Many times we focus on finding the source of temptation or removing the feeling of temptation instead of fleeing from temptation. Overcoming temptation starts with fleeing from temptation.
Recently I was tormented with lustful thoughts from my past. I started asking myself, why are these thoughts coming to me? As I tried finding the source of these thoughts, it only caused me to dwell more on the thoughts. I was left entertaining temptation instead of resisting temptation. The only way to overcome temptation is to walk away from it, and instead walk in purity by setting our eyes on the one who is pure which is Jesus.
Many times we fall into temptation because we draw near to temptation. God tells us in the Bible to flee from evil desires and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace. Temptation flees as we flee from it (James 4:7). We have to be intentional to not draw near to things that will bring temptation to us. As I focused my attention on Jesus and less on the source of temptation, the lustful thoughts left.
Galatians 5:16 says, “Walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.” The key to not gratifying the desires of our flesh is to walk by the Spirit. We don’t need to wait for our temptations to leave in order to walk rightly before God. We just need to follow the prompting of the Holy Spirit and not our temptations. The Holy Spirit lives in us to warn us of things that will only lead to our turmoil and eternal death. It’s our duty to listen and run away from sin. The Holy Spirit’s job is to help us look to Jesus. As we look to Jesus and remember His love and goodness, our temptations will no longer be temptations.
Paul makes it plain that when we walk by the Spirit, we will not gratify the desires of the flesh. The key to not falling into temptation is to walk according to the Holy Spirit’s ways and fix our gaze towards Jesus. Will you flee from all temptations and fix your gaze on Jesus?
James 4:7 reminds us to resist the devil and he will flee. In moments of temptation, we simply need to turn our attention to Jesus and away from all that is evil. Every day we have to make the choice to clothe ourselves with the character of Jesus. Our flesh will tempt us to be impatient when we are annoyed, angry when we are hurt, or lustful when enticed, however, we have the choice to walk as Jesus walked.
2 Timothy 2:22 tells us to, “Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.” Pursuing righteousness means fixing our eyes on Jesus and guarding our hearts against darkness. How do we guard our hearts? By guarding what we see, hear, think, say, and do.
What can you do today to fix your eyes on Jesus and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace?
Giving attention to our temptations will only draw us towards temptation. The enemy wants us to give attention to our temptations, but we have the power to resist them. As children of God, we are called to behold Jesus and Him alone, and as we turn our attention to Jesus and resist the devil, he will flee.
The things of the world may seem gratifying at first, but we will soon find that following darkness will only leave us emptier. Jesus reminds us in John 10:10 that the enemy comes to steal, kill, and destroy, but He has come to give us life to the fullest. Jesus wants us to experience true joy and eternal life. He came to set us free from sin and darkness. We now must choose to walk in His ways and say no to our old ways. So remember, flee from temptation.
Prayer: Jesus, thank you for giving us the power to resist the devil. Help us to fix our eyes on you and only you.