The Struggle

Facing the Fears That Threaten Our Future

By Charles F. Stanley
  • July 16, 2017

If you feel like you’re the only person to ever struggle with temptation, think again. Ever since the beginning of the human race, people have been losing the battle for self-control.

The Bible tells us about many flawed followers of God. Eve was the first person who said yes to temptation, and Adam soon followed, bringing a curse upon the earth and sin into the human race (Gen. 3:1-7). Instead of saying no to his lust, David committed adultery with Bathsheba and suffered the horrible consequences for the rest of his life—the death of his son, betrayal by another son, and the loss of his kingdom for a short while (2 Sam. 11:1-4). And after Delilah repeatedly pleaded and cried, Samson gave up the secret of his strength and suffered the loss of his eyes and freedom, and eventually his life (Judg. 16:15-21).

So before saying yes to temptation, we should ask ourselves the following questions:

  • What is the source of this offer? God never tempts us to do anything sinful or evil (James 1:13). Any desire that veers from truth and righteousness is from the devil. Instead of being carried away by the pleasure or benefits of the offer, we must focus on the Lord and remember what He thinks about it.

  • What are the requirements of this offer? Yielding to temptation requires that we lay down our convictions. Sin is always expensive because it costs us our honesty, purity, and integrity.

  • What are the consequences of this act? When temptation comes, we usually think only about the present, not the long-term consequences. But the satisfaction of the moment is never worth the pain and guilt that inevitably follows.

We should also consider these reasons why people hesitate to say no to temptation:

  • Fear of rejection. If we don’t follow along with what others want us to do, we may not be accepted. However, being rejected by someone because of our convictions reveals something good about us—that we have a strong relationship with God and are committed to obeying Him.

  • Fear of losing a relationship. We may think that saying no could result in losing a friend or never getting married, but any time we lay down a relationship in order to remain obedient to God, we are positioning ourselves to be blessed by Him.

  • Fear of the loss of finances. The temptation to steal or cheat is often fueled by a fear of losing money or not having enough.

  • Fear of the loss of an opportunity. Sometimes we feel pressured to make an unwise decision, fearing that the opportunity may never come again. However, if this opportunity is not from God, it could have devastating results. But if we live in obedience to the Lord, He will place us exactly where he wants us and open doors in accordance with His will.

  • Fear of the loss of our self-image. In an effort to feel good about ourselves, we may be tempted to pursue what the world values—the finest clothes, cars, homes, and jobs—without considering that we might be living in disobedience to God. He knows what is best for us and will direct our future if we’ll follow Him instead of the world.

What has caused you to yield to temptation in the past? Learn to stand strong in God’s Word and defend yourself from the Enemy’s attacks. You can courageously say no to temptation with help from the Holy Spirit through the power of the cross.

This article is adapted from the Sermon Notes for Dr. Stanley’s message The Courage to Say 'No,' which airs this weekend on TV.

Related Topics:  Temptation  |  Fear  |  Addiction

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1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, Indeed, has God said, `You shall not eat from any tree of the garden'?"

2 The woman said to the serpent, From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat;

3 but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, `You shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die.'"

4 The serpent said to the woman, You surely will not die!

5 For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil."

6 When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate.

7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loin coverings.

15 Then she said to him, How can you say, `I love you,' when your heart is not with me? You have deceived me these three times and have not told me where your great strength is."

16 It came about when she pressed him daily with her words and urged him, that his soul was annoyed to death.

17 So he told her all that was in his heart and said to her, A razor has never come on my head, for I have been a Nazirite to God from my mother's womb. If I am shaved, then my strength will leave me and I will become weak and be like any other man."

18 When Delilah saw that he had told her all that was in his heart, she sent and called the lords of the Philistines, saying, Come up once more, for he has told me all that is in his heart." Then the lords of the Philistines came up to her and brought the money in their hands.

19 She made him sleep on her knees, and called for a man and had him shave off the seven locks of his hair. Then she began to afflict him, and his strength left him.

20 She said, The Philistines are upon you, Samson!" And he awoke from his sleep and said, I will go out as at other times and shake myself free." But he did not know that the LORD had departed from him.

21 Then the Philistines seized him and gouged out his eyes; and they brought him down to Gaza and bound him with bronze chains, and he was a grinder in the prison.

1 Then it happened in the spring, at the time when kings go out to battle, that David sent Joab and his servants with him and all Israel, and they destroyed the sons of Ammon and besieged Rabbah. But David stayed at Jerusalem.

2 Now when evening came David arose from his bed and walked around on the roof of the king's house, and from the roof he saw a woman bathing; and the woman was very beautiful in appearance.

3 So David sent and inquired about the woman. And one said, Is this not Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?"

4 David sent messengers and took her, and when she came to him, he lay with her; and when she had purified herself from her uncleanness, she returned to her house.

13 Let no one say when he is tempted, I am being tempted by God"; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone.

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