Victory over Temptation

Defeating Sin!

By Grantley Morris

(Back to the beginning of this series: Becoming a Winner)

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Beating Temptation

Friends

Pray for godly, faithful, praying friends who will spiritually motivate you and support your every step forward with Christ. And be such a friend to others.

ĎDo not be deceived,í says Scripture, Ďevil companions corrupt good behavior,í (Related Scriptures). No matter how strong you are, choose the wrong friend, and youíll be corrupted. Not everyone believes that. Thatís why Scripture prefaces this warning with the words, Do not be deceived. If you look at the context, youíll see Ďevil companionsí are not necessarily people we would normally think of as being evil, but people who donít believe the right things about God.

A prime example is Solomon. Not even all his wisdom could keep him from ruining his life because he chose to befriend women who, though religious, believed the wrong things about God (Scriptures).

Since the Bible insists you have little chance if you chose ungodly people as close friends, you must choose between God and wrong friendships. When choosing close friends, especially where there is a chance of romantic involvement, remember this simple fact: a person either belongs to God or to the devil. There is no middle ground. A spiritually mixed marriage is a hideous perversion. It is the profanity of trying to form a union out of that which belongs to the Holy One and that which belongs to the Evil One (Scriptures). People who become Christians after they are married have Godís blessing because they did not deliberately enter a spiritually perverse marriage. They were both non-Christians when they married. They can expect spiritual protection from their unchristian partner (Scriptures). But Christians who sin by marrying non-Christians are in grave danger. By disregarding Godís warning about relationships, they throw away their right to divine protection, unless they thoroughly repent, which involves genuinely regretting that they married. Never imagine you can fool God by deciding beforehand to Ďenjoyí both sin and Godís forgiveness by Ďrepentingí after your deliberate sin. If you are already married to a non-Christian, click here.

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Chemicals and Christ

Drugs or alcohol weaken your God-given ability to resist temptation. When you choose a chemical high, you render yourself so vulnerable to temptation that you might as well forget the chemicals and go straight to cursing the Christ who bled for you.

Roll up the sleeves of your mind, says Peter (1 Peter 1:13, modern paraphrase). Ready yourself for clear, hard thinking. You canít do that when high. Be sober-minded, and alert at all times, he says later, ĎFor that enemy of yours, the devil, roams around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8)More

Being sober is what keeps us alive in times of danger. What chance would a drunk front-line soldier have? He might think being high dulls his fear and pain, but it would have to be a pretty good anesthetic after he is blown apart by his foolishness.

Being high diminishes your ability to use your spiritual weapons. You give Satan the upper hand, before the fight even begins. You, who had been divinely equipped for victory, will soon be cowering before a defeated Devil, like a soldier too drunk to load his gun.




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Overcoming Besetting Sin














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Take action NOW

Weíve noted that most people fall into temptation because they donít start the fight soon enough. They give the Evil One too many early victories Ė easy, uncontested wins Ė by playing with thoughts, keeping deadly friendships, phone numbers, contacts, etc and viewing/hearing/reading things that weaken them.

Suppose you are in a leaking boat. You are lounging on deck as the water seeps in a few bucketfuls an hour. No problem. Any fool can bail that out. Hour after hour you continue to snooze until you suddenly find yourself plunging towards the ocean floor. You then bail furiously but itís too late. The disaster was not the product of some momentary weakness or inexplicable lapse the last five seconds. It was all so avoidable, if only the danger had been taken seriously.

Thatís what itís like with temptation. Act soon enough, and youíre safe. Take no action as temptation begins to seep in; do nothing to block the temptation, keep open doorways to sin, and the danger slowly mounts until finally not even the strongest saint could survive the onslaught.

Itís not what happens in a moment of weakness that is critical. What matters is what you do right now to protect yourself from those moments.

Almighty God dwells within you. If ever sin defeats you, itís not because you are weak. Plain stupidity, laziness and disobedience are the most likely culprits.

