Overcoming Temptation In Eight Easy Lessons

Image of overcoming temptation at the bakery.
Temptation at the bakery!

Have you ever found yourself wanting to overcome a particular temptation or to improve yourself in one area or another? However, in the process you became confused about how to proceed or kept failing to reach your goal. You became discouraged, so you quit. There is encouragement in the Bible which I want to share with you. These lessons helped me when I was young and I hope my openness in sharing these with you will give you the encouragement you may need to overcome the sin you see in yourself. My specific temptation was food. I struggled with excess weight, feeling condemned, and overwhelmed with failure. Your struggle may be with another temptation like addiction, or perhaps impatience, or anxiety. When we desire to be more godlike, we can find our way in the Bible. The Bible verses I use in these lessons are from the New American Standard Bible (NASB) and I will refer alternately to the God of the Bible as YHWH, our Father, our Creator or simply God.

Table of Contents

Lesson one: Identifying the temptation

The first point to understand is that we are not so unique that no one else has had to deal with or go through what we are facing. All people face temptations and personal flaws;although, not all people choose to overcome the temptations. If we do choose to overcome temptation and improve ourselves we can find help from the Bible. God is with us showing the way of escape. He gives us the strength we need to be successful.

No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.

1Cor 10:13

It is my opinion that many problems we face are rooted in the breaking of the first and second commandments. And yet, the goodness of God is promised to those who love Him and keep His commandments. Therefore, the first two commandments are a good place to start in our search for help from God in overcoming temptation.

Then God spoke all these words, saying, “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. You shall have no other gods before Me. You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth. You shall not worship them or serve them, for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing lovingkindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.

EX 20:1-6

These two commandments specifically forbid idolatry. What is idolatry and how does it apply to us? Idolatry is more than statues or images we worship. It is anything that replaces God or holds the place of God in our lives. YHWH, our Father and Creator, is security, peace, comfort, righteousness, love, eternity, power, nourishment, and rest. If we seek these things through something other than YHWH, we commit idolatry. I may eat sweets because I get a feeling of comfort from that, but the result is excess weight, replacing nourishing calories with empty ones, and becoming compulsive about food. I need more and more to achieve that comfort. It doesn’t satisfy my true need and is very short-lived. I have become enslaved to food.

It is important to understand what we get from the false gods we have set up. Only then can we seek YHWH and get our comfort, security, love, eternity, etc from Him alone. Consider this illustration God gave to Jeremiah, the prophet.

Thus the LORD said to me, “Go and buy yourself a linen waistband and put it around your waist, but do not put it in water.” So I bought the waistband in accordance with the word of the LORD and put it around my waist. Then the word of the LORD came to me a second time, saying, “Take the waistband that you have bought, which is around your waist, and arise, go to the Euphrates and hide it there in a crevice of the rock.” So I went and hid it by the Euphrates, as the LORD had commanded me. After many days the LORD said to me, “Arise, go to the Euphrates and take from there the waistband which I commanded you to hide there.” Then I went to the Euphrates and dug, and I took the waistband from the place where I had hidden it; and lo, the waistband was ruined, it was totally worthless. Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying, “Thus says the LORD, ‘Just so will I destroy the pride of Judah and the great pride of Jerusalem. ‘This wicked people, who refuse to listen to My words, who walk in the stubbornness of their hearts and have gone after other gods to serve them and to bow down to them, let them be just like this waistband which is totally worthless. ‘For as the waistband clings to the waist of a man, so I made the whole household of Israel and the whole household of Judah cling to Me,’ declares the LORD, ‘that they might be for Me a people, for renown, for praise and for glory; but they did not listen.’

Jer 13: 1-11

God has a plan for all of us. He wants us to cling to Him like the waistband in this story. He wants us to be His people—a people for renown, for praise and for glory. We must rid ourselves of the false gods so we can be the quality person YHWH, our Father, created us to be. Let us learn from Ancient Israel and listen to God.

Lesson two: The problem

We know YHWH wants us to cling to him and be more like him, but why is overcoming temptation so difficult? The broken New Year’s resolution is legendary. The Bible says we are enslaved through the fear of death.

Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and might free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives.

