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How To Handle Temptation

Series: The Gospel of Mark

Fight, Flight, or Freeze?

How do you typically deal with temptation?  If you’re like most people, your response is flight or freeze.  Some of us respond by asking God to remove us from the temptation (or the temptation removed from us).  This is flight—we want to go or we want it to go away.  Others freeze.  They know they’re not supposed to do it, but they’re not sure what else they’re supposed to do, so they freeze and grit their teeth, thinking if they just white knuckle it long enough it will stop.

The problem is, it usually doesn’t.  The temptation usually isn’t removed, or we can’t white knuckle it through, so we cave.  Just standing there hoping things get better doesn’t end well.  There is, however, another alternative.

In the Gospels, when Jesus is being tempted in the wilderness by Satan, He has an interesting response.  All three times He is tempted, He responds with Scripture.  Each time, Jesus quotes a passage of Scripture to Satan out of the book of Deuteronomy.  When was the last time you quoted Scripture when you feel yourself being tempted?

James 4:7 says, “Resist the devil and he will fell from you.”  Fight.  Resist.  Use Scripture.  If you think about our spiritual armor in Ephesians 6, the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God, is the only offensive weapon named.

If you were listening to the sermon this morning, I mention the story of Joseph fleeing from Potiphar.  Sometimes fighting looks a lot like fleeing.  Either way, we can fight temptation.  Just white knuckling it, or praying and hoping it will go away, doesn’t work.  In I Corinthians 10:12, Paul describes the “way out” of temptation: to “endure it.”  We can endure temptation through speaking the very words of God.  Eventually, Satan will flee…he can’t handle Truth.

    -Scott McFarland

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