Wednesday, December 07, 2016

How to overcome temptation || Stella Ndukaife

How can you tell true gold from counterfeit? Subject it to a test? I think so, too. If you do not put it through a real test (that is, through fire), the gold could keep "parading" itself as authentic when it's only substandard.

Similarly, as God's children, we would be tested through trials and temptations...the great news however is that we can overcome every and any temptation we face.

Besides, our God has assured us that He would not allow us face temptations beyond the capacity He knows we have, and that even in the midst of the temptation, He'd provide an escape route...we indeed have nothing to dread, God's got us covered!

In this post by Stella Ifeoma Ndukaife (of Ella's Haven Blog), she shares with us how we can overcome temptations...

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Temptation can be said to be pressure applied to your thinking designed to create wrong emotions which will eventually lead to wrong actions. It could be something attractive, seductive, inducement or enticement.

We should bear in mind that temptation itself is not sin, it is when the act is committed or the believer yields that is when it becomes sin.

As Christians with heaven as our goal, we cannot escape being tempted, but we can certainly overcome it; yes, we can have victory over temptation. We cannot escape being tempted as the devil does not want anyone to be saved from sin; thus, he prepares or manipulates temptation and sends our way to make us fall, he can use it against us.

Dear friends, the good news is that God has given us the power to over temptation. Our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ was tempted three (3) times but he overcame in the wilderness while for His earthly ministry.

First, the devil asked Jesus to turn stone into bread, saying, "If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread" (Matthew 4:3).

Secondly, he told Jesus, "If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone" (Matthew 4:6).

Finally, the devil took Jesus up into an exceeding high mountain, showed him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; and said to Him, "all these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me" (Matthew 4:9). The devil is so canny, quoting psalm 91:11-12, which says, "For He shall give His angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone", to back up his words. Still he (the devil) failed woefully in his attempts to make Jesus sin.

Temptation is common to all, black or white, rich or poor, sinners and saints alike. As Christians aiming to make heaven, we have to be very careful in all that we do. The devil quoting some verse in the bible just to tempt our saviour should make us understand that he is quite clever and an expert at tempting people.

Truth is, we cannot stop a bird from flying or hovering over our head, that is not our business, but we should not allow it to build a nest on our head, this applies to Christians and temptation. The devil can go to any length to tempt us, he will bring it to our face, he will shove to our front but he cannot shove it down our throat. God gave us the privilege of making choices, so that is the advantage the devil wants to manipulate. He will shove temptation to our face and expects us to make a wrong choice in other to destroy our destiny.

The thing with the devil is that once you fall into temptation, he keeps throwing another till you drown. Take for example a Christian sister is tempted and commits fornication, it won’t end there, and if the sister in question gets pregnant the devil will still want her to commit murder by aborting the baby.

Sources of temptation
The devil himself is the source of temptation, him and his agents, but they cannot do it all on their own. Remember they can only tempt us but cannot force us to sin. There are sources the devil manipulates with to tempt us;

The Heart
The first and great source of temptation in the human heart, Jeremiah 17:9 says, "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?"
Mark 7:21-23 says, "For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: All these evil things come from within, and defile the man".

My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, we have to be very careful with our heart, the heart which is the CPU (Central Processing Unit) of the body, is the number one source of temptation. We can find lust, fornication, pride, revenge, anger, envy, etc within the heart.

"And Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel" (1 Chronicle 21:1). The devil used the pride in David’s heart to tempt him and he fell, which caused the death of many Israelites. I believe David was probably thinking, “Ah! I have fought many battles, I have won most too. Let me count my people to see how many subjects I have.” This led to the death of seventy (70) thousand men in Israel.

In our campuses and hostel, a friend or roommate might hurt us badly and when he/she does not come forward to apologise, if there is any form of pride in our heart, the devil can use it and tempt us and within the twinkle of an eye you are already keeping malice with that individual. From the heart too comes lust, you look at a man/woman, next you are undressing him/her in your heart and you’re wondering what he/she will be like in bed. Watch your heart (and thoughts) with all diligence bro! Watch your heart with all diligence sis!

The Flesh
This is another source of temptation, the sin of the flesh, which led to Samson’s downfall.
We can be tempted to have pornographic pictures and movies in our phones and laptops, we could feel that there is nothing wrong with it since we think we are not committing the "actual" sin. But the truth is that the pornographic pictures and movies will keep flashing over our minds and can lead us to lust and commit fornication, adultery.

Take for an example, when a lady who is skimpily dressed walks by, the devil creates a flashback in our brain to those pictures and movies we have, what do you think will happen when that flashback keeps coming often?

Also, when you are unduly close to someone of the opposite sex. Say you want someone to teach you MAT 201 while preparing for a test, you then meet with Chukwudi, not even in an open place, but in his room. Today Chukwudi, tomorrow Chukwudi, my sister, you are preparing yourself to be tempted by the devil through Chukwudi.

