Overcoming TemptationQUESTION: Overcoming temptation - Is it possible?ANSWER:
Is it possible to live a life so pure that temptation can be eradicated from our lives? The short answer is no. Fortunately though, there can be victory in overcoming temptation. The temptations of Jesus give us great insight, His ordeals and subsequent victories give us great confidence.
The trials regarding Jesus' temptation in the wilderness are chronicled in Matthew 4:1-3: "Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, 'If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.'"
The record of His victory is to be found in Matthew 4:9-11: "'All this I will give you,' he said, 'if you will bow down and worship me.' Jesus said to him, 'Away from me, Satan! For it is written: "Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only'" Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him."
Some people feel that the reason Jesus did not yield to His temptations was because He did not have a sin nature. Adam and Eve didn't have sin natures either, yet they succumbed to temptation, and they sinned.
Despite our efforts to eradicate sin from our lives, we must expect temptations, and fully realize also that God Himself does not tempt us directly. James 1:13 says, "When tempted, no one should say, 'God is tempting me.' For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone."
Rather God "allows" us to be tempted by our spiritual enemies, yet even at the same time giving us the graces necessary to resist. Take heart from Paul's writings to the Corinthians and know that God is faithful. While God permits us to experience temptation, it is never more than we can manage. 1 Corinthians 10:13 says, "No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it."
Temptations which expose our human imperfections are certainly among the most trying hardships we can endure. To struggle courageously against temptation is one of the most meritorious acts we can perform; and once we have triumphed with God's grace, we can repeat it. If you want to learn more about fighting temptation, keep reading. In the words of James 1:12: "Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him."