“How To Handle Temptation Victoriously”


1 Corinthians 10:13


A young priest was struggling with the temptation to give in to the desires of the flesh.  He was bothered by the fact that he was being tempted and the temptations were strong.  He went to his mentor, an older and much wiser priest for advice.  He asked his mentor,  “When will I get to the point where the desires of the flesh are no longer enticing?”  The older priest replied, “Son, I wouldn’t trust myself until I’ve been dead 3 days!”


Every one of us struggles with temptation.  The temptation to sin is a common and continual challenge in our lives.


Some Christians are bothered by the fact that they are tempted to sin.  But temptation itself is not a sin.  We know this because Jesus was tempted by Satan.  The Scripture says this about Jesus in regard to temptation:


“For this High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all the same temptations we do, yet he did not sin.” – Hebrews 4:15


Since Jesus faced temptation and did not sin, temptation itself is not a sin.  Don’t feel bad when you are tempted.  It is the giving in to temptation that is the sin.


The problem is that we do sometimes give in to temptation.  We not only face it but we struggle with it.  We want to overcome temptation.  But sometimes the temptation is strong and it is difficult to overcome.


But the promise of Scripture is that we can say no to temptation.  I Corinthians 10:13 is a verse that spells out that hope for us:




This verse tells us that we can experience victory over temptation.  We can say no.  There are several things we can do and need to do to handle temptation victoriously:


  1. Be Alert


9-11 was a tragic wake up call for America.  It made us realize that we were much more vulnerable to terrorist attacks than we ever imagined.  This led to the establishment of the Department of Homeland Security.  We are now much more alert to terrorist activity and more attacks have been averted.


We need to be alert to the possibility of temptation in our lives.  Jesus told his disciples:


“Keep alert and pray.  Otherwise temptation will overpower you.  For though the spirit is willing enough, the body is weak!” – Matthew 26:41


1 Corinthians 10:13 tells us that temptation will come into our lives.  Jesus was tempted and so will we.  To get to the place where we think we are beyond temptation or immune to certain temptations is dangerous ground spiritually.  Given the right set of circumstances any one of us can become susceptible to almost any temptation.


To say that we are beyond temptation or immune to certain temptations is pride and the Bible tells us that pride will lead to our downfall.  Just when we think we don’t have to worry about temptation, it will blindside us and we succumb to it.


We have to be alert to the reality of temptation in our lives.  Temptation is a lifelong challenge to deal with.


Jesus was tempted his entire life.  We focus on the three temptations of Jesus after he had spent 40 days in the wilderness.  We maybe have believed that was the only time Jesus was tempted.  But listen to what Luke says about the temptation of Jesus following those 3 temptations:


“When the Devil had finished tempting Jesus, he left him until the next opportunity came.” – Luke 4:13


Time after time, Satan tempted Jesus.  Temptation is something we will always have to face and deal with on a daily basis.


On Jan. 14, 2005, Shane Maixner died in an avalanche.  He and four of his friends drove to the Canyons ski resort outside Park City, Utah, rode the ski lift, and hiked up to the backcountry gate, went through the gate posted with warning signs, and started snowboarding.


On the second trip down the slopes, someone in the party shouted, “Avalanche!” but Shane could not escape.  Some in the media severely criticized the “reckless out-of-bounds rider, picturing Shane as a novice unaware of the possible dangers.  But that wasn’t true.


Shane and two others in his party were “avalanche-certified backcountry guides.”  The men owned special avalanche gear, but didn’t bring it with them.  Shane Maixner died because he let his guard down.


When it comes to temptation, we cannot let our guard down.  Here is what the Bible says about Satan:


“Be careful!  Watch out for attacks from the Devil, your great enemy.  He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for some victim to devour.” – 1 Peter 5:8


Satan is always on the prowl.  Temptation is always just around the corner.  The first step to realizing victory over it is always being on the alert to the possibility of temptation and sin.  When we are on the alert, we can guard against it.


Be alert is the first step and it is more of a mental thing.  Another thing that will help also deals with attitude.  It is….


  1. Realize that you can say no


Some people, even some Christians live a defeated life when it comes to temptation.  They think temptation is irresistible.  You hear them justify their sin by saying, “I just couldn’t help myself.”  That’s just a cop-out to avoid taking responsibility for one’s own actions.


