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How to manage temptation.

February 18, 2010

James 1:12 : Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.

Many years ago a well known Christian leader I had some dealings with was caught out having an affair.  He had been seeing another woman in secret for more than 4 years. It really rocked me and the other Christian men in my network.  We asked questions of each other, how could this happen?  How could he allow himself to get into this situation?  Why didn’t his faith challenge him to stop?  And then a young pastor friend of mine said to me, ‘Mark this could happen to you or I, we need to be vigilant.’  I have never forgotten this.  Temptation is ever present in my life, this is part of life, and not being tempted is unrealistic.  But I am no victim drawn towards sin without little choice!  I can choose to manage temptation and not to sin.  That is my choice.  There are some precautions, some things I can do to avoid sin that are outlined in this amazing James 1:12 reading.

The first is to love God, which in the greek is agapao, meaning to be devoted.  So I counter temptation and sin by spending a huge amount of time thinking about God.  Reading His Word, in prayer, chatting with others: making God a major focus in my life.

The second lesson from James 1:12 is the importance of enduring.  Just keep going, stay on the path, being determined not to give up.  Stand firm!

The third help I find in James 1:12 to reduce the affect of temptation, is to desire the crown of life.  The crown is a reward given by a king, and that king is God, and the reward ceremony will be in heaven!  This is something I really need to work on, desiring my reward in heaven.

And the final help is to yearn to be blessed.  Blessed refers to God’s favour, of God working through my life in amazing and wonderful ways –  oh I want that!

So how do I reduce the affects of temptation in my life?  I seek to be devoted to God, to endure through the hardships, to desire after a reward in heaven and to yearn to be blessed.  Praise God!!

God bless,

Mark

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Yahweh’s Yarn in a Year : 1 year Bible reading plan

The Portion for today is:  Psalms Chapters 18-20

To access the complete plan for the year click here.

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58 Comments
  1. Tami permalink

    Hi Mark,
    I just want you to know what a wonderful blessing your e-mails are to me. Thank you so much for your time and dedication to, not only your own faith, but your concern about strengthening your brothers & sisters in Christ. You are a blessing to so many and I just wanted to take the time to personally thank you.

    • Dear Mark,

      What a blessing your insights are! Thank you so much for sharing. You help me organize my own thoughts and dig deeper in my soul, which I truly appreciate.

      Keep it coming.

      In Christ’s Love,

      Pam

  2. Bev permalink

    God’s word in James really spoke to me. None of us are immune to temptation and need to be on guard always. By doing the steps you outlined gives me new insight into what I should keep my eyes on.
    Thank you, Mark. You help more than you know. God bless you and your family!

  3. angel permalink

    hello mark i dont know but you spoke directly to me there i have a very terrible temptation i am addicted to sex but i am not married i try to stay away and i always tell myself i am not gonna do it but then when i meet to that point i give in i dont know what to do anymore i know i have to get over it and i pray about it but i am weak and the devil knows that please help me tell me what i can do

    • Hey Angel,

      Seriously make use of what I share in this reflection.. spend time in private thinking and praying about it.. yearn for God sister!!! I am praying for you. Mark Brown.

      • Colleen permalink

        You know the closer I get to God the more he calls me on the little things. The “Big” sins do not tempt me however it is my attitude and the day to day things we all take for granted that I keep hearing the quiet check from GOD about. My Attitude toward the small things keeps getting me into trouble. I confess that it is a problem, ask for forgiveness and comtinue to walk as he directs.

  4. Cristy S. permalink

    God may test us to strengthen our faith, but He never temps us, because the goal of temptation is to cause a person to sin. The Scriptures teach us that God is sovereign. That’s doesn’t mean He always intervenes in negative circumstances. It does mean that He has a purpose and that He will fulfill it, despite the evil of our fallen world.

  5. Laura Isham permalink

    This was great.We are all a temptation away from God the devil is so tricky. Really enjoyed this word. Thank you.Never say never, you may need to eat your words…….

