The Bible has the answer to all of our questions, and sometimes we just want answers. As a follow-up to summer camp, consider the following from Luke 4:
HOW CAN WE DEAL WITH SINS AND TEMPTATIONS THAT ARE REALLY HARD TO CONQUER?
Here are a few ways. Since it is such a broad question, I will try to answer it broadly. When Jesus was tempted from the devil in Luke 4, he responded the same way each time.
- Jesus was full of the Holy Ghost (v1). What in the world does that mean?! Well, it means that his actions were submitted to the leading of the Holy Spirit. We can be controlled by the Spirit as much as a drunk is controlled by alcohol (Ephesians 5:18 “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit”). Are you constantly allowing the Lord to control you? Like… daily? Moment by moment? Are you yielding your members to his control (Rom. 6)? Jesus did it. Seems like a good idea for us to do it, too. Every day in your daily devotions, pray something like, “God, please take control today of my eyes, ears, mind, hands… Please let me use them for you today.”
- Jesus denied self (v2). He went through a period of fasting—a significant time of self-denial. Self-denial isn’t just something that the monks do. It should be for all Christians, particularly those who are seeking for God’s help. Jesus had the foreknowledge that the devil’s temptations were coming. But you don’t have to know the future to know that the devil will tempt you. You can just expect it, right? Have you ever fasted and prayed? Fasting is about denying self. It’s about using the times that you crave food to remind yourself to crave God and seek His help. There are times in life when you just need to shut down and get away from the world. Have you ever done that? It can only help when you’re trying to overcome sin and temptation in your life. If you’re serious about overcoming it, you’ll get serious about self-denial, too.
- Jesus used simple Scripture as His defense against temptation (v. 4, 8, and 12). He just quoted a Bible verse. For every temptation that came his way—self-indulgence, power, and manipulation of life—Jesus always used Scripture as His answer. It was so simple, yet it was so real. He had a little mini dagger (not the full “Sword” of the Word). He did not quote the whole Bible; He just quoted a verse. Every time. Do you have a specific verse that you can use when certain temptations come? Sexual temptations demand a verse about purity. Temptations to lie demand a verse about honesty. Temptations about gossip demand verses about your speech. What’s your verse?
- When Jesus quoted Scripture, he submitted to it. It is as if Jesus relied on the power of the Word to help him overcome His flesh. He was 100% human, so every temptation you face, He’s faced it too (Hebrews 4:15 “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.”). Jesus spoke the verse out loud when talking to Satan, and then He submitted to it. Try that next time you’re tempted. Yield yourself to the Spirit, deny yourself the pleasure for a moment, audibly speak a Bible verse, and then place yourself under that Bible verse.
Tired of always feeling guilty? Tired of failing at the same thing over and over? At some point you will hit rock bottom. Don’t make God’s ways a “last resort.” Learn what it means to turn to Him now and get control of your sin!
Once you know what you’re supposed to do, get accountable with someone. Read your Bible. Pray. Get in church. Get with someone who will ask you about these things. I’d love to be able to meet one on one with you any time you want. I’ve even met with guys weekly just for a simple check-in. Find someone who will be honest with you and who is stronger than you, spiritually. Get honest with him or her and keep with it. If you’re willing to put in the work, it will pay off.
I promise you… God’s way is the best way.
– Bro. Ryan