Matthew 4:1 “Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.”
For the next 40 days, you will undergo intensified diverse temptations because the spirit is on you.
Jesus was not tempted until Matthew 3:17 happened. Similarly too, Job was minding his business, until God boasted about him. Until you identify with God, Uncle Devil, has no serious interest in you. Until you make up your mind to do the right things always, you will not be tempted. Temptation to steal, hide file, inflate cost of building materials, demand bribe or offered bribe will only come because your resolve not to do them again, will be tested.
But the good news is, there is always a way of escape. Look deep into the temptation, in its seed lies the maggots that will eat it up.
1 Corinthians 10:13 “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”
One the first ways of escaping temptation, particularly sexual temptation, is the Joseph strategy. Run away.
Genesis 39:11-12 “One day he went into the house to attend to his duties, and none of the household servants was inside.
12. She caught him by his cloak and said, “Come to bed with me!” But he left his cloak in her hand and ran out of the house.”
You don’t negotiate with certain temptations, very few men with erection can resist a naked woman in her full glory and who has shown willingness to be taken. Many mighty men of God, who refused to flee, had been slayed at this valley. You must just flee like Paul advised Timothy in 2 Timothy 2:22, “Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.”
1 Corinthians 6:18 “Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body.”
How do you flee? There are friends you must flee from, if you want to overcome certain types of temptations. 1 Corinthians 15:33 “Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. There are friends you must avoid.
To overcome temptation, you must be in tune with your inner man, occupy him with spiritual things. Romans 12:2 “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
You cannot roll in the mud and still expect to be clean. Your mind must constantly be renewed with spiritual things. How to be a better you, how to treat your neighbor right, how to be a good citizen of Nigeria, how not to abuse the environment, how to obey traffic light, how to rebel against injustice. If your mind is on these things, there will be no room for you to slide into temptation to hurt your neighbor or steal. Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”
3. You overcome temptation by speaking the word to your situation/tempter. Jesus did not overcome Uncle Devil by running away or pouring anointing oil or asking John the Baptist to pray for him. He spoke the word to the Devil. His reply to the Devil always started with “it is written.” After these authoritative declaration of the word, the Devil left him and Angels came down to celebrate him as an overcomer and to minister to him throughout his ministry on earth. Matthew 4:2-11.
You must know which word to speak to the temptations facing you and speak it. Until you overcome the temptations before you, you cannot be empowered by Grace to function and fulfill your calling/mission.
So as we journey through this Lent, as you deny yourself certain pleasures of life, remember to; love the lord thy God with all your heart and your neighbor as yourself. Mark 12:30-31.
—-Bishop of The Sinners Assembly.