  6. Joshua Waugh permalink

    I really enjoyed this. It is good to know that through God and seeking Him we can overcome temptation. Lead us not this day into temptation but deliver us from evil, Father. Thank God for you and all you do Mark! God bless!

    p.s. i really enjoyed the picture you put on here of the guy praising God 🙂

  7. isaac nazulme permalink

    I fell to the temptation many of times. The enemy does nothing without permission, just as Christ was tempted in the wilderness so will we be tempted. But when God really got a hold of me I was willing to walk out of adultery and give my sinful lifestyle, the grace of Yahweh kept me and now i’m not afraid of death because I seek the kingdom of heaven, I desire to live of life in Christ in Gods love, joy and peace. I love Him and won’t turn back no matter what may come. I’ve learned the best way to avoid temptatiion is to just stay away from worldly pleasures, resist with the word, remember Yahweh is watching, the wages of sin is death and greater is He (Christ) that is with in me than he that’s in the world. Plus I almost died in my sins but God called me, I heard the voice of Jesus and I came back into the fold and surrendered my will to do Yahweh’s and to follow Christ. And i’m not ashamed to tell my story because if it wasn’t Jesus where would I be…I thank Yahweh for saving me. God bless you brother Mark.

  8. Sister Pam OP permalink

    Temptation is something we all struggle with every single day. Jesus certainly was tempted, as well. The odd thing is that we are so much better off not yielding to temptation, yet, we often do anyway. This is true in this world and in the next world. Sin has never benefited anyone, yet we all still do it. I hate sin and I still sin. The advice given in this scripture lesson is quite helpful. I am grateful that Jesus understands temptation, what it is to be human. Although Jesus is without sin, he knows how difficult it is for us. I need to keep that in mind when I am tempted to look down on someone else who sins. I must remember to love as Jesus loves, with devotion.

  9. Jo Heatley permalink

    Hi Mark!
    I agree totally with you we all have the choice to sin or not to sin, to walk in the flesh or to walk in the Spirit.
    The closer we walk with God the more often we are tempted. The evil one knows our weaknesses and tries to trip us up.
    The Lord knows how hard it us for us and if we are walking closely to Him, He will give us the strength to resist. However, I have found myself crying out to Him to help me because I do not want to separate myself from Him even for a moment only then to go out from my prayer room and sin.

    I think our thought life is where the sin takes root and it is there where we need the Lord’s help to purify our minds and hearts. I pray He gives me an obedient heart, a pure heart, a heart after his own heart, for those who are pure of heart will see God and that is what I desire more than anything. x x

  10. Catherine permalink

    I wondered at one time why my own faith (which was firmly rooted) did not stop me either. I am not ashamed to admit that I have yielded to the temptation of adultery. My marriage had been failing for years by that point. I felt that I had tried everything to try to tell my husband how I was feeling and what I felt that we needed to do about it. None of my appeals worked…nothing helped me…not my faith in God, not my Christian friends, not my family…nothing. It was through my own complacency that I stumbled and fell. I came to the point of not caring anymore and that is a DANGEROUS place to be. When you stop caring about your desire to please God, to be longsuffering, or to keep running for the prize (eternal life), you open yourself completely up to temptation. My marriage is over for many reasons…but I will always pay the price for my misdeeds here on earth. I am so glad that I have a Savior who has forgiven me, made me whole, picked me back up…and shelter’s me under His wings from those temptations today…

  11. Lori permalink

    Thank you for pointing out it is a choice WE make, whether or not to give into temptation. I have heard a lot of Christians say we cannot help it because of our ” sin nature “. We have become new creations in Christ and all things have become new. We have the ability of Christ to resist the devil. When we do this, the word of God says the devil WILL flee. I am so thankful for that.

  12. Seka permalink

    I just wanted to let you know how much of a blessing this article was..it really opened up my eyes to temptation…keep doing what you are doing..God bless!