Frequently, we have to start the fight against temptation by resisting the urge to do things that seem so harmless and so far from our real weakness that we are actually embarrassed to resist them. An alcoholic, for example, might need to avoid every place that sells alcohol. Thatís not only inconvenient, itís humiliating to think that one is so weak. So instead of acting wisely, we are tempted to take what initially seem like small risks just to prove to ourselves and to others that we are not that weak. Satan will try to play with our ego on this vital matter, but the real issue is whether we are so determined to avoid temptation that we would rather suffer inconveniences and embarrassment than take risks with sin.











 

 

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Donít Pray

You donít pray, God love me, because he already does. Neither need you pray, Give me power over temptation, because, as we have seen, Jesus has already handed you that power. If a genuinely born again Christian has not been freed from sinís grip, then the faithful God has suddenly become unfaithful, the God of truth has suddenly become a liar, and Christ shed his lifeblood for nothing.

In a swimming pool is a devoted father. His whole life revolves around the little girl he holds in his arms, who for months has wanted to learn how to float. She is screaming, ĎDonít let me drown, Daddy! Please, donít let me drown! Please . . . !í Is her pleading necessary? Does it please her father? Shouldnít she just relax in her Daddyís loving arms and follow his simple instructions?

Arenít you always secure in the care of the One who suffered and died, pouring out his love when you were at your filthiest? When you feel that temptation could overwhelm you, your loving God is holding you, just as he always does. If he loved you so much that Christ died for you when you couldnít have been less lovable, would he reject you if, to your horror, sinís stains were to reappear? After having endured hours of indescribable agony to rescue you from sin, would a sane God then abandon you when sin threatens to destroy you?

The problem with pleading for power over temptation is that we then tend to imagine we are vulnerable to temptation until we receive some sign confirming that God has given us extra power. The fact is, we need no new infusion of power. We can feel as helpless as fluff in a hurricane, the truth is that the faithful God has armed us for victory and is with us every step of the way. We can rest in the arms of the One who has promised never to leave us; the mighty conqueror who has proved he loves us more than his own life.

Nevertheless, prayer is important. Jesus warned his disciples to pray that they do not fall into temptation. Instead, they slept and they fell (Scriptures). The Lordís prayer Ė ĎGive us this day our daily bread . . . lead us not into temptationí Ė proves we need to daily bring to God our need for divine help in conquering temptation.

We should look daily to God to sensitize our consciences so that the alarm bells will sound whenever Satan slips us his sugar-coated poison. Prayer is bringing ourselves under Godís authority; submitting to God, to use Jamesí terminology. Itís recognizing our utter dependency upon God; reminding ourselves that we will win, but only with Jesusí power flowing through us.

One strategy that could prove very helpful is to, with Godís help, train yourself to pray in the Spirit, or begin praising God, the moment temptation hits. If a particular temptation becomes your cue to act more spiritual, Satan should quickly tire of using that temptation!

So donít pray the lie that imagines you are weak until you feel differently. Pray the prayer of truth, affirming that no matter what you feel, the undefeatable Lord of Glory, your almighty Deliverer and Protector pulsates within you, supercharging every fiber of your being for supernatural victory.

 

 

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Demons

Is it possible for a Christian to be harassed by a demon of lust, gluttony, or whatever, such that deliverance would be beneficial? Letís skim this controversial, but significant, issue.

Could a demon dwell in the same body as one in which the Holy Spirit resides? It sounds impossible, doesnít it? But letís take a closer look. The Holy Spirit shares our planet with demons. How could this be? Job speaks twice of Satan actually joining the sons of God in presenting themselves to the Lord, and each time, the Evil One and the Holy One chatted together (Scripture). How could this be? A husband and wife are one flesh, and yet one could be a demonized heathen and the other a Spirit-filled Christian. One flesh, and yet one filled with the Spirit and the other has demons. How could this be? Could a Christian ever think ungodly thoughts? Could the Holy Spirit and filthy thoughts ever dwell in the same body? Just how far apart do demons and the Holy Spirit have to remain? Or is the distance spiritual, rather than geographical?

Itís inconceivable that the strongest demon could force the weakest blood-bought child of God into sin. It is quite conceivable, however, that a demon could pile on the temptation and pressure.

