You Can Overcome Temptation!August 3, 2020
Jesus is Lord over everything you’re facing right now — and He is Lord over everything that seems to be happening in the world around us. Never forget it!
In the past couple of months, I’ve been writing to you about issues related to what so many people are facing in society right now. And I am excited that THIS MONTH, my newest book Last Days Survival Guide — A Scriptural Handbook To Prepare You for These Perilous Times will be released and available for purchase! I encourage you to get your copy at renner.org just as soon as you can!
Last-days events are occurring all around us, and there is victory to be had for those who are in Christ. But in this month’s letter, I feel led to encourage you on a more personal topic. So let me ask you…
What is your biggest temptation? Do you know what mine is? It’s a fast-food hamburger and French fries that my body does not need! That may seem rather benign to you, but that is one of the biggest temptations I face. But with God’s grace, I’ve learned how to deal with it.
The answer to defeating temptation is really quite simple… Would you like to know how to do it?
Be the Conqueror and Not the Conquered
The fact is that everyone has to deal with temptations at one time or another, so you don’t need to feel embarrassed if you’re facing a particular temptation right now. But at the same time, you don’t have to succumb to temptation, because it is something you can overcome! All temptations can be beaten! You just have to make up your mind that you’re going to be the conqueror and not the conquered!
You may not have thought of it before, but the devil tries to lure you into doing something you ought not to do by using your mind and emotions. He injects thoughts into your mind that act as stimulants to get you all stirred up in a certain area of your life. At that moment, you should be consciously aware that you can let the temptation pass you by — or you can allow those thoughts to fester in your mind and take root in your emotions until they become a major stronghold to battle.
For me, the thought of a nice, warm, salty French fry comes into my mind — I can almost taste it! After that, my mind may go to a nice hamburger, along with a vanilla shake, all things that I do not need. I’ve lost a lot of weight over the past few years by being very disciplined. But every once in awhile, those images of fast food will pop into my mind and work like the stimulant I just described in the previous paragraph. It’s not sin, but it’s something I do not need!
But by refusing to accept the thoughts in the first place, I — or you concerning whatever temptation or mind-popping image you face — can avoid the whole struggle!
You can choose to turn and look the other way, or you can dwell on that temptation until it fills your mind and imagination. If you choose to meditate on the thought that the devil is trying to put into your head, it won’t be too long until he is waging a full-scale battle in your mind! If you don’t put on the brakes and stop those thoughts, the devil will conquer you.
That’s why it’s so important that you learn how to control your thinking. If you can keep your mind under the control of the Holy Spirit, you will make it almost impossible for the devil to defeat you in any realm of your life.
The devil is a master when it comes to mind manipulation. He knows that if he can get you to spend a little time meditating on something wrong, he can eventually entice you to do it! If the devil was persuasive enough to deceive brilliant, mighty, powerful angels, how much more easily can he deceive people who live in a far-from-perfect environment and wrestle daily with their own imperfections! The emotional makeup of human beings makes them even more susceptible to the devil’s masterful skills of lying, deception, and manipulation.
Satan watches for the right timing. He comes along at an opportune moment. He waits until you’re tired, weary, or exasperated. Perhaps you woke up in a bad mood; someone gave you a “look” you didn’t like; or you just started off your day on the wrong foot. Then suddenly he strikes you with a thought — something that takes you totally by surprise when your guard is down!
The Way Out
When negative thoughts begin to deluge your mind, you need to know that it is Satan setting a trap in front of you. He is trying to ensnare you so he can cripple and devastate both you and the people you love. He’s trying to get you to bite the bait so he can set the hook! But you don’t have to fall into this trap anymore! There is a way out if you really want out of this type of emotional quandary.
First Corinthians 10:13 promises, “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”
The word “temptation” is the Greek word peirasmos, and it may refer to any outside source that appeals to a weakness in your flesh. That appeal pulls you like a magnet; it lures you mentally, emotionally, and sensually. It fascinates the imagination and entices the flesh to “take a closer peek.” If you don’t stop this process, it will set its hook in your soul and haul you right smack dab into the middle of some kind of sin!
