“Being forty days tempted of the devil. And in those days he did eat nothing: and when they were ended, he afterward hungered.”
Overcoming temptation is an every person battle. If you are human, which you are, you will have to deal with temptation in your walk with the LORD. Most temptation is self-inflicted temptation because of what we have allowed ourselves to be exposed to, but some temptation will come from the Devil. What you do in the time of temptation determines what will become of you after the temptation. It was after Jesus overcame the temptations He faced that His life-changing ministry began.
The verse above gives the believer hope that they can overcome the Devil and temptation. Jesus showed in His life how to overcome temptation successfully without yielding to it in the least. Six things you must do that Jesus did if you are going to overcome the Devil and temptation.
First, it takes a total denial of the flesh. One of the greatest things missed in the verse above is that Jesus didn’t eat anything for forty days. Fasting for forty days takes a total denial of the flesh. You cannot feed the flesh and overcome the temptations and lusts of the flesh. You must totally deny your flesh of any desires if you want to overcome temptation.
Second, it takes the fullness of the Holy Ghost. Verse 1 shows us that Jesus was “full of the Holy Ghost.” You can’t be full of the Holy Ghost if personal desires drive you. If you are saved, you have the power within you to overcome temptation, and that power is the power of the Holy Ghost. If you will totally yield to the Holy Ghost, you will find that temptation will have no draw to your flesh.
Third, it takes surrender to the leading of the Spirit. Jesus was “led by the Spirit into the wilderness,” You must lose yourself and be willing to go anywhere and do anything that the Spirit leads you to do. One thing you will find is that the Spirit will often lead you to do things alone. You can’t overcome temptation if you are not willing to follow the leading of the Spirit. There must be a total surrender of your will to the leading of the Holy Spirit if you want to overcome temptation.
Fourth, it takes God’s Word hidden in your heart. Jesus overcame Satan’s temptation by quoting the Word of God. You can’t quote God’s Word if you haven’t memorized it, and you can’t memorize it if you don’t spend time in it. God’s Word is a powerful tool in overcoming temptation. Nobody has ever overcome temptation without God’s Word being hidden in their heart to use as a tool to quote when temptation raises its ugly head.
Fifth, it takes much time in prayer. Jesus certainly spent the forty days fasting in prayer, and you must spend much time in prayer to overcome temptation. Temptation’s power will fade the more you spend time in prayer. The power that temptation has over you reveals the degree to which you pray.
Sixth, it takes a determined desire to fulfill God’s will. Jesus was determined to do the will of the Father. To overcome temptation, you must be determined that you would rather do God’s will than enjoy sin’s seasonal pleasure. God’s will always brings fulfilling joy that is far better than temptation’s temporal satisfaction. When God’s will becomes your focus of life, temptation will lose its power over you.