Monday, April 10, 2017

12 Tips for Defeating Satan’s Temptations

Defeating temptation hinges upon a single choice: do you want to follow in the footsteps of Christ, or would you prefer to follow the world? After all, the temptations of Satan are enticements to coerce Christians to act against God’s Will. God and Satan both want you to make a choice and, despite their spiritual power, the ultimate power to decide is in your hands. 

Satan wants you to decide quickly and impulsively; he wants Christians to be uninformed. God wants you to decide quickly as well; however, He wants Christians to be well-informed, biblically literate and make choices based on a strong faith. 

The twelve tips listed below will help you in making the wise choice: God the Father, and His Son, Christ Jesus.

1.  Realize God doesn’t tempt Man. 
God will never tempt mankind; Satan is solely responsible for temptation in our life. God will test us, but always with a righteous purpose, and for a noble end. Satan’s goal in tempting man is to destroy him, and his relationship with God.

Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one” (James 1:13).

2.  Realize God understands temptation. 
God knows the feeling and impact of temptation; despite His omniscience, He went through temptation Himself in fully human form. The fact He was tempted by Satan, emerged victorious, and was crucified to remove the burden of your sins is proof He loves you enough to understand your pain.

For since He Himself was tempted in that which He has suffered, He is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted” (Hebrews 2:18).

3.  Realize God won’t let Satan break your limits.
God will never let any temptation you face push you beyond your capacity to deal with the situation. He knows you have limitations, and He’ll always give you an escape route. Jesus died on the Cross to remove the penalty of your sin; the last thing God wants is for you to fail in sin. Remember that everything – including temptation – is cyclical and comes in seasons. Temptations are always temporary. However, the choices we make when faced temptation are eternal.

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, so that you will be able to endure it” (1 Corinthians 10:13).

4.  Realize you need God to fight Satan. 
Lucifer, the first cherub, has immense power and authority in the world; You’re no match for him. However, you have the power of God through your faith in Christ, and Satan is no match for God. God wants you to want Him in this fight, and He’ll step in as soon as you pray for His help. You wouldn’t bring a toothpick to a gunfight; don’t make the mistake of bringing your finite capabilities to a God fight.

But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts” (Romans 13:14).

5.  Realize God has a plan to protect you.
God is omniscient; all-powerful, all-knowing, and aware of everything, always. Satan and his fallen angels are not. God has given you access to Him, the Armor of God, and all His forces in the heavenly realm to help you in your battle with temptation. Trust the nature of the God you serve, and the righteousness of His plan to protect you.

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil” (Ephesians 6:10-11).

6.  Realize Satan knows God wants to help you. 
There are no secrets in Heaven, and it’s no secret God wants to protect His children from Satan’s temptation. Satan knows this and will do anything to convince Christians that God doesn’t care; that He’s an “absentee landlord” with more important things to do than protect you. Scripture reveals Satan’s deception to be a blatant lie – shown by the fact that God gave His only begotten Son so we could have eternal life in Heaven. Don’t doubt for a second that Satan will try to subvert you. However, don’t doubt for a second that God will subvert Satan when you ask for His help.

For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness, whose end will be according to their deeds” (2 Corinthians 11:13-15).

7.  Turn quickly to God’s Word. 
There are many passages of Scripture that speak directly to your weakness, and to the specific temptation you face. Research them, find them, write them down, and memorize them. Have a Bible with you whenever possible for this very purpose. There is no temptation Satan can direct at you that hasn’t already been defeated by God in Scripture.

Or the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age” (Titus 2:11-12).

8.  Realize victories strengthen your faith. 
Achieving victories over temptation with God’s help strengthens your faith, and your confidence in God’s willingness to help. The impacts of those victories build up over time, and degrade Satan’s ability to deceive you.

Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him” (James 1:12).

9.  Remove yourself from the source of evil. 
Once you’ve found a weakness Satan can use as a door to temptation, shut the door by removing yourself from the environment. Satan will lose a chance to tempt you, and you’ll remove the chance to tempt God by still being there.

Do not associate with a man given to anger; Or go with a hot-tempered man, or you will learn his ways and find a snare for yourself” (Proverbs 22:24-25).

10.  Surround yourself with supportive Christians.
Surround yourself with Brothers and Sisters in Christ who will strengthen your righteousness and faith. There is strength in numbers, and isolation magnifies deception.

Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10).

11.  Practice spiritual disciplines regularly. 
Spiritual disciplines are just that: discipline for your Spirit. They’re acts of devotion that strengthen faith, increase spiritual growth, and enhance the power of prayer. They show God you’re serious about having a relationship with Him; it’s experiential Christianity in action. The more time spent in prayer, studying God’s Word, and fasting, the less chance Satan has of steering you off the righteous path that leads to God’s Grace and Salvation.

All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness” (Hebrews 12:11).

12.  Keep a prayer journal and daily devotional. 
The best way to measure success and victories is to track your progress. Journals serve as written prayers, devotionals for daily study, and keep a record of your successes and failures. Over time, a journal will help you to build a strong defense against Satan’s temptations and schemes.

Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘Write all the words which I have spoken to you in a book’” (Jeremiah 30:2).

Michael I. Kaplan lectures regularly to faith-based organizations on the topics of apologetics (reasoned arguments or writings in justification of theological doctrine), biblical studies and spiritual warfare.