Help For Struggling Christians

January 27, 2015

Help For Struggling Christians

Fortunate is the one who has the power to resist temptation. Sometimes it’s just the temptation to take another helping of food. At other times it’s the temptation to do something that would have serious consequences. What does it take to resist temptation?

Proverbs 25:28 says, “He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls.” That means he is vulnerable. The word “rule” in that verse could also be translated control. It is saying that he doesn’t have the power to resist when he is faced with a temptation. He is like a city without walls. Ancient cities nearly always had walls around them. The only way to enter was through the gates that were guarded by a garrison of soldiers.

In Proverbs 16:32 Solomon wrote, “He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.” There he used a different word for “rule.” It means to govern or have power over. Cicero says that, “In all ages fewer men are found who conquer their own lusts than that overcome the armies of enemies.” [i]

The Bible gives us a vivid example of what can be the result when a man doesn’t have control over his spirit and gives in to temptation. We read about it in Joshua chapters six and seven. After the children of Israel captured the city of Jerico, Joshua ordered that no one was allowed to touch the spoils of the city. There was a man, by the name of Achan, who couldn’t resist the temptation. Joshua 7:1 says, “But the children of Israel committed a trespass in the accursed thing: for Achan, the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took of the accursed thing: and the anger of the LORD was kindled against the children of Israel.” His punishment was that he was stoned to death and all he had was burned. Because of his sin, he, his family, and all Israel suffered. That is the tragic consequence of sin. Not only the sinner suffers, but he causes others to suffer also.

What can we do to give us control over our spirit and the power we need to resist temptation? The following are some suggestions:

  1. We need to accept the Bible as divine authority. That means when it says something is wrong, we don’t question it. That is what’s called having convictions. When we are tempted to do something the Bible says is wrong, we don’t even consider doing it. It is like having a wall around us that protects us. When the enemy comes at us with a temptation, we aren’t near as likely to yield to him.
  2. Matthew 26:41 says, “Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is” You better believe that your flesh is weak. Temptation comes by means of what the Bible calls lust. Romans 6:12 says, “Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.” Do you have control over your mortal body, or does it have control over you?
  3. Victory comes when we take heed to Romans 12:1. “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” God has a right to our bodies because I Corinthians 6:19-20 says, “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.”
  4. If we are surrendered to the will of God, we won’t give into temptation. Romans 12:2 says we can know what God’s will is. “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”
  5. We need to have the right attitude towards the commandments of God. They aren’t given to kill our joy or restrict our pleasure. They are for our protection.
  6. You also need to keep a close relationship with God. John 14:15 says, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.”   If we love God, we will want to please him. Satan tempts people to think that there is no pleasure in the Christian life. To the contrary, Psalm 16:11 says, “Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fullness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.”

Christians who seek to resist temptation, by will power alone, nearly always fail because they fail to realize that the flesh is weak. The power comes by having the right relationship with God. Do you have it? Have your sins been forgiven because you have accepted Christ’s sacrifice on your behalf? John 1:12 says, “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.” After accepting Christ’s sacrifice, you need to cultivate an ever closer relationship with God. The more you do, the easier it will be to have control over your spirit, and resist temptation.

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[i] Epist. I5. Ep.4.


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