I donít think itís enough to stick to dry theology. Letís get practical. If some people are significantly helped by prayer for release from demonic activity, Iím not going to knock it. Iíve often heard, however, of people becoming discouraged about casting out demons because many people seem to quickly end up in the same mess again. It seems that for deliverance ministry to bring permanent results it should be used in conjunction with the principles outlined in this webpage, just as flushing a burglar out of oneís home should be followed by a program of renewed vigilance, locking doors and windows, and so on.

Tom was a devout Christian who for more than six years had suffered greatly from Myalgic Encephalomyelitis. He asked for prayer, and people started commanding a demon to leave. Oh, here we go again! thought Tom, who had occasionally been subjected to other attempts to expel a demon. Suddenly, he was shocked to sense something hideously evil and highly intelligent inside him. Never before had he felt such a thing. Tom instantly realized that if the demon remained it would continue to afflict him, yet the temptation was strong not to resist the demon, because the thought came with great conviction that if forced to leave, the demon would inflict great pain on the way out. Despite this, Tom joined the people around him in opposing the demon, and after a few minutes struggle he felt it leave. The process proved as painful as he had feared but the strength the Lord provided surpassed his expectations. After a few minutes recovery, Tom discovered he was miraculously healed. He celebrated by buying rollerblades and doing all sorts of things that for years had been impossible. Yet he entered one of the worst periods in his life. Day after day he fought an intense spiritual battle in which he was sorely tempted to let the demon back in. He suffered such serious family strife that it looked as if he would have to leave home. His father accused him of merely pretending to be sick for all those years. For the first time in years, he was hit by bouts of Ďflu. There was the daunting prospect of having to face life as a normal person after living a protected lifestyle for so long. He knew it would be awful to have that demon again, but even that seemed preferable to all that was being hurled at him now. Then, after holding out for a month, the attack gradually faded over a three day period.

For more about demons and temptation, see a link at the end of this page.

 

 

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More

Keep reminding yourself that you fight a defeated enemy. He can do nothing but tell lies and hope we are silly enough to believe him. One of his highest aims is to discourage us. Whenever you feel discouraged, you can be sure who is behind it. You need never fail again, but even if you failed continuously, for as long as you keep wanting to beat sin, and keep looking in faith to Jesus, God is proud to call you his child. In his eyes you have the purity, holiness, and self-control of Christ himself. Everyone else might give up on you, but God wonít. He believes in you. Heís staked his reputation on you. Heís invested everything in you.

What matters is not how many times you hit the dust, but how many times you get up again. At the bottom of this webpage is a link to a series of webpages devoted to overcoming discouragement. I suggest you go to it after completing this webpage.

Another important key to being a winner is to keep looking for a deeper spiritual experience. No matter how wonderful your present intimacy with God, in the vastness of God, there is always more (More Power).

 

 

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When habits continue to dominate

A brother was powerfully and supernaturally delivered from drugs and alcohol. The victory was painless and total. After several years he had not slipped once. ĎBut I still smoke!í he lamented. (At the time I considered this unusual, but I have since found it to be the norm for people who have had easy deliverances. It seems none of us are spared a struggle in at least one area of life. I do not suggest, however, that what I thought to be the solution for this brother will be the answer for everyone.) ĎThis one baffles me,í he continued, ĎI have been on my face before the Lord about this almost daily. I have tried to quit on my own many times since I met the Lord, but I canít do it. I refuse to keep it hidden in darkness, where things fester and rot. I hope that my open confession and my hatred of the habit will open the door of deliverance one day. Can you shed any light on what I am going through with this habit Ė why God would so dramatically set me free of other things, but leave me to struggle with this one?í

I was instantly reminded that although the Israelites were guaranteed eventual total victory, God deliberately chose to give them only gradual victory as they entered the promised land. If much of the land were left vacant, the Lord explained, wild animals would multiply and become a problem (Exodus 23:29-30; Deuteronomy 7:22-23). I felt the answer to this brotherís problem was somehow locked in this obscure Scripture, but the relevance continued to eluded me. Then I asked myself, if someone were given sudden and total victory in every area of life, what dangers could there possibly be? Pride was the obvious answer Ė feeling superior to Christians who are still battling with problems, and/or losing sight of oneís need for constant and total dependence on the Lord.