  13. Nelson Santos permalink

    To be honest It has been one of my weakness and devil knows me very well

    but come on ,is a personal decision to fail or not God give us the power to take our own decision I mean we are not program machines, we know what to do

    but God has given us tools to control and turn away about temptation, so we´d better run and ask God for guidance and we have to pray a lot

    some people when make that kind of mistakes , blame to devil but sometimes is our wiil

    so let get serious God wants to be faithfully

  14. brandon permalink

    Hello Bro. Mark,
    I want to thank you first for the work you are doing for Christ and also for this post. I lead an addictions ministry at my church in Florida and I will share this with the group this Saturday. I think it will be a great help to them. We all fight temptations in whatever area and we all have to make the decision to turn away from it and serve Christ with all that we are. Thank you again brother and keep up the good work. God Bless You

  15. Sherry permalink

    Reading your daily insights give me the boost I need to journey deeper in God’s Word to seek my purpose in life.

  16. I am so happy that Jesus brought me to this site. I look forward to reading what you have posted everyday. It seems like you are reading my mind and what I struggle in. Mark, you have helped me and many others to grow stronger in our faith. For I am so tempted but the growing strength that I am obtaining is help me to become stronger. Please keep this up for all of weary sinners like me. For I do sin everyday because I am still a weak child of God but growing stronger everyday. Thanks you are one of the truly annointed ones.

  17. Bryan permalink

    I really appreciate your thoughts on this. Being in God’s Word is definetly the key — I know I find myself especially vulnerable coincides with times I have neglected alone time with God and His Word.
    I know this may sound strange but the song “Hit the Road Jack” has been going through my mind when thinking about temptation & when Jesus said for Satan to go away from Him & used the Scripture as a powerful weapon. So when tempted — just tell the devil to hit the road Jack & don’t come back no more!

  18. Treese permalink

    Thanks Mark. That was for me.

  19. Leah permalink

    Hello Mark,

    Please pray for my fiance. he has been addicted to porn and “sexy” magazines since he could search for it on web. He says he has dropped the addiction but i have found several naughty items on his computer that he “forgot” to cover up. i am praying that the Lord come into his life and help him to resist the tempations of our society. i know deep down he wants to change but needs some prayers and some positive mentors in his life. thanks 🙂

  20. Guy permalink

    Nothing much more to add but to say that we have very careful not beat ourselves up over our failings. Theres should be no such thing as regretes. I have plenty of things in my life that i wish i hadn’t done, some of them fairly low towards other people. I was told to look at them as lessons and not failings, we learn from our low points. We have to let go of the past and learn from it. Most importantly we have accept Gods grace in all of this.
    “Grace, it’s the name for a girl, but it’s also a thought that could change the world” (Bono)

  21. karen permalink

    I have a temptation/addiction to slot machine gambling. The temptation is very strong and I succumb. I am weary of the battle. I don’t want Satan to win. Please pray fervently, I will know that am I being lifted up. I’m gonna give it my best. Love to all in Christ.

  22. Thank you Jesus for the Grace to fight my temtations.

  23. Lydia Reyes permalink

    Oh, how I thank God for being lead in his rightious ways. Everyday I grow more in the way God wants me to. Temptations are all around us, But As you say brother Mark, If we would just put God First before any thing or any one we have a better chance in not falling into the things that tempt us. I know for myself, the more I immerse in the word and fellowship with people that love the Lord ,I feel the tugging of the Holy Spirit given me decernment on what is the right thing to do. That doesn’t mean that I never failed, but the closer I get to God , The temptations don’t over power me like when I was not walking with God. God is doing such a mighty work in you,Mark and I thank him everyday for sending me such a humble human being to help all of us here to grow in his way. Much Love and Respect

  24. Kristin permalink

    How amazing is it, to be loved by a God that has forgiven our past, present , and future sins!! It blows my mind!! To my God be all the Glory!!!!!! Great message today!

  25. Michele permalink

    Thank you once again for your reflection Brother Mark. I will lift you all up in prayer as God knows what each and everyone of you and I struggle with. He is a forgiving God and will give us the strength and wisdom to make the right choices if we seek Him first. I myself find the closer I get to God the more Satan is trying to make my life miserable. But, I do have peace in knowing that God can fight this battle and win. I have to stay obedient to Him and keep my eyes fixed upon Him.

