Do you ever feel stuck in sin? Do you crave for temptation to go away? Living in this imperfect world, we will be tempted to do a multitude of things. While temptation itself is not a sin, acting upon it is.
When I think of temptation, I think of the time Jesus went into the wilderness and was tempted by the devil for forty days (Matthew 4:1-11). When Jesus was tempted, He fought the battle with the Word of God each time. The devil tempted Jesus in three categories: the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life (1 John 2:16).
The devil tempted Jesus to turn a rock into bread to satisfy His hunger, which is the lust of the flesh (Matthew 4:3-4).
Then the devil tempted Jesus in the pride of life by testing Jesus to jump off the temple and get His angels to catch Him (Matthew 4:5-7)—abuse of power.
And finally, the devil tempted Jesus by bringing Him up on a high mountain to view the world, stating if Jesus would worship him, He can have the whole world—the lust of the eyes (Matthew 4:8-10).
With each temptation, Jesus quoted scripture, setting His eyes on God and not the problems. If we can learn how to fight the temptation before sinning, we can grow stronger in relying and focusing on God during trials and tribulations.
Here are nine scriptures to help you overcome temptation:
LUST OF THE FLESH
The lust of the flesh are things such as gossip, lustful pleasures, drunkenness, outbursts of anger/uncontrolled emotions, and wild parties. Some examples can be found in Galatians 5:19-21. Here are three scriptures to help you fight the battle against the flesh:
- “I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified.” — 1 Corinthians 9:27 (NLT)
- “Make it your goal to live a quiet life, minding your own business and working with your hands, just as we instructed you before.” — 1 Thessalonians 4:11 (NLT)
- “But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.” — Isaiah 40:31 (NLT)
Other scriptures: Romans 8:38, 1 Corinthians 6:13, James 1:2-3, Colossians 3:15
LUST OF THE EYES
Examples of this would be materialistic possessions, status, jealousy, and porn. Here are three scriptures to help battle the desire to possess things of this world.
4. “Don’t love money; be satisfied with what you have. For God has said, I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.”—Hebrews 13:5 (NLT)
5. “How can a young person stay on the path of purity? By living according to your word. I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands.”—Psalms 119:9-10 (NIV)
6. “Turn my eyes away from worthless things; preserve my life according to your word.”—Psalms 119: 37 (NIV)
Other scriptures: Matthew 4:10, Proverbs 3:9, Matthew 6:21-23
PRIDE OF LIFE
Examples of this temptation would be selfishness, high self-esteem, and positions of power. Here are three scriptures to help battle the desire to feel valued by this world.
7. “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” —Matthew 6:33 (NIV)
8. “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” — Philippians 2:3-4 (NIV)
9. “Jesus answered, ‘It is written: Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.’” — Luke 4:8 (NIV)
Other scriptures: Proverbs 3:5-6, 1 Peter 5:5, James 4:10
I’ll leave you with this:
Ephesians 6:17 states that the Word of God is our sword in this spiritual battle, and John 1:1 tells us that Jesus is the Word. When we meditate on scripture, it helps to renew our mind (Romans 12:2), strengthening us to endure this battle.
Don’t forget that 1 Corinthians 10:13 states we are not tempted with more than we can handle. When it feels like we are, we have the Word which is “sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword” fighting for us (Hebrews 4:12). Let’s have confident hope in the fact that God will help us through any battle of temptation we find ourselves in.
You have the power to overcome temptation, in Jesus’ name!