Solomon - “Fear the Lord and turn away from evil.” (Proverbs 3:7)
Are you ever tempted to be involved in evil? The truth is, we all constantly struggle with our sinful nature or our predisposition towards selfishness and sin. That’s why the Apostle Paul wrote, “When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these” (Galatians 5:19-21). There is no doubt that we struggle with our sinful natures, causing an inclination toward evil. So the question must be asked, “How can each of us overcome our sin natures?”
First, we overcome our sinful natures by resisting temptation. If we were all honest, we would admit that we all struggle with temptation. Some people are tempted to lie while others are tempted to cheat or steal. Some are tempted to engage in immoral activities while still others are tempted to indulge in eating food they shouldn’t be eating. If you don’t struggle with temptation, it’s because you’re either dead or too old to be tempted any longer.
Jesus knew we would struggle with temptation so He taught us in the Model prayer to pray to overcome our temptations. Some may say, “I just can’t overcome temptation. Some things are just too tempting for me to resist.” However, that’s not what the Bible teaches. The Apostle Paul wrote, “God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it” (1 Corinthians 10:13). Notice that Paul wrote that “God would provide a way out” or “a way away from” our temptations. That serves as a reminder to us that we don’t overcome temptation by trying to fight it. We overcome temptation by fleeing it - by getting ourselves away from that temptation.
Often it seems people want to “fight it out” with temptation. They want to see how close they can come to temptation without giving in to it. There’s a spiritual word for that - “Dumb.” That’s not how the Bible tells us to deal with temptation. The Word of God tells us to flee from our sinful lusts and desires. The Apostle Paul writes that we should “Run from sexual sin!” (1 Corinthians 6:1) The Apostle John also writes, “For everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith” (1 John 5:4). We overcome temptation by fleeing from them and by living by faith.
Followup Activity - In your journal or on a piece of paper, identify the major specific temptation you struggle with. Offer them up to God in prayer, asking for His strength and guidance to help you make a plan of action to flee from those temptations. If you’re leading your family through this devotion, guide each member to do the above exercise privately.
Prayer for Today - Lord, when I am in temptation, help me to flee from evil and live by faith. In Jesus’ name, Amen.