I felt this brother could reach the point where he need no longer be defeated in this area, by doing two things:

    1. Building himself up in the area of humility and in his awareness of his total dependence upon the Lord.

    2. Desire victory for the glory of the Lord Ė not so that he could boost his pride by proving himself to others, or so that he pat himself on the back, or even for lesser reasons than Godís glory, such as saving money.

An effective way to become strong in humility is to repeat with conviction many times a day for several weeks, ĎI can of myself do nothing.í This truth is found in John 15:5. What is even more powerful, however, is that Jesus said it of himself (John 5:19). If that is true of Jesus, how much more true is it of ourselves!

Having received insight from that incident in Israelís history, I began to wonder about other things that kept the Israelites from defeating and removing the Canaanites from their land. Was there any point in looking at Scripture in this way? On the surface there seems little similarity between a believer ridding his/her life of habits and Israelites ridding their promised land of the enemy. However, the same players are involved Ė God, his people, human nature, Godís enemies. The presence of the same players opens the possibility of similar principles being involved. This possibility is strengthened by the fact that considerable space is allocated to these battles in a book given by God not for historical insight but Ď. . . for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousnessí (2 Timothy 3:16). Indeed, New Testament writers frequently used the history of the Israelites to draw spiritual lessens for individuals (for example, 1 Corinthians 10:1-13) and they often used the metaphor of warfare for spiritual life (for example, Ephesians 6:13-17). So letís look at things that at various points in their history stopped the Israelites from experiencing victory over their enemies.

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    They did not even try to attack the enemy. Rather than obeying God, they chose to believe that the enemy was too strong for them (Deuteronomy 1:26-32). We, too, can choose to believe a habit is too strong for us.

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    They engaged the enemy in their own strength, rather than in humble dependence upon the Lord (Deuteronomy 1:42-44). This is a most dangerous move because the inevitable defeat seems to confirm that the habit is too strong to resist.

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    They attacked the enemy (the city of Ai) while there was unrepentant sin in their midst (Joshua 7:11-12). If we are deliberately disobedient in one area of life (stealing, for instance) we have no right to expect Godís empowering in another area of life (such as giving up smoking). This is not a Catch 22. Itís not that you must give up sins you find impossible to give up before God will empower you to give up those sins! I refer to continued, willful disobedience in matters where you have no intention of even trying to do what is right.

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    They entered into compromise with the enemy (the Gibeonites), having been tricked into thinking they were not the enemy (Joshua 9:14-19,22). We listen to voices that say Other Christians do it, or do worse or Surely itís only natural. Thereís no harm in it or I canít see anything wrong with it and so we let ourselves be fooled into allowing something to remain in our lives that God says should be eradicated.

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    They put their faith in human help, such as political alliances with powerful nations (see for example, 2 Chronicles 16:1-9). Although it is seldom wrong to avail oneself of therapists, support groups, and so on, our faith must remain firmly fixed in God, not in human help. We will be seriously weakened if we take some of our faith that should be solely in the Lordís ability to deliver us and put it in people or human strategies.

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    They killed vast numbers and turned the few remaining ones into virtual slaves (Judges 1:27-34). Thatís pretty smart. We donít want our enemies running our life. We want to be in control. But what use are dead enemies? Far better to make them serve us.

But whenever it seems weíve found a smarter or easier way than Godís way, or we think weíve come up with a slight modification to Godís narrow thinking that gives us the best of both worlds, you can be sure weíre proving how limited our IQ is, relative to the infinite intelligence of almighty God. Those slaves or their descendants kept tormenting and endangering the Israelites by such things as leading them into sin, joining the Israelitesí enemies and overpowering the Israelites, and so on.