This also extends to looseness during courtship, ungodly friends, neighbours and/or roommate, etc. The devil can tempt us using even our siblings. While at home you don’t go to clubs, but in school your roommate says, "Chioma, I’m hosting my birthday at Adam & Eve Club, you are my roommate, so I am not accepting any excuse from you. You have to be there to cheer me up." Instead of politely refusing, you start thinking, she is my roommate na, let me just go this once and see how it is." Dear brother, dear sister, remember the story of Dinah in the Bible. The devil is using that your friend as a bait to tempt you.

You have a carryover in a particular course, and you think the only way to pass is to bribe the lecturer in kind or in cash or by someone writing for you? Think twice.

Over confidence or being self opinionated
This is when you are so full of yourself. Have you heard of how the titanic ship sank several years ago? Thomas Andrew built the popular RMS Titanic Ship, it took him three (3) years to build and fix the ship.
During an interview he was asked a question about the ship, he was so over-confident in himself that he said even God himself could not sink the ship and what happened? The ship that was built for 3 years took less than 3 hours to sink. He was so full of himself and had this over confidence that the devil tempt him to say “even God himself cannot sink the ship.” Just imagine! Even in a joke do not misuse the name of the Lord.

Believers' weakest point
What is your weakest point? The devil can use your weak point to tempt you. If your weakest point is anger, my dear, deal with it immediately, the devil can use that to his advantage. Is your weakest point flashy cars, gadgets? Bro, do something about it. Find help in God's word.

Greed and inordinate ambitions
Someone that is too greedy is easily tempted by the devil, when you are too eager to get rich, get married, etc. You are indirectly attracting the devil to tempt you.

Why satan tempts us
"The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly John 10:10.

The purpose satan bringing temptation our way is to steal our blessings, miracles and above all our salvation. So, he looks for every opportunity to take us away from God. He sits down, plans, calculates and develops different strategies to tempt us with and when we fall, he uses it against us to make sure we do not make heaven.

In the book of Job, the devil tempted Job to curse God, but Job overcame. When he tempted Judas Iscariot however, to betray his master for 30 pieces of silver, (which is not even up to the amount paid to Delilah to entice Samson), he fell for it and at the end, Judas hung himself. The devil destroyed Judas' salvation and the hope of him seeing God face to face.

The devil can come in different ways to tempt us, he can come in a still quiet voice, a cheerful way, or even in form of a good Samaritan, but his main purpose remains to steal, kill and destroy.

Victory for the Christian is assured
There is victory for us as Christians over temptation, for us to be victorious we have to be very careful in all we do. We must run from every and any thing that may tempt us to sin.

Be prayerful, if we have to overcome temptations, we have to be prayerful.

Also, be devoted to doing God’s will. We have to love God with all our heart, and always strife to do His will. We have to bring our best, our heart to serve God no matter what it will cost us. When we love God with all our heart, we will find it hard to hurt Him and this will give us victory over temptation.

Have a strong passion for God to do His will, not all that glitter is gold and not all gold glitter. We should allow the will of God be done in our life, life is a stage and men are in sizes, if it is not the will of God for you to build houses and ride flashy cars after 2 years of graduation, don’t be in a haste to look for alternative. Just relax and chill, let God take the lead. Remember, God’s time is the best. If it is not the will of God for you to get married at a certain age, my sister, relax and make good use of your time while you are single. He (God) knows the future from the start.

How to overcome temptation
Abstain from all appearance of evil. If it looks like sin, you are restless in your heart or the spirit of God is ministering to you about it, my dear, do not try to justify it, it is sin. Abstain from it.

Politely reject legitimate offers or favours that may lead or may expose you to sin. Sis, a guy is always giving you money to buy clothes, shoes, pocket money, etc. Is he your parent that sent you to school or is he your ATM machine?

Flee from person who wants to lure you to sin. You go for evangelism and she invites you into her house, which is when she remembers it is hot and therefore has to wear a "see-me-finish" clothe. My dear, remember the case of Joseph and Potiphar's wife, Joseph did not wait to persuade her to change her mind, he fled.

Part with sinful friends because they can influence you to do evil. Today party, tomorrow club, did your parent send you to school to read "partyology"? My dear, flee from such friends.

Depend on the spirit of God to show you God’s way out of temptation. We need the guidance and direction of the Holy Spirit to guide us through.

Benefit of overcoming temptation
We are developed and strengthened, if there was no temptation, we would not know how strong and tough we are spiritually.
Our faith in Christ will be strengthened so as to keep overcoming subsequent temptations.
Also, we will see God face to face someday if we do not fall.

I am Stella Ifeoma Ndukaife, a Christian Blogger, I love sharing the little knowledge I have about my Lord Jesus Christ to others be it in the street or on my blog. Finally, I live the life I love and love the life I live making sure is PLEASING TO GOD! She blogs at Ella's Haven.

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