When Temptation Knocks on the Door
"Let no one say when he is tempted, 'I am tempted by God'; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death."1
We live in and are all a part of this world that has been broken by sin. Consequently, having a sin nature from birth, nobody escapes temptation. It always starts in the mind, and can be triggered by something we see on TV, hear on the radio, listening to a degrading pop song, seeing a photo, by an unmet need, by idle thinking, or any one of numerous possibilities. Because of our sinful nature, temptation is always lurking around the corner and ready to knock on the door of our mind.
However, as today's Scripture reminds us, "each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed." Once we are enticed, we have already taken the bait, and then we start thinking about what we want or would like to do. The more we think about it, the stronger the temptation grows, and if we don't "nip it in the bud" right away, we are setting ourselves up for a fall.
However, realize that God's Word also points out that there is always a way of escape. "So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don't fall! No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it."2
So what's the way of escape? As temptation starts in the mind that's where the battle rages, and that's where it is won or lost. Speaking personally, the greatest help I have found when temptation is knocking on the door of my mind, is to say and pray over and over in my mind the following: "Jesus Christ is Lord. Jesus Christ is the Son of the Living God. Jesus Christ is the Messiah who died to pay the penalty for all my sins. Jesus Christ is my Lord, my God, and My Savior." Satan, the author of all temptation, absolutely hates these proclamations and in no time will leave tempting us as long as we keep repeating these words. He will, however, keep returning in his attempt to cause us to fall, but as long as we keep concentrating on and repeating these eternal truths, the temptation will be dissipated and, thanks to God, we will remain victorious.
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, thank You for making a way of escape for when I am tempted. Please give me the desire to never give in to temptation remembering that You have provided a way of escape. Help me always to focus my thoughts on the fact that Jesus Christ is Lord, and that He is Lord of my life, until the temptation is dissipated and has left me. Thank You for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully in Jesus's name, amen."
1. James 1:13-15 (NKJV).
2. 1 Corinthians 10:12-13 (NIV).
P.S. It also always helps to get legitimate needs met in legitimate ways.