Summary: How we react to temptations often determines our spiritual growth and maturity
HOW TO SURVIVE TEMPTATIONS
INTRO: It’s a fact! Christians are going to face trials in the form of temptations. Yet good can always come out of even the most severe trials. Although Satan desires otherwise, God always desires that the very best come from trials. Jesus made this clear in Luke 22:31-32 when he told Simon that Satan desired to sift him. Just as it requires more cuts from the jeweler’s chisel to bring out the inherent beauty in a precious stone, so are trials often necessary to bring out the hidden beauty of a Christian.
In our text Paul deals with the subject of temptation. The KJV translation of the Greek word ðåéñáóìὸò peirasmos (temptation) also refers to trials or testings. How we react to these difficulties often determines our spiritual growth and maturity (see James 1:3-4).
I. HOW TO PREPARE FOR TEMPTATION.
Since Jesus Himself experienced temptations we should expect them ourselves. But take hope. Just as the Master faced them and won, so can the Christian master temptation. Jesus was in all points tempted like we are, yet without sin. Hebrews 4:15-16 tells us how we gain strength to deal with temptations.
What helped Jesus deal with temptations? Prior preparations through mastering the Scriptures enabled him to ward off the tempter. In each temptation He quoted Scripture. To prepare for temptation, we must saturate our minds with Scripture to stand firm.
The Old Testament saints overcame difficult or impossible situations and turned defeat into victory. They merit our study, and the examples they provide can often supply the answer to overcoming temptation (see Psalm 119:11).
II. HOW TO PREVENT FALLING TO TEMPTATION.
An old saying applies perfectly to the problem of temptation: Prevention is the best cure. This is not to say that we can prevent temptation from coming; we cannot. But we can do something to prevent falling prey to the overwhelming power of temptation.
Paul gave some practical advice in v. 12. Paul was referring to our basic attitude toward temptation and the danger of becoming presumptuous. Presumption on the part of the Christian is a deadly weakness. Paul said that we should never allow ourselves to think that we are strong enough to stand alone (see Romans 12:3). Proud and Haughty as well.
III. HOW TO PREVAIL AGAINST TEMPTATION.
To defeat an enemy one must first understand him. To overcome temptation we must also completely understand it. This is not the same as First Hand Knowledge. So that we can overcome the temptations that come our way, Paul described its nature (v. 13).
First, temptation is something that is not exceptional to anyone; we all have to face it.
Second, God both allows and limits it. He knows our limits and will not allow temptation to exceed our capacity to withstand it. In Job, the Lord allowed Satan to try Job; but in each case limits were set.
Third, God always provides a way of escape. The Greek word used is åêâáóὶí ekbasin and denotes the picture of an army, trapped in the mountains, which is able to escape from an impossible situation through a pass. God will provide a way of escape, even as He provided a solution to the problem of Abraham as he prepared to sacrifice Isaac.