Likewise, as we enter the promised land of victorious living, the Lord requires that we fully eradicate sin from our lives. We wholeheartedly agree Ė up to a certain point. We donít want to be dominated by sin. We want to be freed from all of sinís unpleasant sides. But fully eradicate our pet sin? Isnít that going to extremes? Wouldnít that make us some sort of freak? Why not keep our options open? We no longer want our sin as an everyday event, but wouldnít it be nice to have the security of keeping it in reserve, just in case things get particularly tough, or maybe just for the very occasional bit of harmless fun? Canít we have the best of both worlds? Canít we at least occasionally daydream about the past pleasures of sin?

No, we canít. Itís like keeping a pet cobra in your bed. You might be lucky for a long time, but one day when you least expect it, it will turn on you, plunging its deadly fangs into your flesh.

We must be ruthless in destroying every trace of sin in our lives; cutting off every route to sin; totally rejecting and despising not only sinís unpleasant side effects but the most desirable and pleasurable aspects as well. We want to pamper ourselves, but Jesus graphically portrayed how merciless we must be in our determination to rid ourselves of the fleeting pleasures of sin when he said we must be willing to hack off one of our hands or rip out an eye rather than let sin entice us. (As explained earlier, Jesus did not mean that we should literally harm bodies.) We must leave ourselves no options except to serve Christ and get our highs from him alone. For more on this theme see The Death Blow to Addiction.

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    When they won, it was often by following Godís command to do seemingly ridiculous things, like marching around Jericho until its mighty walls crumbled, or Gideon reducing the size of his army to almost nothing and arming them with clay jars, torches and trumpets, to cite just two of many examples. God has promised to provide for each of us Ďthe way of escapeí (1 Corinthians 10:13) Ė the way to victory Ė but it is up to us to obey when God reveals his strategy. A man with a significant ministry struggled and fell year after year with an addiction to porn. In this case Godís way didnít seem to make sense and seemed too risky. He felt God telling him to confess to his wife his secret addiction. It wasnít only his pride that was at stake, he thought the confession could end his marriage. He rationalized that there was no need for his wife to know. He procrastinated. He told himself that the leading could not possibly be from God. He did everything to squirm out of obeying. Finally, in utter desperation, he obeyed. And victory came. God knew he needed an accountability partner and that the deeds of darkness weaken when brought to the light.

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    God allowed enemies to remain to teach the Israelites warfare (Judges 3:1-2). In the wisdom of God it was not enough for them to pray and see the enemy wiped out without them lifting a finger. The divine plan was for them to put their lives on the line, personally engaging the enemy in warfare. Their loving Lord wanted them to embrace the fear and pain and exertion of battle.

We want the easy way out Ė the painless way that does nothing to strengthen us, nor bring us eternal honor. If you were instantly delivered, you could miss out on learning the secrets of spiritual warfare, such as faith, persistence, obedience, staying close to Christ and exercising your Christ-bought authority. These principles are of eternal spiritual value that in the final analysis can only be learnt on the battlefield, not from a text book.

Of course the Lord wants us to be in constant prayer, but often the divine battle plan is that we pray while attacking the enemy, rather than pray while avoiding the enemy. There are times when to do nothing else but pray and wait is not a sign of devotion but of cowardice and escapism.

A miraculous deliverance from your problem is like someone buying a second hand Olympic gold medal and giving it to you. Even though the medal is real, receiving it has taught you nothing about self-discipline, nor done anything for your fitness level, nor helped your relationship with your coach. You might now have a medal you can flash around Ė you might even foolishly let it go to your head Ė but it has done nothing to help you become a winner.

No matter how devastating our past history of defeat, the Lord will protect us and give us victory. He wants us to display our faith and our commitment to righteousness and obedience, not by hiding in holes hoping for a miracle, but by mustering the courage to yet again wrestle with the enemy in hand to hand combat. Like the disciples, we get discouraged and complain, ĎMaster, we have toiled all night and get nowhere.í But like the disciples, who ended up with a net bursting with fish, we can courageously say, ĎNevertheless, at your command, we will try yet again.í

 

 

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Traps for the victorious

It is exciting when you begin experiencing the victories Christ has won for you. We must forever remain alert, however. Our sly opponent has many a trick, honed over countless battles with humanity. Iíve often found it is the moment I begin to think I am getting strong that suddenly temptation returns with renewed power.