Heb 2:14-15

Although, at first, this may not seem true, the fear of death is actually our survival instinct. We have an image we want to maintain—our self-concept. The choices we make in life; how we dress, spend our money, the words we use, the activities we engage in, are all affected by our self-concept. If that image is threatened, our survival instinct kicks in and causes us to do things that seem for the moment to preserve that self-concept. But in fact they are enslaving us. We may consider ourselves kind, but in our kindness we may not always be forthright. We may tell someone they are good when, in fact, they are backstabbers. We deceive them and ourselves, enslaving ourselves to the image of kindness at all cost. We do it because we don’t want our image of kindness to die, we want to save face, and to be thought of as a nice person.

Another kind of enslavement occurs when we react emotionally violent to others actions. We pass a condemning judgment on them to maintain our sense of being right. This keeps us from seeing the similarity between our sins and those of others. We cannot correct ourselves when this happens because we do not see the truth of what we really are. I was so proud that I didn’t drink or do drugs, but every day I indulged in excessive numbers of cookies. I did it to relieve stress and escape doing the things I knew I should do. I was enslaved to stress. So I relieved that stress through food, instead of taking charge of my life, seeking a godly relief of my stress. YHWH, our Father, understood my situation and eventually, I could face the truth.

Fear of loss is akin to fear of death. We spend too much money, eat too much food, drink too much alcohol, are impatient, manipulative, and envious because we fear loss. We must give up the comfort, security, money, and status of these things when we decide to overcome temptation. The source of this fear and enslavement is the devil. But YHWH God, our Father frees us through our repentance and the knowledge of the truth.

. . . God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses {and escape} from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will.

2 Tim 2:25-26

Until we come to our senses and see how our fear of death and fear of loss have made us do things we know are wrong, we cannot be free to overcome temptation. However, if we confront the image we are enslaved to, we can successfully overcome temptation and become a child of God.

For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!”

Rom 8:15

In the following section we will examine the promises from God toward his children.

Lesson three: Promises from God

We have identified the difficulty (idolatry) and we understand why it is such a problem (enslaved by Satan through the fear of death). Now we need to know that God can help us. There are many promises in the Bible that assure us of success. God will come through for us.

{For I am} confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus (Phl 1:6).

. . . for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for {His} good pleasure (Phil 2:13).

When we feel discouraged because we keep failing we must remember and have confidence that YHWH is at work in us. He won’t give up on us. He will work with us until Jesus returns. And it is He who is doing the work. God gives us the desire to overcome and the strength to do what is pleasing to Him.

Jesus said, “I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have {it} abundantly” (John 10:9-10).

Paul answered, “For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; {and} that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us (Eph 3:14-20).

Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of {the} divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust (2 Pet 1:2-4 my emphasis).

Notice the words abundantly and everything. It is God’s nature to give abundantly. Whatever we think we can get from the false gods in our lives, God will give much more. When Jesus Christ is our Lord and we are following the word of God, we have everything we need to overcome the corruption in the world and in ourselves. We have things we didn’t even know we wanted or needed. He shares His divine nature with us, his power, his promises and much more.

Now a final word:

For if the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling those who have been defiled sanctify for the cleansing of the flesh, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

Heb 9:13-14 my emphasis

Under the old priesthood there were rituals and sacrifices when they had sinned. We may try to relieve our guilt through various methods as well, but we can’t. There are not enough gifts or enough diets or enough money that will make up for our failures and relieve our guilt. It is because of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ that our conscience is cleansed from those things that lead to death. Next, we will look at the traps that impede our progress toward success.

Lesson four: Danger zone

We must be aware of the danger zones we face before we go on. The word of God must fall on the good soil of our lives; that is we hear, accept and act on it. There is also the danger zone of growing weary and quitting. And the third danger is excusing our failures instead of facing up to them and confessing them to God. If we enter any of these danger zones, we risk never getting to where we want to be. However, avoiding danger zones improves our chance of success.

“The sower sows the word. These are the ones who are beside the road where the word is sown; and when they hear, immediately Satan comes and takes away the word which has been sown in them. In a similar way these are the ones on whom seed was sown on the rocky {places,} who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with joy; and they have no {firm} root in themselves, but are {only} temporary; then, when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, immediately they fall away. And others are the ones on whom seed was sown among the thorns; these are the ones who have heard the word, but the worries of the world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. And those are the ones on whom seed was sown on the good soil; and they hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold.

