We tackled the topic ‘overcoming temptation’ with a meaty study of Ephesians where God teaches us to know our enemy and the strategy/tactics for overcoming temptation.
In Luke 11, Jesus’ model prayer for the disciples ends with “lead us not into temptation” suggesting temptation is a tough gig for his followers. So what exactly is temptation.
The song Temptation by Joan Armatrading (1985) starts with:
Temptation drags you down, takes you where you want to be
It’s not far off how temptation is described in James 1:14:
But each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.
It’s about desire and enticement. What are we enticed by? Stuff that plays on our desires! Are there temptations that are harder to resist than others? Are there temptations specific to life in the military? Why is it we are so drawn to do the things we know we shouldn’t do?
These and many more questions lead us into Ephesians in search of God’s plan for overcoming temptation.
We firstly detoured into Luke’s gospel to see how Jesus handled temptation.
In Luke 4 we saw that Jesus responds to temptation by Satan in the wilderness with the Word of God.
In Luke 22 we saw that Jesus faces the temptation to turn away from the agony and humiliation of his betrayal and death with prayer to his heavenly Father.
Over in Ephesians 2:1-3 we got our heads around the combined arms strategy that has lethal impact:
- the world
- our cravings
And as we discovered in Ephesians 4:17-19, it is a strategy that affects the whole person:
But God has his own combined arms strategy which he spells out in the rest of Ephesians.
It is not about finding the ‘inner dragon’ – it is about orienting our life to God, relying on him and seeking the good of others.