When Jesus warned his disciples to pray they not fall into temptation because Ďthe spirit is willing but the flesh is weakí (Matthew 26:41), I had always thought Jesus was rebuking them for having weak Ďfleshí (willpower). It was not until long after I had thought this web series was finished that someone rocked me with the comment, ĎThe flesh is always weakí (compare Romans 7:18). Suddenly the lights went on inside of me. That is why Alcoholics Anonymous have their famous slogan, ĎOnce an alcoholic, always an alcoholic.í That is why Jesus urged daily prayer, Ďlead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil,í just as he urged us to pray for daily bread. (The latter, incidentally, was another thing I had arrogantly thought an unnecessary prayer, just because I have money in the bank.) We constantly need an awareness of our utter dependence upon Godís protection and provision. When at last this hit home I was astonished at the grace of God that I had not fallen long before now. Like everyone else, I am terrifyingly vulnerable in any area in which I think my need of divine protection is less than desperate, because that is the area over which I am not continually calling down divine protection.

A Christian author was once asked in an interview to name the area of temptation in which he was most likely to fall. He thought for a while and confessed he did not know, but added that he knew what temptation he would definitely not fall into Ė marital unfaithfulness. He had a wonderfully strong marriage. Shortly after, he fell into adultery.

Simon Peter was almost certainly Superman, relative to me. He was so brave that even if it cost him his life, he knew he would never deny Jesus. He was so certain that although he no doubt offered some half-hearted prayers about it, he did not take with sufficient seriousness Jesusí warning of his need to pray for Godís protection from this particular temptation. Not surprisingly, he fell.

Relative to other people or to what we used to be like, our flesh might indeed be strong in a particular area, but relative to the spiritual power of evil, even our areas of strength are so pathetically weak that we do not have a chance unless we are continually seeking divine protection. While we cling to Christ, the weakest of us are invincible, but if ever we think we can go it alone, the strongest of us is a goner. I am safe for as long as my trust is not in my willpower or my spiritual maturity or string of past victories, but in Christ alone.

If our Lord grants a miraculous, almost painless, deliverance from a habit, thatís wonderful. You must then quickly decide that God means so much to you that you will resist temptation no matter how much resisting hurts. Without such determination you are highly vulnerable, because the time will come, possibly quite soon, when more effort is required to beat temptation.

Weíve mentioned the truth that reformed alcoholics should regard themselves as just one drink away from alcoholism. This describes an almost universal truth for any habit that once bound us. Without a healthy respect for this danger, we could end up having a very torrid time. Guard your God-given victory. If you lose it, the cost of regaining it could be enormous. When the Lord gives us an easy victory we have a tendency to think if we sin we will be able to get back into a winning streak as easily as we did before, but this is often not the case (Scriptures). God only sometimes delivers Christians painlessly.

Several times, Samson gave in to Delilahís incessant nagging and told her something to keep her quiet. And each time, he got away with it. But he was edging closer and closer to the precipice. Finally, he did it once too often. Expecting to shake himself free like before, he found himself bound. The enemy overpowered him. His eyes were plucked out. He was imprisoned and forced to slave like a mindless beast.

Keep abusing Godís mercy and you will pay.

When we start winning over temptation we must beware the tendency to want to find out how strong we have become. For instance, most people who have had success in overcoming an alcohol problem will be tempted to walk into a bar to prove to themselves that they can now refuse alcohol. This is virtually putting God to the test, and must be strenuously avoided. It could be very awkward and threatening to oneís career to avoid a work party where the drink flows, but this might be the very thing God requires of someone with a past drink problem. We must be especially careful to seek Godís direction before exposing ourselves to any temptations to which we have had a past weakness.

Victory is unlikely to last if we vainly imagine it is our achievement. On the contrary, we must live in holy awe of Godís mercy in delivering us. In life, we walk single file along a trail made narrow by the mountainous terrain. One pace to our right and one pace to our left is a sheer drop plunging hundreds of feet. There is no danger unless we were so stupid as to walk on the crumbling edge. We are perfectly safe provided we remain forever conscious that we are just one foolish step away from abusing Godís grace and plunging into greater than ever bondage and shame. We must always fear the possibility of acting like Samson with Delilah. Expecting once again to break free, we could find ourselves overpowered, blinded, and forced to slave for the enemy for who knows how long (Judges 16:4-21).

