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.