The word temptation makes everyone think of something different, from ice cream sundaes to more serious problems with sin habits. Whatever you struggle with, you're not the only one who has a tough time making the right choices.
The source of this conflict, of course, is sin.
You were born with the desire to do things your own way. The only real solution for a sin problem is in God's Son, Jesus Christ, who died on the cross to pay the penalty for sin and to reconcile you to God.
In Him, you have a new life and new spirit. (2 Corinthians 5:17) The Holy Spirit, who indwells you, enables you to choose obedience, but even so the pull from sin can be very strong at times. What can you do when you are tempted? The first step to winning the war within is to realize that you cannot pass the blame.
It's easy to rationalize with statements such as, "The devil made me do it," or "My parents raised me this way, and I can't help myself." Satan and other personal factors often do play a role in temptation, but blaming your own choices on these influences is based in falsehood.
No one, not even Satan, can make you do anything - his only powers are manipulation and deceit. (2 Corinthians 11:3; John 8:44)
And God cannot tempt you either, although He may allow you to be in a tempting situation in order to strengthen your faith. James 1:13-14 says: "Let no one say when he is tempted, 'I am being tempted by God'; for God cannot be tempted by evil; and He Himself does not tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust."
The responsibility is truly yours, but that does not mean that God does not care about your struggles. Jesus died to set you free from sin, not for you to continue in enslavement. In fact, He even knows how it feels to be tempted, since He went through it Himself. (Hebrews 4:15-16) The Lord wants you to know the freedom and victory of living in His ways.
That is why He gives you this promise in 1 Corinthians 10:13: "No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, that you may be able to endure it."
Have you ever taken the Lord up on this offer? Or do you try to fight it in your own strength? You do not have to be caught in a seemingly endless cycle of defeat and discouragement. The next time you feel that old familiar urge, ask God to provide His way of escape and make it plain to you. Then reach out for it. God will not let you down.
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