Ever since the Garden of Eden, mankind has struggled with temptation. Whether it be the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, or the pride in possessions (1 John 2:16), no one is immune to temptation’s lures. Because of our fallen nature, we are all susceptible.
If you find yourself struggling with temptation, I pray that these seven Bible verses will help you:
“No one undergoing a trial should say, ‘I am being tempted by God,’ since God is not tempted by evil, and he himself doesn’t tempt anyone. But each person is tempted when he is drawn away and enticed by his own evil desire.” (CSB)
These verses remind us that God doesn’t tempt us to do evil. We are tempted because of our own sinful nature. This is a helpful reminder to stay on guard in your battle against temptation. No matter how long you’ve been a Christian, you are still susceptible to temptation. After following Jesus closely for three years, Peter denied him three times during one dark night. Peter was not immune to temptation, and neither are Christians today.
“And when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from him until an opportune time.” (ESV)
At the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, He was led by the Spirit into the wilderness for 40 days to be tempted by the devil. Having resisted these initial temptations, this verse tells us that the devil left Jesus alone “until an opportune time.” In other words, the devil wasn’t finished tempting Jesus yet. He may have lost this battle, but he was determined to win the war.
He saw an opportune time later after Jesus told His disciples that He would be crucified and resurrected three days later (Matthew 16:21). After hearing this news, Peter actually rebuked the Lord and told Jesus this wasn’t going to happen. But Jesus knew what was really taking place. He knew who was behind this advice as He responds, “Get behind me, Satan!” (Matthew 16:23)
Having lost another battle, Satan returns again as Jesus hangs on the cross. As this spiritual war is approaching its climax, Satan unleashes his full arsenal against Jesus, trying desperately to convince the Lord to abort His mission. While He hangs, those who passed by mocked Jesus and tried to get Him to come down from the cross. The chief priests did the same. Even one of the criminals tried to get Jesus to come down. Each of them using a familiar phrase. In fact, it was the same phrase that Satan used in the wilderness temptations, “If you are the son of God…”
This verse reminds us that Satan and his demons are relentless. The enemy will seek to tempt us and make us stumble throughout our lives. Just like Jesus, we will face temptation until our final breath.
“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has been tempted in every way as we are, yet without sin.” (CSB)
The good news is that Jesus never gave in to temptation! Because He never sinned, Satan was defeated. What an encouragement to be reminded of this glorious truth. And as we will see at the end of this post, Jesus’ victory over temptation changes everything about our personal struggles.
“And do not bring us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.” (CSB)
In His model prayer, Jesus teaches us to pray regularly for the Lord to deliver us from evil by avoiding temptation. This verse reminds us of at least two lessons. First, we must recognize that we cannot resist temptation on our own. Therefore, we should regularly call out to the Lord for help.
Second, the heart behind this prayer should be the desire of every Christian. We should not want to be drawn toward tempting circumstances, but as far away from them as possible. Our desire should always be to honor the Lord. Although the Lord does not tempt us, He does allow times of testing in our lives, and these tests give us the opportunity to prove our love and devotion to the Lord.
As we will see in the next verse, although our flesh is often weak, our spirit should always be willing to obey and honor the Lord. That should be our heart’s desire.
“Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (ESV)
Just before His arrest, Jesus takes Peter, James, and John with Him to the garden of Gethsemane. He told them to stay awake while He prayed, but they were unable to do so. Upon returning, He made this statement.
Again, we see the need to pray in order to avoid temptation. But Jesus also tells them to “watch”. In other words, they need to be on guard against temptation. They need to watch out for it. As Peter would later write, they needed to be sober-minded and watchful because “your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8).
This verse certainly applies to us as well. We must be on our guard against temptation, realizing that sometimes we will be able to see it coming, but other times it may surprise us. That’s why we must always be watchful.
1 Corinthians 10:13
“No temptation has come upon you except what is common to humanity. But God is faithful; he will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation he will also provide a way out so that you may be able to bear it.” (CSB)
You may feel at times that you have no choice but to give in to temptation. But Paul declares in this verse that’s not the case. God is faithful, and He will always provide a way of escape during temptation.
I have experienced this verse more times than I can count. Whenever I face temptation, God always provides a way out. Whether I take advantage of this way of escape is up to me. But God has always provided a way out in the past, and I’m confident He will continue to do so in the future. Both for me and for you.
1 John 2:1-2
“My little children, I am writing you these things so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father – Jesus Christ the righteous one. He himself is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours, but also for those of the whole world.” (CSB)
Jesus was perfect; we are not. Jesus never sinned; we do. Jesus never gave in to temptation; we can’t say the same for ourselves. The reality is that in our battle with temptation, we don’t have a perfect track record. But Jesus does!
Whenever you give in to temptation, Satan would love for you to forget this glorious truth. He would love for you to sin, and then to further fall into despair as you mentally beat yourself up over your continued imperfections. He wants to convince you that you are beyond God’s mercy and grace. Ultimately, He will tempt you to forget the gospel.
As followers of Jesus, our goal should be to avoid sin as much as possible (read Romans 6). But we are not glorified yet. We still stumble from time to time. So, John reminds us that even though we are not perfect, Jesus is. Whenever we give in to temptation, Jesus is still our perfect advocate with the Father. Whenever we sin, we remember that we have a Savior who became sin for us so that we might become the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:21).
That’s the gospel. And that’s what Satan would love for you to forget.
But the good news is that if you have embraced this gospel by confessing and repenting of your sins and putting your hope in Jesus Christ, you’ll never be able to forget what Jesus has done for you! And there’s nothing that the devil can do about that!