  26. Pam Dye permalink

    Ephesians 6:12, “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”
    Use scripture as Jesus did when satan came to tempt him. God’s Word is POWER. He instructs us to use it, for deliverance of any thing satan or his … See Moremessengers throw at us! We know what is right or wrong. Bind the thought if it comes and profess the name of Jesus Christ and cast it out straight to the pit where it came. You have that choice not to give in. It’s what you choose to do with it.
    Praise God!!!

  27. An old saying goes like this, Never say Never. I am thankful for your sermons. Often people see others fall into sin, and we might say ” I would never get into a situation like this” Thank you again for sermons that help us in our every day lives to stay in the faith.

  28. louie permalink

    thank bro mike in your sermons.im very bless

  29. temptation it at us all i pray to god and ask him to please keep where i am doing what right in his eyes i don’t want to do nothing that does not please him i want to die to the flesh daily and get stronger in the spirit and i love reading my bible i love it well thank you for this helpful word god bless in jesus cecil and jason the burdette brother

  30. arpana permalink

    Dear Mark,

    Thank u 4 those words.they are indeed an encouragement to stay pure n choose right.god bless you mark.thank u once again

  31. Ron Haas permalink

    Was so blessed by your post. I was at a point in my life where i needed to hear something like this.

  32. Benjamin permalink

    God bless you Mark!

    This words spoke to me loudly today.God has spoken through you to me and I thank Him for that and much more.

    My story is similar to the Christian leader.I loved Katia so much since I first met her March 2009.I am Kenyan and she is a Canadian.Our first chat was one night on a coach discussing about he story of creation and homosexuality and our views about each.From this I realized that Katia views Christ as a wise man,prophet and a man just like any other man.She said she is not a christian and never shall she become one.In addition to that,she said her religion is love.She later told me that she had separated with her husband and I realized that her life was not okay.Sometime later,she confessed to me many experiences in her life and I felt she needed Jesus in her life.She openly said that she does not Jesus in her life and that the story of Jesus and salvation chokes her.Katia is a good friend of mine now and we have been going out together every time she visits Kenya.I love her so much and I have trusting God for a day when she shall stand and say that Christ is Lord.I have faith that God uses the circumstances of our lives for His Glory.

    Shawn,Katia’s separated husband visited Kenya last year and I am the man who received him here.I saw such a great guy.I remembered Katia’s words that she will never go back to him.He still loves her and wants her back but she can’t accept it because they do not simply connect and their 10 years relationship never came to anything.Katia says she connects with me very much and wants me to the love of her life…Something haunts me so much and I do not know what to do.Pray for me as I trust God to show the way.

    • isaac nazulme permalink

      Benjamine read what the word of God says of marriage and divorce, and read the book of James. She doesn’t believe and refuses to believe in Christ, we are to love all but no to be friends with those of the world. If you are single do the Godly thing and walk away, pray for her and leave it in the hands of the Almighty God, resist the devil and he will flee. Jesus said if any man divorces his wife and marries another he committs adultery and if any woman divorces her husband and marries another she committs adultery and the man who marries a divorced women also committs adultery. Find yourself an umarried woman of God, one who’s equally yoked, God has her out there for you. I fell into the same temptation, was ready to divorce my wife not knowing and listening to others bit Jesus spoke to me and God called me into the ministry of marriage in it’s fullness. The more you commune with her the more you give the devil power. Not telling you to be mean but you have to remove yourself from the situation. Gb.

