Victory in the Battle Against Temptation
When you break it down, victory over the sin of addiction is victory over temptation - the temptation to sin. Our natural fallen desire to sin must be transformed into a righteous desire to please God which from a purely human capacity is impossible and in direct contradiction to our nature. It is only by the supernatural power of God's grace that a person's natural desire to sin can be transformed into a desire to please God in righteousness.
The prophet Jeremiah explained perfectly the human condition without the transforming power of God's grace: "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?" (Jeremiah 17:9)
But even as Christians, saved and transformed by the blood of Jesus Christ, we still struggle against temptation for the time that we are here in the flesh. So the question becomes, "Just what is the most powerful way, as we grow in sanctification, to obtain victory over the temptations of the flesh"? This question - especially during the time in which we live, in which so much Christian teaching has come to look outside of the Word, or added to the Word from the teachings of psychology, psychiatry, new age philosophy, secular recovery, etc... is a very important one to address. And, with the hope of not seeming to overly simplistic, might we now consider turning back to the founder and perfecter of our faith and casting aside the influences of this world for the needed victory over the age old battle against the temptation to sin? Might Jesus our Savior have provided the means of victory for us in this battle?
Consider the greatest single onslaught of temptation that any human has ever had to endure - the temptation that Jesus faced in the desert and the victory He claimed over it. Also, as you read through this section of scripture please bear in mind that when Jesus faced these temptations he had fasted for forty days and forty nights out in the desert by Himself. Jesus also knew what lay ahead for Him in just three years. He knew that He was moving toward the time when His closest followers would desert Him, when He would be betrayed by one of His own apostles, when He would be arrested and accused falsely, then spat on, ridiculed, tortured, and stripped naked and hung from a cross by those He came to save. But beyond all the ridicule and physical pain Jesus knew as Satan tempted Him that He would have to take on Himself the sins of all mankind and endure the wrath of His Father in order to atone for our transgressions - in order to save us from that horrific and justified wrath.
Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.
And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.
And the tempter came and said to him, "If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread."
But he answered, "It is written, "'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.'"
Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple
and said to him, "If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written, "'He will command his angels concerning you,' and "'On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.'"
Jesus said to him, "Again it is written, 'You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.'"
Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory.
And he said to him, "All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me."
Then Jesus said to him, "Be gone, Satan! For it is written, "'You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.'"
Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and were ministering to him. - Matthew 4:1-11
All the Lord had to do in order to avoid what He knew He would soon endure was to give in to Satan's temptations. But by giving in to Satan, the Lord Jesus would have been abandoning us to eternal damnation. Because of love for us He stood firm, fought of the temptations of Satan and the devil left Him.
When we are faced with temptations, why would we ever consider looking for a solution other than what Jesus Himself shows us so clearly in His Word? Jesus, when tempted declared "It is written" in response to each temptation and the power of the Word proclaimed faithfully gave Him the victory. For whatever temptations we struggle against, for whatever attacks Satan unleashes on us through the enticements of this world, Jesus shows us the way to victory - through His Word!
looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. - Hebrews 12:2
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Chad Prigmore is Pastor and President of The Way R122 Ministry USA & Kenya.