Mark 4:13-20

Satan will steal the word from us, making us doubt its truthfulness or regard it as foolishness. The word must take a firm root so that we can persevere through affliction, persecution, and temptation. We cannot allow worry or covetousness to choke the truth of God’s word from our minds. When we hear what God says about how to live and how to grow into the person He created us to be, we will be very successful, bearing fruit up to one hundred times the effort we have given.

Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. You have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood in your striving against sin.

Heb 12-1:4

When we fail we must remember the forgiveness offered to us. If we confess our sin we start fresh and clean to keep striving toward our goal.

Jesus endured and overcame all the same temptations we ourselves face (Heb 4:15). We have His example. Through prayer and the power of the Holy Spirit, we can endure this struggle of overcoming temptation, as well. We can avoid the danger zone of losing heart. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. . . . For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.

Rom 8:1-5

We are walking according to the Spirit when we confess our sin rather than excuse it. After each failure we must examine why we failed. What lie did we believe? Satan is the father of lies, so we know where that lying thought came from. In the past, as I worked on my own weakness to overeat, I would believe the lie that I needed a little energy. After all I deserved a cookie, so I would eat one. But I didn’t stop there. I ate another and another until I was too stuffed to move and then I would sleep. When I became aware of the lie and confessed the sin of idolatry, I learned to take a nap. What I needed was to relax and rest.

For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, and {then} have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame.

Heb 6:4-6

If we give up, excuse our behavior and failings rather than acknowledging them, we risk never being able to get on track again. And consider what Jesus says about unclean spirits and the habits they cause us to cultivate. If we rid ourselves of a habit, but do not act on the Word of God, we will find ourselves worse off than before.

When the unclean spirit goes out of a man, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, and not finding any, it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when it comes, it finds it swept and put in order. Then it goes and takes {along} seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they go in and live there; and the last state of that man becomes worse than the first. . . . blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it.

Luke 11:21-28

. . . promising them freedom while they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by what a man is overcome, by this he is enslaved. For if, after they have escaped the defilement of the world by the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and are overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. For it would be better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn away from the holy commandment handed on to them. It has happened to them according to the true proverb, ‘A DOG RETURNS TO ITS OWN VOMIT,’ and, ‘A sow, after washing,{returns} to wallowing in the mire.’

2Pe 2:19-22

There are those who diet to lose weight, but gain back even more than they lost. People return to smoking, taking drugs, or drinking, and have even more difficulty quitting again. I think this happens because they do not see why they ate too much and gained the weight in the first place. John Bradshaw, a psychologist from the 80’s, talked about being a dry alcoholic. He quit drinking, but until he looked at himself honestly and overcame the reasons behind his drinking he was still an alcoholic. So what lies have we believed that keep us in bondage to our flesh, not allowing the permanent change we want. We must come to terms with our false gods and turn fully to the one, true God, YHWH. So let’s get into the details of coming to terms with our false gods.

Lesson five: Our part

We have God’s promises for success and we know where the danger zones are. We can now move forward to the nitty-gritty of overcoming temptation. “So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling” (Phil 2:12).

How do we work out our salvation? First, we must understand why we fail. Educating ourselves is the next step to keep us from being deceived and believing the lies Satan tells us. For example, I learned about food, the body’s need for it, and the best food choices to make. I couldn’t leave those decisions to diets or other people’s knowledge. No matter what we are dealing with, we must understand the traps, pitfalls, effects, and consequences of our chosen false god.

But He knows the way I take; {When} He has tried me, I shall come forth as gold. My foot has held fast to His path; I have kept His way and not turned aside. I have not departed from the command of His lips; I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my necessary food.

Job 23:10-12

We have the right priorities if we can say, like Job, that we treasure God’s word more than our food or any other indulgence. Everything must have its proper place in our lives.

But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s.” Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and will then repay every man according to his deeds”.

Matt 16:23-27

According to Jesus the proper priority is to deny ourselves and lose our lives to obey God. Then we will find true life. This is a paradox that goes against our natural inclinations: the fear of pain and loss, and what we hear from others around us. Every advertisement we hear and see encourages us to self indulge. Yet, we admire those who have denied themselves. We call them heroes. It might be true that we gain peace, health and the respect of others when we say no to our natural lusts. But at the moment of testing what choice do we make? God made us and the world around us. We can trust that He understands and has insight into how it all works. To deny ourselves is to gain real life.

