How Do You Face Temptation?

“Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” – James 4:7b

I remember when former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue stated that there is a “Crisis of Character in the NFL”. Good character needed to become more important than terrific times in the 40-yard dash or great moves in the open field. The NFL admittedly couldn’t afford to ignore the importance of character when rating a prospective player’s potential.

That was years ago, and still, too often, we see famous athletes compromising good decency, embarrassing their teams, and disgusting their fans. Whether it’s lying, cheating, taking drugs, carousing, or picking fights, we have to draw the line. Someone has to take a stand for what is good and right and true. I think it starts with you and me.

When I was in public service for twenty years, I became quite adept at finding the middle ground on most difficult political issues. I strived for “win-win” scenarios, providing positive outcomes for the agency I served as well as the citizens who ultimately paid my salary. The same negotiating skills make good coaches and agents; however, we cannot compromise our faith—our position before God.

If we identify fully with what it means to be a true disciple of Christ, if we submit ourselves totally to God’s authority over everything, if we humbly wish to serve Him in all our endeavors, then we will find ourselves in direct conflict with Satan…and often the culture around us. There are simply times when we must take a stand…no matter how unpopular it makes us. That’s when our true character shows. We are either aligned with the Kingdom of God and His Lordship in our lives, or we are in Satan’s kingdom and under his control. Whether we face the lures of this culture, pressure from our peers, or our own lustful desires, as believers, we are given the power to resist the devil—to take a stand against his ways and anything he represents—and to walk in truth.

The Holy Spirit gives us conviction, truth, and strength to stand firm against our enemy and to resist the temptations that life brings. In fact, God often uses trials and temptations to build our character and grow us into the godly men and women He intends us to be. If he doesn’t remove the struggle, He provides a way out: “No temptation has taken you except what is common to man. And 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 Cor. 10:13.

Temptation is just a test of our character. Are we really who we say we are? Do we really believe what we think we believe? Who are we when no one is looking? It’s not just athletes that are in a crisis of character. We all need to choose where we stand.

Are there areas in your life where you’ve compromised your faith? Are you overcome with temptations? Has your character become weak? We are called upon to flee from Satan’s influence and humble ourselves before God. I’m so glad He offers a way out. I’m so thankful He offers His perfect forgiveness and peace.

The Power of Truth:

  • “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.” Matt. 26:41
  • “Temptation comes from the lure of our own evil desires.” James 1:14 (NLT)
  • “But if you are unwilling to serve the LORD, then choose today whom you will serve…But as for me and my family, we will serve the LORD.” Jos. 24:15 (NLT)

Suggestion for Prayer:

Humble yourself and confess your sins. Ask God for the strength to resist the devil and to show you a way out when you are tempted.