Summary: All Christians struggle with different areas of temptation. These seven strategies lay the groundwork for believers, no matter what their problems, to gain victory and hope. This will bless your congregation.
7 STRATEGIES TO OVERCOME TEMPTATION
1. I heard about an elderly lady who came into a church one Sunday morning. A friendly usher greeted her and asked, “Hello Mam. Where would you like to sit?”
2. She said, “I would like to sit on the very front row.” He said, “Oh no, Mam, you don’t want to do that! Our pastor is very boring; he’ll put you to sleep. Let me seat you somewhere else!”
3. She was appalled. She said, “Sir, do you know who I am?” He said, “No Mam.” She said, “I am the pastor’s mother.”
4. He hung his head in embarrassment. Finally, he looked up and said, “Mam, do you know who I am?” She said, “No.” He said, “Thank God!” and slipped out.
B. STEPS TO OVERCOMING TEMPTATION
1. Today I’m talking about temptation.
2. We’re going to look at “7 Strategies to Overcome Temptation.” First…
I. REALIZE: EVERYBODY IS TEMPTED
A. DEFINITION OF TEMPTATION
1. Temptation means - “To entice to do wrong by promise of pleasure or gain.”
2. “To make trial of; test.”
3. “To provoke, incite, persuade.”
B. HOW WIDESPREAD IS TEMPTAION?
1. 1 Cor. 10:13 “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man.”
2. You are not alone. Everyone is tempted.
3. It’s normal to be tempted. You’re not a horrible person because you’re tempted.
C. IS TEMPTATION THE SAME AS SIN?
1. NO! To be tempted is not sin. However, if we dwell on the sin, then it becomes sin in the heart, even if we don’t do it. (Ex. Mt. 5:28; ‘adultery in the heart’).
2. Old proverb, “You can’t stop the birds from flying over your head, but you can stop them from building a nest in your hair.”
3. James said, “…after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death” (1:15).
4. The key is to NOT let the desire “conceive.” First Eve looked at the fruit, then she touched it, then she plucked & held it. Finally, she bit it. Desire conceived before she bit it. Don’t dwell on it; resist & reject it immediately.
II. KNOW THE 2 SOURCES OF TEMPTATION
There are 2 sources of temptation:
A. FROM THE DEVIL
“Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil” Lk. 4:2.
B. FROM OUR OWN EVIL DESIRES
“When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14 but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed” James 1:13-14. Often we are our own worst enemies!
III. BE AWARE OF WHEN TEMPTATIONS COME
A. AT OUR WEAKEST MOMENT
In our WEAKEST MOMENTS. Christ had been fasting 40 days when Satan tempted Him to use His power to produce bread.
B. WHEN UNDER PRESSURE
When we’re UNDER PRESSURE. Anxiety, fears, & other strong emotions such as anger or pride cause us to make choices not in line with God’s will.
C. WHEN PHYSICALLY SICK
When PHYSICALLY SICK. Usually when we’re physically down, our faith is usually down. When you’re ill, it’s often difficult to believe God for a healing. That’s why it’s important to call for the elders of the church to pray the prayer of faith. They can do what we’re struggling to do.
D. WHEN THERE ARE BAD CIRCUMSTANCES
When facing BAD CIRCUMSTANCES. This is when our faith in God or His provision/ protection of us is brought into question. It causes a theological crisis. Job was encouraged to curse God.
E. IF GOD IS TRYING TO PROMOTE US, like Joseph. Each time God moved him closer to the throne, it was a time of trouble for him.
IV. CONSIDER THE GOOD THAT RESULTS FROM TEMPTATION
1. “Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what [KJV – “all that”] was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands” Deut. 8:2, NIV. We often discover our weaknesses and our need for dependence on God.
2. ILLUS.: YOUR SINS WILL FIND YOU OUT
a. The story is told about a professional football player who didn’t like to obey curfew, and many nights he sneaked out. He would take blankets & pillows & put them under the covers of his bed, so that when the coach checked his room, it would look like he was sound asleep like all the others.
b. Well, in one city they stayed in a hotel where there weren’t enough extra blankets & pillows. So he improvised by taking the lamp from the nightstand by the bed & putting it underneath the covers. It looked just fine.