Jesus answered them and said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled. Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you, for on Him the Father, God, has set His seal.” Therefore they said to Him, “What shall we do, so that we may work the works of God?” Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.”

John 6:26-29

For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world–our faith. Who is the one who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?

1 John5:4-5

There is one great work that will accomplish all that we desire. We must believe YHWH, our Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. If you have already tried believing in yourself, or your parents or the newest fad, you know these fail. However, God is faithful and will not fail us. “You are from God, little children, and have overcome them (lying spirits); because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4 my emphasis).

We must educate ourselves so we know the right choices to make and the correct priorities to have. Then denying ourselves and having our faith in God, we will have the insight and ability to rise above our nature and overcome temptation. It helps to anticipate how this new path will go. Let’s take a look at what to expect as we work out our salvation.

Lesson six: What to expect

example of overcoming an obstacle course
Overcoming obstacles sometimes requires sacrafice and suffering

When I first decided to let God have control of my life I thought it would be easy. After all I had the promise of His help, I had faith in God and would obey him. I had educated myself and I had decided to stick it out until I reached my goal (to overcome the compulsive eating habits I had formed). But it wasn’t all that easy. Okay, so I said there were 8 easy lessons. But it’s really 7 easy lessons and one really hard one. This is the hard one because we can expect to sacrifice and to suffer in order to reach our goal.

We can expect two kinds of suffering. The first one comes from those around us. Others may not understand why we aren’t doing the things we used to do, and they may feel uncomfortable. Even our family may question the changes they see. We risk losing friends or, at least, losing the closeness we had with them. We can also expect to suffer physically and mentally because we are changing the way we usually deal with life, and we are denying the passing pleasure of the moment to attain the enduring reward in the future.

Therefore, those also who suffer according to the will of God shall entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right (1Pet 4:19).

For it is better, if God should will it so, that you suffer for doing what is right rather than for doing what is wrong (1Pet 3:17).

We will suffer, but we have our belief in YHWH. He is faithful. He sees and will judge us well. And no matter what, suffering is a part of life. So it is better to suffer doing the right thing than to suffer for doing wrong. We have given up our false gods to follow the one true God. There are much greater rewards. We should not feel sorry for ourselves but consider the privilege we are entrusted with.

For to you it has been granted for Christ’s sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake (Phil 1:29).

{This is} a plain indication of God’s righteous judgment so that you will be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which indeed you are suffering (2Thess 1:5).

. . . we are children of God and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with {Him} so that we may also be glorified with {Him.} For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us (Rom 8:17-18).

Let’s look at how Moses dealt with suffering. After all he is included in the hall of faith with so many others who put their trust in YHWH. He understood that the future reward was much greater and worth more than giving up and giving in to the comforts of being a prince in the Egyptian court.

. . . choosing rather to endure ill-treatment with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, considering the reproach because of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt; for he was looking to the reward. By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured, as seeing Him who is unseen.

Heb 11:25-27

Jesus Himself has become the prefect High Priest to intercede for us to the Father. He was tempted, suffered, and overcame every kind of temptation we might face. (Read about the temptations he faced in Luke chapter 4 and Matthew chapter 4.) After fasting for 40 days he was very hungry; he was suffering. But He entrusted his life to His Father, returned from the temptation in the power of the Spirit and in the end received resurrection to eternal life. We can also overcome our suffering, walk in the power of God’s Spirit and in the end have eternal life.

When the devil had finished every temptation, he left Him until an opportune time. And Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about Him spread through all the surrounding district (Luke 4:13-14).

For since He Himself was tempted in that which He has suffered, He is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted (Heb 2:18).

For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in his mouth; and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting {Himself} to Him who judges righteously; and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed. For you were continually straying like sheep, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls (1Pe 2:21-25).

We can expect to suffer physically and mentally. There may even be some emotional suffering. We should not put ourselves in the way of temptation and the resulting suffering. (I don’t keep cookies and candies out where I can see them and I don’t let myself get too hungry.) We must sacrifice our will, our comfort, our self-indulgence, doing without, giving up the easy way. But the end reward is well worth it—becoming the person YHWH our Father had in mind when He first made us. So how long will it take to see the end reward? We will explore that question in the next part.

Lesson seven: How long do we do this

In lesson four we discussed the danger zone of growing weary and quitting before we reach our goal, but we must also realize that once we reach a goal we must keep at it. Jesus reminds us that endurance is the key to ultimate success.

Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many. Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved (Matt 24:11-13).

You will be hated by all because of My name, but it is the one who has endured to the end who will be saved (Matt 10:22).

Success and ultimately salvation are achieved by sticking to the truth of God’s word and loving our neighbor, no matter what others are doing, no matter what pressures we face. I faced this challenge when I would be with a group of people who didn’t seem to care about healthy eating habits or their weight. I was tempted to give in to their habits. I felt that I had been “good” for so long that I should be able to indulge. I soon realized the simple truth that what I’ve done in the past counts for little if I don’t keep at it. Paul himself kept-on-keeping-on. He said he was striving toward the prize, to the upward call of God.

Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified (1Cor 9:24-27).

Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of {it} yet; but one thing {I do:} forgetting what {lies} behind and reaching forward to what {lies} ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as are perfect, have this attitude; and if in anything you have a different attitude, God will reveal that also to you; however, let us keep living by that same {standard} to which we have attained (Phil 3:12-16).

All this enduring to the end and striving could discourage us, except we know Jesus will never leave us nor forsake us. The other gods we have depended on will fail, but Jesus won’t. We also know that the Father is full of mercy and compassion. He has given us to Jesus and He will not lose us.

{Make sure that} your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, “I WILL NEVER DESERT YOU, NOR WILL I EVER FORSAKE YOU” (Heb 13:5).

While I was with them, I was keeping them in Your name which You have given Me; and I guarded them and not one of them perished but the son of perdition, so that the Scripture would be fulfilled (John 17:12).

We count those blessed who endured. You have heard of the endurance of Job and have seen the outcome of the Lord’s dealings, that the Lord is full of compassion and {is} merciful (James 5:7-11).

It is up to us to keep going and up to God to provide everything we need to continue in that way. He desires that we turn to Him and keep turning to Him to find true life. Giving up and returning to the old ways negates all we have gone through. When we are tempted to quit we must remind ourselves that we have everything we truly need to stick to it.

Say to them, ‘As I live!’ declares the Lord GOD, ‘I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn back, turn back from your evil ways!

Eze 33:11

In the final part, we will look at what the abundant life is and what God wants for us now and in the future.

Lesson eight: Is overcoming temptation worth it

We have come to the end of these lessons. We started out wanting to improve ourselves and overcoming temptations. By worshiping and serving YHWH alone as God, we have ordered our priorities correctly to achieve the character improvements we seek. We know how to deal with the failures we will encounter, so we can get back on track. God will perfect the work He has begun in us and will provide everything we need to succeed. We also realize there will be some suffering as we give up old habits and become the person God created us to be. Jesus, Himself is our example, suffering death to gain life for us. We know we are going the distance, not quitting for any reason, but looking forward to the end result we desire.

So in the end what is it all about? What do we get from all the suffering we’ve gone through? When all is said and done, will it be worth it? While we have, by now, become more like the person God wants us to be (and hopefully we are happier with ourselves), there are other benefits we look forward to. Hopefully we will see in this last lesson that yes, it is worth it.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

Gal 5:22-24

At least now we have a chance to be free of our compulsions and sin as we develop our character and as the fruit of the Spirit grow in us. We can do it because we have the course of action and the path to follow. The promises of God are more than we can imagine now, but they are everything we were seeking, everything we thought we could get from the false gods of our past.

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path (Psa 119:105).

I have come {as} Light into the world, so that everyone who believes in Me will not remain in darkness (John 12:46).

For from days of old they have not heard or perceived by ear, Nor has the eye seen a God besides You, Who acts in behalf of the one who waits for Him. You meet him who rejoices in doing righteousness, who remembers You in Your ways (Isa 64:4-5).

Where can we go for the answers to our questions or the solutions to our problems and freedom from sin? Men have been philosophizing for centuries, and their philosophies change because they are not the answer to the real problems men face. YHWH, our Father, the Creator of the universe has not left us to figure it all out. He has revealed the ways of the universe to us in the Bible. It is up to us to seek. And we will find it. I pray that each of you will seek from God alone the answers to all your questions, and seek to understand the world from the Creator. It is all in the Creator’s operations handbook, the Bible. Paul’s words sum it all up much better than I could.

But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised. But he who is spiritual appraises all things, yet he himself is appraised by no one. For who has known the mind of the Lord, that he will instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ.

1Cor 2:6-16