Additional ways to resist temptation —
Being an Overcomer
In the previous two chapters, you have read an astounding blueprint for resisting temptation and overcoming sin in your life.
It was a presentation which cannot be exceeded. However, here are several additional pointers which can help you in your journey through life, so that you will reach your heavenly home in peace.
From years studying God’s Word and counselling, here are several suggestions from the editor of this book:
Make up your mind that you are going to heaven. Nothing else counts as much. If you get this one thing settled in your mind,—it will make a world of difference! Future temptations will not be as strong.
Determine that you are on God’s side. Determine that you are going to cling to Christ no matter what happens. If any cloud enters, or you momentarily are betrayed into speaking or acting unadvisedly, you quickly run back to Jesus. Do not hesitate, fearing to come to Him.
Be His little child and hold tightly to His hand. Be especially guarded and watchful when you are tired, when you are working under pressure or time schedules, or others are upset with you. Silently keep talking to Jesus. In your heart, cry to Him for help. Never give up on Him, and you will have Him continually with you. You are able to let go of His hand; but, if you cling to it, He will hold it tightly. It is your decision that counts!
God’s children have the highest freedom in His will. But they are also free to leave Him. In marked contrast, Satan’s captives are slaves, held in captivity by delusions, lusts, and passions. But when they cry to God for help, He will snap off their chains and take them for His own.
Making a daily, hourly habit of talking to God— makes it easier to do it when one of life’s trials or crises come upon you. But beware of pride, passion, or discouragement slipping in. When a problem arises, when you start to slip, when you do slip,—immediately run back to Jesus.
There is great power in simple trust and obedience. Keep reading the Bible and do what you learn from it to be right.
There is immense power in praise. As soon as a cloud of discouragement or doubt comes, begin praising God and it will disappear. Thank Him for your eyes, your ears, every working function of your body. Accept your handicaps (we all have them), knowing that you will trade them in on a glorious new body when Christ returns at His Second Coming.
Avoid bad associates. Choose good friends. Do not go to questionable places. Be careful what you look at or think about. Never doubt God! Never!
Strengthen your will by studying God’s Word regularly and obeying it. Deciding never again to return to a formerly cherished sin is a great solver of life’s problems. In Christ’s strength, you can do it. When Satan sends a tempting thought, do not begin to think about. Do not let your mind linger on it. Instead, immediately ask Jesus to take the thought away. He will do it right then! If—if—you genuinely want that thought removed. But if, deep down, you love it—than Satan will catch you again. Determine that you want nothing more to do with the evil thing! Then, in Christ’s strength, you have the victory. If necessary, do this over and over. This makes you Christ’s fortress, which Satan cannot easily enter. You are making a habit of good, clean living. You are making a habit of staying with God and choosing Him in every situation in life. As a result, it is changing you. You are becoming a godly person. But only as long as you stay with Jesus as His trusting, obedient little child.
Beware of situations where you are likely to make a quick, impulsive decision! When in doubt, do not make a fast decision. Be careful what you do and say when around others. Quick words can lead to great problems. It is not easy to take back a word you have spoken.
Live to serve God and bless others! The more you do this, you will find that you do not have time to get in trouble and sin. You are too busy talking to God, praising Him, and helping others.
There are two extremes you must avoid: On one hand, it is extremely dangerous to say, “I am without sin”; for then you start trying, in your own strength, to avoid sin. You begin thinking you are the great person.
Someone has said, “When we look at Christ, the dove of peace lands on our shoulder. When we look at the dove, it flies away.” Focus on humble, child-like obedience to God, not on your own achievements. The closer you come to God, the more you will sense your own weakness and imperfection, compared to Christ’s infinite majesty.
The other extreme is this: It is dangerous for you to say that you cannot put away your cherished sins. Whether it be appetite, temper, or whatever,— in the enabling strength of Christ, you can and you must conquer it! If you will follow the recipe for victory given in this book, it can and it will be done.
The best way to deal with sin is to turn from it and crowd it out. Turn from it, by asking Jesus to take it away as soon as the tempting thought enters your mind. Crowd it out, by spending your time walking with Jesus and living to help everyone around you. By immediately turning from it and steadily crowding it out, sin withers on the vine.
But, in your own strength, you cannot push it out. In this life, you will never be strong enough to push sin out. Satan, who is far stronger, can push harder than you can. So run to Jesus and stay by His side. Only then are you safe.
A powerful aid in resisting temptation, having a clear mind, and remaining close to Christ is to eat moderately of good food, obtain proper rest, and regularly exercise outdoors. Do not overeat. Avoid meat, grease, sugary food, junk food. Indigestion confuses the mind and invites temptations. No tobacco, hard drugs, or alcohol. You have given your body to Christ.