I Corinthians 10:13 tells us that no temptation that we face is irresistible.  This verse promises us that God will not allow an irresistible temptation to come into our experience.  What’s more, this verse tells us that God will also provide a way out so that you won’t give in to temptation.


Paul in that verse says that God is faithful in this regard.  The problem is that we aren’t always faithful.  Sometimes we don’t take God’s way out.  It’s not that we can’t say no.  It’s the fact that we won’t say no.


Instead of living defeated, we need to begin living victoriously.  This begins in our minds.  We need to begin believing what this verse says that we can overcome temptation.  Listen to what Paul wrote about this in Romans 6:11:


“So you should consider yourselves dead to sin and able to live for the glory of God through Christ Jesus.” – Romans 6:11


We need to believe that by God’s grace and power, we can say no to temptation.  If we believe that we cannot say no, then we’ll be defeated.  We’ll give up and give in.  But if we will believe the promise of Scripture that God will help us to defeat temptation, we’ll begin to live that way.  We’ll begin to look for those escape routes.  We’ll begin to put the safeguards in place.


Several years ago, a drug prevention theme was developed.  It was simple and to the point.  “Just say no.”


We can “just say no” to temptation.  Realizing this is one of the first steps to overcoming temptation.


With this realization in mind, one of the first things we need to do, on a practical level, to safeguard against temptation is to…


  1. Pray


We read in Matthew 26:41 that Jesus told his disciples to be alert to the possibility of temptation.  When he told them to be alert, we told them to pray so that temptation would not overpower them.


In Ephesians 6, the apostle Paul gives us instructions on how to wage war against Satan.  He lists the spiritual armor of God that we need to put on and the weapon we need to use.  He begins that passage by reminding us to:


“Be strong with the Lord’s mighty power.” – Ephesians 6:10


We cannot defeat temptation under our own strength.  Temptation is too strong for us.  But armed with the Lord’s strength, we can overcome temptation.


One of the things we can do to tap into the Lord’s strength is to pray.  After Paul lists God’s armor in Ephesians 6, he gives this instruction:


“Pray at all times and on every occasion in the power of the Holy Spirit.” – Ephesians 6:18


Paul tells us to pray at all times.  This is wise advice since temptation is always just around the corner. 


Someone said, “One week, w-e-e-k without prayer will make one w-e-a-k.”  If we are going to face and overcome temptation, prayer must be a part of our lifestyle.


When Jesus told his disciples to be alert by praying, He Himself was praying in the Garden.  Jesus was struggling with the decision to go to the cross.  He fought off the temptation to not die on the cross for our sins.  He defeated that temptation through prayer.


We too will be alert and defeat temptation by having a regular prayer life.


Another thing we can do to prepare ourselves to withstand temptation is to:


  1. Know God’s Word


When Jesus said no to the three temptations that Satan presented to him, he quoted Scripture each time.  He responded to the temptation by saying, “It is written” and he quoted Old Testament Scripture.


Listen to what Psalm 119 has to say about the power that God’s Word has to help us defeat temptation.  First of all in verse 9 it says:


“How can a young man keep his way pure?  By living according to your word.” – Psalm 119:9


Then in verse 11 the Psalm writer tells us about the benefit of knowing God’s Word when it comes to warding off temptation.  It is a prayer of declaration to God:


“I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” -Psalm 119:11


God’s Word will insulate us against temptation.  This is one of the best reasons we have to read and study the Bible every single day.  Someone said- “If your Bible is falling apart, chances are your life isn’t.”


Another thing we can do to help deal with temptation is to…


  1. Get Your Thought Life Right


Temptation is a common occurrence.  But we can minimize how much temptation we experience by getting our thought life right.  I can say this because of what Romans 8:5 says:


“Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit.” – Romans 8:5


Paul is telling us that what we think about in our minds has a major impact on how we live our lives.


If you are having a real difficult time resisting temptation it could be that your real problem is your thought life.  You’re dwelling on things that feed the monster of temptation.  You’re looking at and dwelling on ungodly and impure thoughts that will weaken your spiritual immune system.  It’s making you weak and vulnerable to temptation.


