Even though the devil is the tempter (Mat. 4:3, 1 Th. 3:5), temptations also come from us. God does not tempt us; He allows us to go through trials for our own spiritual benefit.
When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death. (James 1:13-15, NIV)
The problem is not that we cannot overcome temptations—“because he (Jesus) himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted” (Heb. 2:18, emphasis mine)—but even when God has provided a way of escape, we close the door. And this is what prevents us from overcoming temptations—not the devil, not God (because God does not tempt us)—but ourselves.
One way of dealing with temptations is to remember God’s word and use it as a tool for escape.
When the devil tempted Jesus in the wilderness, Jesus Christ responded with God’s word (Mt. 4:1-11). When Potiphar’s wife attempted seducing Joseph, he refused her: “How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?” (Gen. 39:9c; cf. Ex. 20:17)
When it became necessary, Joseph fled (Gen. 39:11-12). There was no one at home; Joseph could have done it without any other person knowing. Potiphar’s wife could have kept it a secret; but no, Joseph would not disappoint God.
In your lonely moments, in your successful moments, in your moments of high spirituality, that is when the greatest temptation will pull out its head. How would you manage it? Like Jesus and Joseph, remember God’s word and use it to your advantage, but when it becomes necessary, flee! (Gen. 39:11-12; 19:17; 1 Tim. 6:9-11; 2 Tim. 2:22; Prov. 4:14, 15; 1 Cor. 6:18; 10:14)
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