Beware of becoming so busy (even in doing good things), that you do not take time to keep talking submissively to God and reading the Bible. You want to crowd sin out, but you do not want to crowd Jesus out of your life! If you do, you will soon have a big fall! Beware! Beware!
Remain positive. Keep thanking God for all that you have. If the weather is miserable, thank the Lord for the weather! If you are on a sickbed, in prison, or whatever may be your problem, thank Him for everything you can possibly thank Him for! As you do so, encouragement and strength will enter your mind. Never let go of His hand. Never abandon your confidence in Him—and your reward will be great. God, Himself, guarantees it.
Much more could be said, but here are additional suggestions:
“When the soul surrenders itself to Christ, a new power takes possession of the new heart. A change is wrought which man can never accomplish for himself. It is a supernatural work, bringing a supernatural element into human nature. The soul that is yielded to Christ becomes His own fortress, which He holds in a revolted world, and He intends that no authority shall be known in it but His own.
“A soul thus kept in possession by the heavenly agencies is impregnable to the assaults of Satan. But unless we do yield ourselves to the control of Christ, we shall be dominated by the wicked one. We must inevitably be under the control of the one or the other of the two great powers that are contending for the supremacy of the world. It is not necessary for us deliberately to choose the service of the kingdom of darkness in order to come under its dominion. We have only to neglect to ally ourselves with the kingdom of light.
“If we do not co-operate with the heavenly agencies, Satan will take possession of the heart, and will make it his abiding place. The only defense against evil is the indwelling of Christ in the heart through faith in His righteousness. Unless we become vitally connected with God, we can never resist the unhallowed effects of self-love, self-indulgence, and temptation to sin.
“We may leave off many bad habits, for the time we may part company with Satan; but without a vital connection with God, through the surrender of ourselves to Him moment by moment, we shall be overcome. Without a personal acquaintance with Christ, and a continual communion, we are at the mercy of the enemy, and shall do his bidding in the end.”— Desire of Ages, 324.
“Every individual, by his own act, either puts Christ from him by refusing to cherish His spirit and follow His example, or he enters into a personal union with Christ by self-renunciation, faith, and obedience. We must, each for himself, choose Christ, because He has first chosen us.
“This union with Christ is to be formed by those who are naturally at enmity with Him. It is a relation of utter dependence, to be entered into by a proud heart. This is close work, and many who profess to be followers of Christ know nothing of it. They nominally accept the Saviour, but not as the sole ruler of their hearts.
“Some feel their need of the atonement, and with the recognition of this need, and the desire for a change of heart, a struggle begins. To renounce their own will, perhaps their chosen objects of affection or pursuit, requires an effort, at which many hesitate and falter and turn back. Yet this battle must be fought by every heart that is truly converted. We must war against temptations without and within. We must gain the victory over self, crucify the affections and lusts; and then begins the union of the soul with Christ.
“As the dry and apparently lifeless branch is grafted into the living tree, so may we become living branches of the True Vine. And the fruit which was borne by Christ will be borne by all His followers. After this union is formed, it can be preserved only by continual, earnest, painstaking effort. Christ exercises His power to preserve and guard this sacred tie, and the dependent, helpless sinner must act his part with untiring energy, or Satan by his cruel, cunning power will separate him from Christ.
“Every Christian must stand on guard continually, watching every avenue of the soul where Satan might find access. He must pray for divine help and at the same time resolutely resist every inclination to sin. By courage, by faith, by persevering toil, he can conquer. But let him remember that to gain the victory Christ must abide in him and he in Christ . . It is only by personal union with Christ, by communion with Him daily, hourly, that we can bear the fruits of the Holy Spirit.”—5 Testimonies, 46-48.
“[Many] do not see the importance of self-knowledge and self-control. They do not watch and pray, lest they enter into temptation. If they would watch, they would become acquainted with their weak points, where they are most likely to be assailed by temptation. With watchfulness and prayer their weakest points can be so guarded as to become their strongest points, and they can encounter temptation without being overcome. Every follower of Christ should daily examine himself, that he may become perfectly acquainted with his own conduct.”—2 Testimonies, 511.
“You need not despair. You must be determined to believe, although nothing seems true and real to you. I need not tell you it is you yourself that has brought you into this unenviable position . . It is for you to yield up your will to the will of Jesus Christ; and as you do this, God will immediately take pos-session and work in you to will and to do of His good pleasure. Your whole nature will then be brought under the control of the Spirit of Christ, and even your thoughts will be subject to Him.
