Overcoming Temptation - Part 1
Romans 12 is one of the most beautiful chapters in the Bible. All Christians are surrounded with all types of sin today which can lead to temptation, and Romans 12 reveals answers for how to overcome practically every type of temptation. It reveals some of God’s helps for us. I know there are many sincere people who struggle with this type of hardship today. The biggest cause of temptation is materialism (Matt. 6:24; 1Tim. 6:10). The first thing a person needs to do to overcome temptation is sincerely believe the Bible is the Word of God. Then he must read it, study it, and follow the example of Jesus.
Romans 12 concludes with Paul’s command from God in verse 21, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” I refer to this as a command because that is just what it is. It is a command, not a suggestion. It is the only way to overcome temptation. Paul understood that God is the only One who is actually capable of overcoming evil. He knew that overcoming requires God’s righteousness, which is revealed in the Bible (Rom. 1:16,17). He knew that one way God overcomes evil in this world today is by working through faithful Christians who are led by Him through His Word that His Spirit has given us (2 Tim. 3: 16,17; Eph. 3: 10). When we are led by His Holy Spirit through the Bible we are truly a blessing to each other because we help each other to overcome temptation.
The greatest power God provides for us to overcome temptation, along side of prayer through Jesus Christ, and in His name, is the Bible. The Bible reveals we are here for each other in His church. Rom. 12:9-16 say, ”Let love be WITHOUT hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. Be kindly affectionate to one another; not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; distributing to needs of saints, given to hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion” (NKJV).
The rest of Rom. 12 goes on to say Christians should live peaceably with all men when it is possible to do so. Do not “give place to anger”, and allow God to take His vengeance on the enemies of His church that Jesus died for. He even says do good to your enemies and provide for their needs. He wants them saved also, when possible. More churches should take time for public reading of Romans 12 every Sunday.
Eph. 6:12 tells us our real enemy is invisible, and is from another realm. The verses after say we can overcome only with God’s help, and the armor He provides. We are helpless without Him and His provisions: the Truth in His Word, the Bible, and the knowledge and wisdom that results from studying and practicing what it says; the faith that results from studying and practicing what it says, and the salvation, and assurance of salvation that results from obeying what it says.
Read and study Philippians 4:8. Trust and obey, like the old song says. Pray everyday to know and understand God’s will for your life, and you can overcome temptation, and you can “overcome evil with good”. More on this to come.
Timothy A. Sundlie
Preacher / Evangelist for the La Crosse church of Christ