We are free only for as long as we realize our utter dependence upon God and remember that we each live one slip from disaster.

ĎThe key to staying delivered is this:í concludes Leif Wright, who found victory after many bitter failures, Ďevery day, be vigilant, be submitted to God, be aware of your weakness and aware that a record of resisting sin is the time to not become overconfident Ė instead to rely upon God for the power to resist temptation.í

 

 

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Bringing it together

In the eyes of God, you are already the greatest winner the universe has ever known. You can see yourself that way, or you can reject Godís revelation, malign all that Christ has done for you, and let the Deceiver dictate how you view yourself. That pathological liar says you will never win. Jesus says you have already won. The Enemy calls you lowlife. God says you are royalty. The devil claims we are helpless victims; slave to passions, emotions, cravings and circumstance. God says we can rule over these things (Scripture). Who will you believe?

Your risen Lord has freed you from slavery to bad habits. Stripped of his power, the Devil can only resort to bluff, trying with all his evil cunning to fool you into believing the lie that a certain temptation is either too big to resist or too small to bother resisting.

To overcome, discover how wonderful Jesus is. The more you realize how much he loves you, how highly he thinks of you, and how much he has done for you, the more you will fall in love with him. That makes it easy to stay close to your loving Shield. Knowing his wisdom and unselfish devotion to you, you will gladly obey him. And knowing he has committed his very life to your well being, you will trust him to give you all the resources you need to expose, and reject, the Fakerís diabolical tricks.

One of Satanís deceptions is to downplay the stakes. Like a deadly cancer, the earlier sin is detected and dealt with, the better your chances. Better to play in waters infested with killer crocodiles than dabble with sin. Knock sin on the head the first opportunity you get. Keep pushing wrong thoughts out of your mind and do all you can to distance yourself from sin.

Refuse to give in, knowing that your Savior has deposited within you all the strength you need to call Satanís bluff, but you must exert every bit of that strength. So you must remain sober and alert, prepared for what will sometimes be a long, hard fight.

It can hurt to resist, but keep persisting, inspired by the knowledge that Jesus endured still more pain to ensure that you would make it, and remembering that, despite the Evil Oneís lies, the ultimate cost of yielding to wrong doing is always far higher than whatever it costs to hold on. If we suffer with Christ, we shall reign with him (Scriptures). No matter what the pain, it will be dwarfed by the reward.

1 Corinthians 10:13 is one of the most glorious promises in all of Scripture, declaring that no temptation will be too strong for us. And yet the very words before that verse warn that whoever thinks he stands must be careful lest he fall into sin (Similar Scriptures). And the very next verse speaks of fleeing sin. Read it yourself. So Scripture is adamant that through Jesus we have full power over sin, provided we do not stray on to enemy territory without divine authorization. We must remember that the source of our power is in Jesus, not ourselves, and that sin is so lethal that we must keep as far from it as we can get.

Because you are spiritually one with Christ, when Satan attacks you, he is attacking Christ. In touching you, Satan will suddenly find himself facing the full wrath and might of the Almighty Lord. The Evil One does not have a hope, provided you do not jump into the fight ahead of Jesus. When the attack begins, instantly look to Jesus and by faith see him rushing into the battle. Immediately you can relax, knowing that the Almighty is shielding you with his own person, and that victory is certain because the invincible Lord is fighting for you. Then, knowing heís there despite what you may feel, take up your position behind Christ, prepared for a long fight, but knowing that Jesus is taking all the heavy blows. He loves you so much he wants to take you into battle with him, so that you get the thrill of sharing in his victory, but he is all the time protecting you, allowing only those attacks to reach you that he knows you can handle. He is training you for war because you will reign with him as conqueror forever.

 

 

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Quote

(Taken from Waiting for Your Ministry, an exciting, full-length book available free to internet users.)

