"Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God."
1 Corinthians 10:13
“No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.”
Being tempted is not a sin, but our acceptance of temptation is. We are all surrounded by temptation, even Jesus was. Jesus was the only one who completely resisted temptation on this Earth at all times. I think it's amazing! We are tempted without even leaving our home or bed in the morning.
"The process of temptation: Thought > Imagination > Meditation > Will > Choice > Consent > Sin." [intouch.org]
Temptation has a snowball effect that lures us in with temporary satisfaction but also comes with devastating consequences.
"We can blame our failure to resist temptation on others, Satan, or God Himself, but in reality, we are the ones who choose to indulge." [intouch.org]
"Therefore, acceptance of temptation is a choice between a mind of the flesh and a mind of the Spirit. How do we know what kind of mindset we ourselves have? A mind of the flesh seeks physical pleasures, worldly gain and honor, and temporary satisfactions.. that are all beyond God-set boundaries. The mind of the Spirit concerns itself with "the favor of God, the welfare of the soul, the aspects of eternity. The man is as the mind is." [M.Henry]
How can we summarize the struggle in our bodies? Galatians 5:17, "For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want." You are NOT to do whatever you want! The mind of the flesh is "death to the soul, an alienation from God and an opposition of the soul against God. It rebels against his authority, thwarts his design, opposes his interest, spits in his face, spurns at his bowels." [M.Henry]
As for myself, I am also a temptation recovery story. I've been led astray by my worldly weaknesses and wants that weren't in a mindset of the Spirit. God's divine grace transformed my mind into one that has a focus on Christ and an eternity praising Him.
Can we not all relate to Romans 5:17, "I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do." God does not leave us alone to recognize and fight temptation. He gives believers the Holy Spirit to guide us on the right path, along with His Word to confirm or contradict our thoughts. Galatians 5:16, "So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh."
8 Ways to Combat The Enemy's Attacks of Temptation [C. Stanley]
- Take responsibility. You are responsible for what you do with temptations.
Focus on the big picture. A temptation offers a small picture of the pleasures and profits of sin, but God wants you to see big consequences.
Identify areas of weakness in your life. Recognize which aspects of your life are easy targets for Satan’s attacks.
HALT. Never let yourself get too Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired.
Visualize yourself doing the right thing. Instead of fantasizing about the pleasures of sin, imagine yourself pleasing God.
Make yourself accountable to a friend. Find someone you trust and then contact that person when you are feeling tempted.
Read the Word of God. You won’t be able to defend yourself against the enemy’s attacks if you don’t know the Scriptures.
Make prayer a vital part of your life. Having fellowship and conversation with the Lord each morning strengthens and alerts you to Satan’s attacks during the day.