You can minimize temptation.  In order to do so there may be some books you quit reading and certain magazines you quit looking at.  There may be certain TV programs and movies you no longer watch.  There are certain places on the internet that you need to stay away from.  There may be some types of music that you quit listening to.


On the upside, the person who lives for God, according to Romans 8:5 is the person who thinks about spiritual things.  We read our Bible.  We listen to Christian music.  We read good Christian books.  We concentrate on thinking pure thoughts.


There was an old comic strip character named Pogo.  Pogo was famous for saying- “We have met the enemy and he is us!”


When it comes to temptation, sometimes we are our own worst enemy.  We keep feeding our minds with impure thoughts.  We need to get our thought life right.


Another way that we are our own worst enemy when it comes to temptation, is that we put ourselves in places and situations where we will be tempted.  So another safeguard we need to take is to….


  1. Don’t Deliberately Compromise Yourself


The first part of Romans 6:13 addresses this:


“Do not let any part of your body become a tool of wickedness, to be used for sinning.” –Romans 6:13


You know when we violate this Scripture?  When we knowingly put ourselves in situations where we are going to be tempted. 


You know what you struggle with in regard to temptation.  You know what your weaknesses are. 


To put yourself in a place or position to be tempted by that is a very foolish thing to do.  The alcoholic needs to stay out of the bars. The gambling addict needs to stay out of the casinos. You need to stay away from those places and situations where you know you’re going to be tempted.


Along with this then, is that there are some friendships and relationships that just drag us down spiritually.  The Bible is honest about this:


“Bad company corrupts good character.” – 1 Corinthians 15:33


We talk about this one all the time.  A teen-ager gets into trouble and part of the problem is that, as we say, “he/she fell in with the wrong crowd.” 


Some people will drag us down spiritually.  We know that they are a negative influence on us.  We need to break off those friendships and relationships. 


     We must not deliberately compromise ourselves.  That means that there are some places you have to avoid, some activities you have to give up and some relationships in your life that you have to end. 


     Here is something positive we can to do to protect against temptation…


  1. Dedicate Yourself in Service to God


We’ve heard the old adage- “Idle hands are the devil’s workshop”.  Sometimes people get into trouble when they don’t have anything to do.  The Bible warns us against being idle.


Earlier we looked at the first part of Romans 6:13 that urged us not to use our bodies for sinful purposes.  Here’s what the rest of the verse says:


“…Instead, give yourselves completely to God since you have been given new life.  And use your whole body as a tool to do what is right for the glory of God.” – Romans 6:13


Fill your life with meaningful service to God.  Use your mind for the study of God’s Word.  Use your mouth to praise God, encourage fellow Christians and tell non-Christians the good news about Jesus.  Use your hands and feet to go about the Lord’s work.  Invest your time and energy in the ministry of the church.  When you do, you will find that you have less time, less opportunity and less desire to sin.




  1.  Don’t go it Alone


You don’t have to face temptation all by yourself.  You can receive encouragement from others that will help you remain strong. 


There is strength in numbers.  The book of Ecclesiastes says:


“A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back to back and conquer.  Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.” – Ecclesiastes 4:13


God never intended for the Christian life to be lived in isolation.  We all need the fellowship of our church family for encouragement, strength, and support.


Temptation is a constant challenge in our lives.  But we can live victoriously and God wants us to live victoriously.  The apostle John wrote:


“My dear children, I am writing this to you so that you will not sin.”


But the question is what happens when we do give in to temptation and sin?  God has that covered:


“But if you do sin, there is someone to plead for you before the Father.  He is Jesus Christ, the one who pleases God completely.

      He is the sacrifice for our sins.  He takes away not only our sins but   

      the sins of all the world.” – 1 John 2:1-2


God can help us have victory over temptation because he has already provided us with victory over sin.  We are forgiven because our Savior who said no to every temptation also died for every sin.


     We come to our commitment time.  Let us all commit to live victoriously

     over temptation by the power of God.


If you are not a Christian, would you like to receive Christ as your Lord and Savior this day?  When you do, you will receive victory over sin through God’s forgiveness and you will receive victory over temptation through God’s power and grace.

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Newport News (Lee Hall), VA 23603


Phone: 757 887-5536



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