Everything in Jesus’ life was completely subjected to the will of His Father. Satan wanted Jesus to fall by tempting Him to use His divine power selfishly and focusing on the visible material kingdom rather than the spiritual kingdom. He wanted Him to seek quick results by sensational means; and gain cheap ungodly popularity by compromise. However, Jesus triumphed over all the temptations of the devil because He totally yielded to God.

Satan and his demons stalk the path of every believer, offering all manner of enticements to lure Christians away from an obedient and walk with Christ. No one is exempted from satanic temptations and unless one walks in the Spirit, one certainly will fall on serious errors. Some Christians succumb to temptations so often that they have lost the hope of living victoriously above sin. This study will enumerate possible temptations that are peculiar among Christians (at home, workplace, church and the society at large) and how disciples of Christ can overcome them.

What Is Temptation?

 Read James 1: 12

Temptations occur in diverse ways. Understanding this fact will enable us to combat them effectively. The only Greek word used for temptation in the New Testament is ‘Pirasmos,’ meaning an enticement to sin; the trial of man’s fidelity, integrity, virtue, and constancy. If temptation is an enticement to sin, the word used for sin is worthy of note. Sin means an offence, missing the way, going wrong, incurring guilt, to miss the mark, to err, to wander from the law of God and so on. The Bible says, “Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.”(James 1:12) Every follower of Christ needs to pray and be determined to overcome temptations so as to break any form of addiction to sin.

Why Do Christians Experience Temptations?

Read Genesis 1: 26-28, Galatians 5:22-23,Galatians 5:16.17

Christians experience and fall into temptations daily because:

Satan tempts Christians so as to destroy their inheritance as children of God: Our inheritance as children of God includes dominion over the world (Genesis 1:26-28) and a personal relationship with God. Satan enticed Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden to disobey God and they forfeited humankind’s dominion over the world and Satan. Jesus Christ, through His death, restored peace between God and humankind.

It is Satan’s aim to keep people enslaved to sin and unable to subdue the world as God intends (Romans 6:16). Satan does this by persuading us to sin through lies. He told Eve that she could be like God if she eats the fruit. Her desire for wisdom and the attractive appearance of the fruit was the winning combination that enticed her to sin(Genesis 3:6).Whenever we follow the dictates of our signature, two things happen to us: Our sinful nature will prevent us from enjoying the fruits of inheritance as sons of God and also, prevent us from being able to please God(Galatians 5:22-23,Galatians 5:16.17).

We often times allow our imaginations to be based on evil instead of godly thoughts: Anytime we as Christians entertain evil thoughts, we are engaging the power of our imagination to create sin. Such imaginations are against God because they are based on evil thoughts. For example, downloading pornography films or clips from the internet to hand the bait that Satan uses to get many people to fantasize about sex. It is wrong and sinful to entertain such thoughts of adultery, fornication and other sexual sins. Read Matthew 5:28.

We often fail simple tests of our faith: God does not send temptation to us (James 1:13), but He may allow us to be tempted for a period of time to test the sincerity of our faith(James 1:2-4;1 Peter 1:6-7;1 Corinthians 10:13).When we fail to manifest the fruit of the Spirit vis-à-vis patience and do not look sufficiently unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith, then the result is that we easily succumb to temptation.

Recognizing Four Stages of Temptation

Read James 1:12-15, l Timothy 6:9-10, Luke 4:5-6

There are four stages of temptations that James identifies in our scriptural passage today (James 1:12-15). When we recognize these four stages, then we can take actions against them.

Drag away and entice (v.14): The first stage occurs when sin drags one away from righteousness. For example, the craving or love for money in our society is dragging many away. This foolish and harmful desire is leading people away from the faith and plunging them into ruin, destruction and grief (l Timothy 6:9-10). Ananias and Sapphira yielded to it by filling their hearts with evil ideas that led them to lie to the Holy Spirit after keeping aside some of the money they got from selling their land. Examine yourself, what is dragging and enticing you to sin: is it money, women, men, pride, lie etc.? Jesus refused to be lured. He was tempted with food (after fasting for 40 days and night) and power(Luke 4:5-6),yet He defeated the Devil and He remained steadfast in God. He did not yield to temptation

Conception (v.15a): Conception occurs at the point when we open the doors of our hearts to the temptation instead of rejecting it; when we give temptation a place in our hearts instead of treating it like an enemy. It can happen within few seconds.

