I can resist everything except temptation.” – Oscar Wilde.
Perhaps you have heard the idiom that opportunity only knocks once, but temptation knocks continually. Temptation never seems to stop knocking. It never stops trying to find a way into our lives. We have the choice to resist and persevere through them, or we can give into them. And temptations are heightened in the midst of setbacks. Is it possible to eliminate temptation from knocking on our door? The short answer is no. Sorry if you were hoping otherwise.
There is often a disconnect between what we know about God and what it means to truly know Him. As a result, we find it difficult to understand why God does not eliminate or at least reduce the temptations that always seem to be popping up. When we continually face temptations we wonder why God isn’t willing to help us. Nothing could be farther from the truth. God wants to help us overcome our temptations. What we need is the involvement of the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit takes everything God has given us in Christ Jesus and makes them a reality in our lives today. He empowers us to walk in our new lives in Christ. Although God has already given us the Holy Spirit who lives and dwells in us, we will not live in victory here on earth until we walk, or engage with Him.
When you’re facing some sort of temptation, it can feel like you’re being tempted beyond your ability. If you are looking at your individual ability to deal with temptation, you probably are right. But you are never tempted beyond the Holy Spirit’s ability in you. People will not give in to temptation when you are in tune with the Holy Spirit, seeking His wisdom and strength to help you overcome the temptation you are facing. Paul said it quite simply: if you want to conquer temptation, walk by the Spirit. Galatians 5:16 (TLB): “I advise you to obey only the Holy Spirit’s instructions. He will tell you where to go and what to do, and then you won’t always be doing the wrong things your evil nature wants you to.”
When Paul tells us to “walk by the Spirit,” he’s saying to let everything we do be guided by the Holy Spirit’s influence. The Holy Spirit will empower us to accomplish everything God created for us. The Holy Spirit will not force His desires on us. Although His power is freely available to us, it will make no impact in our lives unless we acknowledge His presence and yield to Him by faith.
Temptations that expose our human imperfections are certainly among the most trying hardships we can endure. To struggle courageously against temptation is one of our biggest challenges. We can only triumph over temptation with the help of the Holy Spirit.
- How is a temptation different from a trial?
- What can we do this week to improve our walk with the Holy Spirit?