How do I overcome temptation?

Hi everyone,

If we’re honest, everyone has a temptation they can’t seem to overcome.

Consider the “seven deadly sins”: pride, greed, wrath, envy, lust, gluttony, and sloth. Do any of those sound familiar?

So how do we overcome them?

Dr. Amy-Jill Levine offers this advice:

Jesus asks nothing of us that he does not do himself. The fully human Jesus, through his own strong faith and grounding in his tradition, provides the guide for living. When he instructs his disciples to pray “lead us not into temptation”—better translated as “do not bring us to the test”—we already know what to do in case that test comes. Jesus himself was tempted, or tested, by Satan, and he passed the test by relying on the Word of God, by citing as well as enacting the Book of Deuteronomy. How do we overcome temptation and keep ourselves on the path to the kingdom? We use the resources God has already given us: Scripture, what Christians have come to call the Old Testament (Sermon on the Mount, Kindle 142-161)

But how do we use the Scriptures to overcome temptation?

As I look at how Jesus resisted temptation (Matthew 4:1-11), here’s what I notice:

Jesus had God’s word memorized and internalized.

Not only did he know what it said, but he trusted it and depended on it.

In fact, this is the meaning of the first passage he quoted:

It is written: Man must not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.

In my experience, there is a way of becoming familiar with the Bible even as the heart relies on something else. For instance, I can be proud of how well I know God’s word rather than humbled as I trust God for what he reveals in his word.

Have you ever identified a specific temptation, then not only memorized what God says about that struggle, but asked the Holy Spirit to empower you to live according to what God says?

One of my friends talks about “pre-deciding.” When he knows he will face temptation, he decides ahead of time how he will handle that situation. Then when the moment is “hot” he already has a plan for avoiding the lure.

To be more specific, God’s word helps us pre-decide what to do and how to do it.

How do you overcome temptation?

How could God’s word help you move forward in faithfulness?


A really interesting prompt! I also have recognised that God’s word is a way through temptation, as well as trusting on the empowerment of the Holy Spirit: that taking this Word and Spirit pincer approach to temptation is probably the best recommendation I would give myself or others.

One thought occurred to me as I read this…regarding those who do not hold to the inerrancy of scripture: how would they use scripture to absolutely stand against temptation if it’s not inerrant? Just some ponderings of mine.

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