“You cannot control your impulses, your emotions, as you may desire; but you can control the will, and you can make an entire change in your life. By yielding up your will to Christ, your life will be hid with Christ in God and allied to the power which is above all principalities and powers. You will have strength from God that will hold you fast to His strength; and a new light, even the light of living faith, will be possible to you. But your will must co-operate with God’s will, not with the will of associates through whom Satan is constantly working to ensnare and destroy you.
“Will you not without delay place yourself in right relation to God? Will you not say, ‘I will give my will to Jesus, and I will do it now,’ and from this moment be wholly on the Lord’s side? Disregard custom and the strong clamoring of appetite and passion . . Say, ‘I will believe, I do believe that God is my helper,’ and you will find that you are triumphant in God. By steadfastly keeping the will on the Lord’s side, every emotion will be brought into captivity to the will of Jesus. You will then find your feet on solid rock. It will take, at times, every particle of will power which you possess; but it is God that is working for you, and you will come forth from the molding process a vessel unto honor.
“Talk faith. Keep on God’s side of the line. Set not your foot on the enemy’s side, and the Lord will be your helper. He will do for you that which it is not possible for you to do for yourself.”—5 Testimonies, 513-514.
“Those who are continually learning in the school of Christ will be able to pursue the even tenor of their way, and Satan’s efforts to throw them off their balance will be signally defeated. Temptation is not sin. Jesus was holy and pure; yet He was tempted in all points as we are, but with a strength and power [of temptation upon Him] that man will never be called upon to endure. In His successful resistance He has left us a bright example, that we should follow His steps.
“If we are self-confident or self-righteous we shall be left to fall under the power of temptation; but if we look to Jesus and trust in Him we call to our aid a power that has conquered the foe on the field of battle, and with every temptation He will make a way of escape. When Satan comes in like a flood, we must meet his temptations with the sword of the Spirit, and Jesus will be our helper and will lift up for us a standard against him. The father of lies quakes and trembles when the truth of God, in burning power, is thrown in his face.
“Satan makes every effort to lead people away from God; and he is successful in his purpose when the religious life is drowned in business cares, when he can so absorb their minds in business that they will not take time to read their Bibles, to pray in secret, and to keep the offering of praise and thanksgiving burning on the altar of sacrifice morning and evening. How few realize the wiles of the arch-deceiver! how many are ignorant of his devices!”—5 Testimonies, 426.
“Satan . . simply asks men to place their affections upon the good things of this world. If he succeeds in engaging the mind and affections, the heavenly attractions are eclipsed. All he wants of man is for him to fall under the deceitful power of his temptations, to love the world, to love rank and position, to love money, and to place his affections upon earthly treasures. If he secures this, he gains all that he asked of Christ.
“The example of Christ shows us that our only hope of victory is in continual resistance of Satan’s attacks. He who triumphed over the adversary of souls in the conflict of temptation understands Satan’s power over the race and has conquered him in our behalf. As an overcomer He has given us the advantage of His victory, that in our efforts to resist the temptations of Satan we may unite our weakness to His strength, our worthlessness to His merits. And, sustained by His enduring might under strong temptation, we may resist in His all-powerful name and overcome as He overcame.”—3 Testimonies, 480.
“God loved the world so dearly that He gave His only-begotten Son that whosoever would accept Him might have power to live His righteous life. Christ proved that it is possible for man to lay hold by faith on the power of God. He showed that the sinner, by repentance and the exercise of faith in the righteousness of Christ, can be reconciled to God, and become a partaker of the divine nature, overcoming the corruption that is in the world through lust.
“Today Satan presents the same temptations that he presented to Christ, offering us the kingdoms of the world in return for our allegiance. But upon him who looks to Jesus as the author and finisher of his faith, Satan’s temptations have no power. He cannot cause to sin the one who will accept by faith the virtues of Him who was tempted in all points as we are, yet without sin.
“ ‘God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.’ He who repents of his sin and accepts the gift of the life of the Son of God, cannot be overcome. Laying hold by faith of the divine nature, he becomes a child of God. He prays, he believes. When tempted and tried, he claims the power that Christ died to give, and overcomes through His grace. This every sinner needs to understand. He must repent of his sin, he must believe in the power of Christ, and accept that power to save and to keep him from sin. How thankful ought we to be for the gift of Christ’s example!”—1 Selected Messages, 223-224.
“He became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey Him.” —Hebrews 5:9
“If thou shalt indeed obey his [the angel’s] voice, and do all that I speak; then I will be an enemy unto thine enemies, and an adversary to thine adversaries.” —Exodus 23:22