Victory Over Temptation
By Mark A. Finley
The famous American writer Mark Twain is reported to have said, “I deal with temptation by yielding to it.” This statement seems to be the norm for many Christians. They have accepted Jesus, they believe He has saved them, but they still struggle with besetting sins and are regularly overcome by Satan’s temptations. Is the Christian life one of perpetual defeat? Is victory over temptation possible? If it is, how can we achieve it? In this lesson we will discover answers to these questions.
1 Read Revelation 2:7, 11, 17, 26; 3:5, 12, 21. What is the main theme in these passages of Scripture? What do they all have in common? What do they say about overcoming?
The book of Revelation is addressed to seven specific churches in Asia Minor, an area that comprises modern-day Turkey. These churches, in Ephesus, Symrna, Pergamos, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea, faced enormous temptations and challenges. Five of the seven received direct rebukes from God. They were afflicted with deadly spiritual diseases. Nevertheless, our loving and all-powerful Lord promised victory and the ability to overcome the wiles of the evil one to each member of these early Christian congregations.
2 Read 2 Corinthians 5:17; Ephesians 2:19-22; 3:19, 20; Jude 24, 25. What promises does the Bible give us as we commit our lives to Jesus?
Each of these passages is incredibly encouraging. When we accept Jesus as our personal Savior, the Holy Spirit enters our lives. We have supernatural power to overcome the temptations of Satan. We are not left alone to struggle in frustrated defeat.
3 Can we overcome Satan on our own? Read Job 14:4 and Jeremiah 13:23. Is it possible to defeat the enemy unaided by the power of Jesus?
4 Read John 3:1-8. How did Jesus describe the change that takes place at conversion to respectable, God-fearing Nicodemus?
5 Read Galatians 2:20. How does this miraculous change take place in our lives?
When we surrender our lives totally to Jesus, the Holy Spirit takes possession of our lives. The result is a mysterious, unexplainable union with Christ. We become a “new creation” in Christ. We are His possession, under new management, and He gives us a new nature (Rom. 6:6-11). By receiving Christ we become sons and daughters of God (Eph. 3:15). As we fellowship with Christ through prayer and the study of His Word, He writes the principles of His law in our hearts and minds (Heb. 8:10).
6 Read Ephesians 2:8-10. What is the practical result of Christ’s amazing saving grace in our lives? What happens to the believer who is saved by grace?
Salvation by grace has practical consequences in our lives. Although we come to Jesus just as we are, we do not remain as we were after coming to Jesus. His grace changes us; we become “His workmanship.” In other words, Christ works divine changes in our lives so that day by day we become more like Him. This work of grace, or sanctification, in our lives does not take place in an instant. As we abide in Christ we are gradually changed into His image (John 15:1-8; 1 John 3:1-3).
7 Read Galatians 5:16-25 and describe how our lives are different through the power of the Holy Spirit after we are converted. Contrast the works of the “flesh” and the works of the “Spirit.”
Conversion is difficult to comprehend, and even more difficult to explain. To be understood, it must be experienced. There is a miraculous, life-changing power in the gospel of Jesus. There is transforming power in His amazing grace. In Him we are not the same.
Why not open your heart fully to His transforming grace? If you’ve already committed your life to Him, why not do it again today, and ask Him to continue to work an ongoing change in your life so daily you can become more like Him?