Because the word peirasmos (“temptation”) can describe any weakness of the flesh, this scripture could apply to any fleshly weakness you might struggle with — from being lazy or easily offended to thinking too lowly or too highly of yourself to having a problem with anger or sexual temptation. Whatever your flesh responds to is what this word peirasmos refers to!
But this verse promises that God will make a way for you to escape temptation — if you really want to escape it! The Greek word for “escape” is the word ekbasis. This word is a compound of the word ek, meaning out, and the word basin, meaning to walk. When they are compounded, it means to walk out, as to walk out of a difficult place; to walk out of a trap; or to walk out of a place that isn’t good for you.
This makes me think of the time Joseph fled from Potiphar’s wife when she tried to seduce him. Rather than stay there and try to negotiate in the midst of the situation, Genesis 39:12 says Joseph “…fled, and got him out.” In other words, he got out of there as quickly as he could!
Negotiating with sin usually leads to falling into it rather than conquering it, so it’s better for a person to just get up and get away from the situation as quickly as he can! This is why Paul was constantly telling the early believers to “flee” evil influences (see 1 Corinthians 6:18; 10:14; 1 Timothy 6:11; 2 Timothy 2:22).
Your Part Is To Jump Through the ‘Escape Hatch’
The word “flee” is the Greek word pheugo, which means to flee, to take flight, to run away, to run as fast as possible, or to escape. This pictures a person who doesn’t want to succumb to those temptations that are surrounding him. If that describes you, you just need to get up, put on your jacket, pick up your things, and get out of that place of temptation as fast as you can! Let your feet fly as you flee that situation! You’re not stuck there — you can get out! You can walk out of that place just as easily as you walked in! Your feet work in both directions! God will make a way for you to escape those negative emotions if you really want to escape them. But you are the only one who can make the choice to jump through that escape hatch!
- If you know you’re being tempted to angrily explode, walk out before explosion happens!
- If you know you’re being tempted to get your feelings hurt, go somewhere else to pray and avoid the offense!
- If you know you’re being tempted to slip into a state of laziness, get up and get busy!
- If you know you’re being tempted to steal, get as far away as you can from the money or the coveted object!
- If you know you’re being tempted to eat what you don’t need to eat, get out of that situation immediately!
- If you know you’re being tempted to do anything wrong, it’s time for you to flee from that temptation!
Millions of Christians are held captive because they will not take the leap through that escape hatch that God promised to provide. As a result, they have no joy, no peace, and no victory in their lives. They may be Christians, but they’re miserable because they haven’t made the choice to jump through the escape hatch God has provided for them and to leave all those negative temptations and garbage behind.
If you’ll say yes to the Lord, He will show you how to walk out of whatever mess you find yourself in! You can avoid, evade, dodge, elude, shake off, get out of, and break away from every temptation — including eating a burger and fries you don’t need to eat! But you are the only one who can choose to walk out of those killer mental attacks or negative situations. The moment you make that decision, your journey to freedom begins!
So today the Lord is asking you: “Are you going to stay the way you are right now, or are you willing to take the proper steps to escape from your emotional temptation and demonic trap?”
What is your answer? What are you going to do? God is waiting for you to decide if you will receive the freedom He is offering you!
God is so good to give us such practical, down-to-earth advice that is helpful in walking free from temptations. But sometimes we also need the reinforcement of those who pray. If you need prayer for anything, in any sphere of your life, please let us know and our ministry team will get to praying as soon as we hear from you. In Jeremiah 33:3, God promised that if we would call out to Him, He would answer and show us a great and mighty answer. Let us pray with you for those amazing answers you need!
Thank you so much for letting me minister to you today. I trust this letter has been a blessing to you because I put my heart into it to bring you some spiritual assistance that works!
We love you and thank God for you!
We are your brother and sister, friends, and partners in Jesus,
Rick and Denise Renner
along with Paul, Philip, and Joel and their families