Hebrews 4:16. He will give you the strength to overcome. I Corinthians 10: 13. If you try to resist by your own strength, you will surely fail.
C. Seek the companionship of fellow-believers and not of the ungodly! Proverbs 1:10-16; Hebrews 10:24-25.
It is often necessary to work and live with unbelievers, and in such cases we should witness to them both with our lips and by our lives. But we should not join with them in their worldly pleasures and amusements. Ephesians 5:10.
D. Confess your sins immediately! I John 1:9.
As soon as you are conscious that you have grieved your Father by a sinful thought, word or deed, ask His forgiveness immediately. Do not wait until evening or until the end of the week. Proverbs 28:13.
E. Keep busy for the Lord!
Someone has said that idle hands are the devil's workshop. Give your body to the Lord to use it as He desires! Romans 6:19. There is plenty of work to be done, and you will be serving the best of masters.
F. Engage in some physical exercise!
Bodily exercise is profitable. I Timothy 4:8. Because the believer's body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, he should use reasonable means in maintaining his body in good health and strength. However, he should not allow sports to assume such an important place that spiritual things are crowded out. I Corinthians 6:19-20.
G. Starve the old nature!
Be careful what you read, what you watch, where you go, and what you listen to. Colossians 3:5-9.
H. Feed the new nature!
Be occupied with Christ! When you are thinking about Him, you cannot be thinking about sin. Colossians 3:10-14. This is really the secret of holy living - occupation with Christ. It is a fixed rule in life that we become like the object of our worship. II Corinthians 3:18 teaches us that we become like the Lord Jesus as we behold Him in the mirror (glass) of His Word. The Holy Spirit who dwells within us changes us into His image and likeness. Occupation with others brings distraction. Occupation with self brings distress. Occupation with Christ brings delight.
I. One final word! You will notice from the foregoing that deliverance from temptation is not a once for all experience, but a continual process of depending on God. No matter how old we get, or how much we may learn about the Bible, we are still in danger of yielding to temptation if we take our eyes off the Lord. A very godly man used to pray that God would keep him from dying as a wicked old man. We all need to pray the same prayer. Colossians 3:1-4.