Melvyn Tan
January 3, 2014 — By tanmelvyn@gmail.com

How To Handle Temptations?

[blockquote source=”Matthew 4:1 (NIV)“]Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.[/blockquote] Temptation of Christ The context surrounding today’s verse is this. Jesus was baptized by John. As soon as Jesus was baptized, there was a voice from heaven that said, “This is my Son, whom I love; […]

[blockquote source=”Matthew 4:1 (NIV)“]Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.[/blockquote]

Temptation of Christ
The context surrounding today’s verse is this. Jesus was baptized by John. As soon as Jesus was baptized, there was a voice from heaven that said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. (Matt 3:17)

Then Jesus went into the wilderness and was fasted for forty days and forty nights. There he was tempted by the devil three times, before he sent him away.

We are all tempted by the devil. Whether it is you, the president, or the pope. So, how do you handle temptations? Do you fight it? Do you give in to it? Or are you even aware of it? Hence, the key question we want to ask ourselves is: How do you know when you are tempted?

Awareness of Temptation
This question relates to awareness. Are we even aware that we are being tempted? A temptation can be as seemingly harmless as an ice-cream when you are supposed to on diet. Or it can be as harmful as an affair.

The issue I want to point out is the level of awareness we have about temptations. Have temptations become so frequent and perhaps ingrained in you that each time you enter into a particular state, you almost ‘naturally, give in to the temptation?

Some of us would be able to identify with this pattern: every time I am stressed, I binge, or swear, or indulge in food, or indulge in sex. Now, if we are not even aware that this is a temptation, then there is no way we can address it.

40-Day Challenge
Here’s my challenge to you. For the next forty days, record your key actions, emotions, and thoughts in a journal. Now, of course you don’t need to record every single detail like how many times you visited the bathroom. But you want to record things like these:

  • Today I got up late and I felt like my day just went downhill from there.
  • I smiled at the lady who cleaned my table and she smiled back, acknowledging her appreciation of my appreciation.
  • I was angry with my son today for throwing tantrums and refusing to cooperate with me when I need to rush him to school.

The above are just some examples from my own life. I, like you, are being tempted every day. Sometimes I win by overcoming it, other times I lose by giving in to temptations.

But in order to be able to (1) know what to do when you are tempted and (2) get better at overcoming temptations, we need to first be aware of it.

Prayer
Father, we thank You for Jesus, who came to earth and lived like us; to be tempted. We pray that over the next forty days that we grow in our awareness of the temptations around us so that we can not only overcome it, but get better at overcoming it. In Jesus name, Amen.