After years of intense experience and prayer for young people dominated by powerful addictions, David Wilkerson of Teen Challenge found the three-pronged weapon for crushing the power of besetting sin. It is so thoroughly Scriptural and so workable that thousands, probably millions, of us have received this revelation independently. Not only does it work, it applies to every area of spiritual life I can think of. Here is my version:

    1. Desperately want Godís best (in this case, victory over temptation).

    2. Be convinced that your resources are woefully inadequate. Recognize that if it were up to you, you would never make it. Cease struggling.

    3. Know that because of his incomprehensible, unstoppable, Calvary-proven love, his rock-solid commitment to his word and his white hot yearning to be glorified in you, the Almighty Lord will miraculously intervene in your life, giving you total victory. Against this knowledge, Satan is helpless. He can do nothing but bluff. Giving in to temptation is like handing over your valuables to a fierce-looking weakling brandishing a cardboard gun. Christians are never overpowered by temptation, we simply surrender before discovering that temptationís pull is hopelessly out-matched by the power of the invincible God who dwells within us.

Reading about this weapon will deliver you no more than reading a cookbook will feed you. As Godís gladiator you must grasp that weapon and do battle in the power of the risen Lord.

 

 

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Destined for success

Are you a born failure? Who cares! Youíve been born again! Born once to imperfect parents, now born again to the Perfect Father, through Christ impregnated, as it were, with divine genes. Once a slave of sin, now a child of the Almighty Conqueror. A slave no longer, you belong to the King of kings. Royal blood flows through your veins. Godís smile is on you, his victory is for you, his power is in you. The Almighty is unstoppable and he lives in you. Rise up and assume your rightful place of authority in the Royal Family; in Christ invincible.

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A final, vital point

Picture yourself as a walled city in biblical times. Parts of the wall protecting you from attack soar 50 feet into the sky and are 30 feet wide. No enemy could ever penetrate such colossal defenses. Other parts, although less impressive, are perfectly adequate to withstand attack. Nevertheless, the enemy keeps getting in. You cannot work it out. Maybe there is a long-forgotten aqueduct under the wall somewhere. Maybe someone in the city is betraying you and opening a tiny gate at night. Somehow, the enemy is sneaking in and wreaking havoc. If only you could identify the weak point in your defenses you could live in victory.

Someone might excitedly declare he have found the secret to keeping the enemy at bay. He has proved in his own life that it works. But his discovery can only be your answer if your weak point happens to be identical to his. You cannot succeed until you identify and remove your personal weak point. For this to happen, second-hand revelation and other peopleís testimonies are usually inadequate. You need a personal revelation from God.

The secret of victory is not found in a do-it-yourself kit but in intimacy with the Victor. He shares his secrets with those who stay so close to him that they hear his faintest whisper. Habit-breaking power comes to those who constantly cling to him and fellowship with him.

Ultimately, the answer lies not in techniques or self-effort (although it might involve effort) but in Godís unfathomable love.

To paraphrase Ephesians 2:8-9: It is by Godís mercy, not your own efforts, that you have been saved from sin. This deliverance from the power and the penalty of sin is an undeserved gift that God gives anyone who simply believes him. That way, no one has a thing to boast about.

For some inexplicable reason, we who fully deserve to be left to drown in our own filth are Godís loved ones. He will rescue you.

If you havenít read Break Free! I suggest you do so,
but first record the web address of this page so that you can return to the important links below.

 

 

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For further help:

Surprising Insights into Emotional Factors Sustaining Addictions

Lifeís Mysteries Explained Encouraging insights into why God allows temptation

Satan, Evil Spirits and Temptation: You Can Beat Them Winning Secrets


Important links you might have missed:

Of Particular Importance:



Back to the beginning of Becoming a Winner

Overcoming Discouragement


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Not to be sold. © Copyright 1997, Grantley Morris. May be freely copied in whole or in part provided: it is not altered; this entire paragraph is included; readers are not charged; if used in a webpage, the new page is significantly different to this one. Many more compassionate, inspiring, sometimes hilarious writings available free online at www.net-burst.net  Freely you have received, freely give.
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