Sin is born (v.15b): When evil desires are conceived, the products are sinful thoughts and actions. For example, sexual sin occurs when we respond to the temptation in our imaginations to speculate about sexual activities based on evil source or thoughts. Such as, what would it be like what would it feel like and so on? This accounts for Paul’s encouragement to Christians to wake up to their responsibility of, The Bible says, “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.”(2 Corinthians 10:5)

Death (v.15c): God’s Word tells us that the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23).

Our sins always cause death either physically, emotionally or spiritually. For example, Satan tempted Eve and she died spiritually. He lied to her that she would not die. He tempted her to disobey God who had earlier warned them that they would die if they eat the fruit. Satan said that the fruit would make them be like God. When Eve sinned, four things died in her life: her innocence, marital harmony, relationship with God and peace (Genesis 3:12-16).

How to Overcome Temptation

Read Matthew 26:4: Hebrews 2:18;4:8;2 Peter 2:9, 2 Timothy 2:22, 1 Corinthians 10:13, Hebrews 3:1-2, Isaiah 33:15-16, John 14:16,26 ,

Seven actions to be taken in order to overcome temptations are:

Pray for help: The first thing we can do when faced with temptation is to pray for help. We must understand that our prayers will enable God’s power to strengthen us (Matthew 26:4: Hebrews 2:18;4:8;2 Peter 2:9). It can be a simple prayer that is direct to the point like:” Jesus, help me.”

Flee: The second thing is to flee the temptation. When Joseph was cornered by Potiphar’s wife in Genesis 39:6-13, pestering him for sex, he did not hesitate to flee. Paul instructed Timothy to flee youthful lust.(2 Timothy 2:22).

Seek the way out: The third thing to do is to look for the way out of the temptation. If we can flee out rightly, then that is a way out of it. God promises that He will provide a way out of the temptation for us(1 Corinthians 10:13).

Self control: Control your body, especially your eyes and hand in order to honor God. We can turn our eyes away from the temptation, cover our eyes and ears, shut off the temptation source and so on(Isaiah 33:15-16).

Recognize the lies: Recognize the lies behind the temptation. We do this in partnership with the Holy Spirit who will remind us of the truth and counsel us on what to do(John 14:16,26).

Apply the truth: The sixth thing to do is to take control of the thought and apply the truth. Do not allow your minds to dwell on tempting thought nor construct fantasies around it. Remember that our minds can generate evil thoughts in response to a temptation in less than a second. Therefore, we should treat the tempting thoughts as enemies and give them no consideration. We should correct the lies with the truth(Sword of the Spirit) as Jesus did to Satan.(Luke 4)Jettison the evil thought from your mind.

Redirect: The seventh thing to do is to redirect our thoughts to pure topics in order to minimize the possibility of recurrence of such thoughts. Pure topics such as: things above (Colossians 3:1-2); Jesus (Hebrews 3:1-2); things that are honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report, virtuous and praiseworthy (Philippians4:8).

Further Bible Check about Temptation

Luke 22: 40, John 8: 6, Mathew 6: 13, Luke 11: 4, Luke 4: 13, 1 Corinthians 7: 2, 1 Corinthians 10: 13, Mathew 4: 7, Mark 8: 11, Mathew 22: 18, James : 1-4, 1 Peter 4: 13, 2 Peter 2: 9, Galatians 4: 14, 1 Thessalonians 3: 5, 1 Timothy 5: 8, 1 Timothy 6: 9, Mathew 26: 41, Mark 14: 38, Luke 22: 40, Psalm 26: 2, Jeremiah 17: 10, Ephesians 6: 11, James 1: 12-13.