      • Jam permalink

        Benjamin, Isaac is correct in what he writes to you. First, no matter how you try and justify it, she is married and has made a commitment with another man “til death do we part”. I know that she is feeling that her marriage is over but God may have other plans for her and her husband. It is amazing what God can do in a marriage. I know because I once felt the same way toward MY husband and had another man that I thought I clicked with and was better suited for. It was only after he was removed from the picture that God was allowed to do the repairs He needed to do in our marriage. He could do the same for Katia and her husband and you could be praying for them both since you do know the Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. I am sorry that this is something that probably hurts your heart ALOT to read but it IS the TRUTH and the TRUTH WILL SET YOU FREE IF YOU ALLOW IT TO. This is wrong and God does have someone for you somewhere. A BELIEVER who can connect with you on a much higher level than you can ever imagine. Stay strong and I will be praying for you

  33. Just as long as we keep God at our midst, no temptation could ever devour us. A temptation remains to be a temptation just as long as we don’t give in. Prayers , indeed, serve as the best shield in order for us not to be tempted by material things.

  34. Peter Dighton permalink

    Dear Mark,

    Thank you so much for your daily messages, your messages are truly great. I especially found this message to be relevent to my position as I am suffering so much with temptations and I am always faultering. I really want to walk closely with the LORD but do not know how to counter these temptations.

    I truly wish you the LORDS blessings for you and your family and hope you will continue with these daily readings.

    GOD BLESS YOU.

    Peter

  35. No problems about being tempted, Jesus was. If you yield , that is when you sin 1 cor:10:13

  36. can i use some of this in my church publication?

    • Sure! Just include this blog address and my name and you can use whatever you want!
      God bless, Mark

  37. Wow. May god bless you as you have blessed me. He sees you spreading his message and for that just know god has something MAJOR planned for you that’s unspeekable… Thanks

  38. Kim permalink

    Thank You Mark for taking the time to encourage myself and others 🙂

  39. Patrick Vossen permalink

    Mark,

    Excellent Word. We have to be diligent.

    I have been listening to a series by Rev. Derek Prince,
    a former English Charismatic Minister. From
    his Legacy series tapes on derekprince.org. The whole
    series has been on the Covenant of Marriage. It truly
    went along with what you were talking about, and quite
    lucid it has been.

    Take care, blessings my brother.

  40. Brother Mark, this was really an enjoyable lesson…and also one to really think about as well. For when we keep our minds on God, life is much easier then! Thank You for your wonderful FaceBook site!

  41. WE, ALL ARE STILL IN THE FLESH. BUT WE DON’T HAVE TO YEILD TO THE TEMPTATIONS OF THE FLESH. THNIGS CAN GET OUT OF HAND ALSO OVERPOWERING. TO SEE JESUS AND WIN THE CROWN OF LIFE. YOU MUCH FIGHT UNTIL THE END. REMEMBER HE WILL HELP US ALL THE WAY. JESUS SAID IT AND THAT SETTLE IT.. REV. MARK BROWN, THANKS FOR LETTING THE LORD USE YOU TO FEED THE FLOCK. THE SHORT TIME I BEEN READING J-D-I-G-W IT HAD MADE ME STRONGER IN THE WORD I JUST LOVE IT,SO MUCH. BLESSING ON YOU!!!

  42. MARK, DO OTHERS JUST WANT YOUR FEED BACK? OR OTHERS AS WELL!!

  43. Pam Dye permalink

    (1 John 1:3,7 KJV)
    (3) That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship {is} with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. (7) But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.

  44. I absolutely love this blog. I never used to read the spiritual vitamins sent by people I know, but since I’ve started receiving your daily lesson, I am hooked. And it seems like every lesson you send is especially for me–especially today’s lesson. I struggle with temptation as does everyone else and my greatest temptation is lust. I made the decision to give up sex for Lent. I don’t know if that’s a valid scrifice or not, but I do know that it is something that I need to work on. In the past, I have found myself giving into sex and then feeling empty afterwards and then wondering “why did I just do that?” “what was the point?” I think that one way for me to strengthen my relationship with God and walk in His Will is by giving up that vice. Thank you Pastor Mark for your on-time word.

    • Pst.J permalink

      JG….I want to share with you certain issues which i believe will help you & anyone who is in this state.
      As a young convert,I dealt with LUST not untill years later I found it coming into my life, strongly like never before. in fact I’m just trying to regain my self because I messes up last month.
      Now we all must be carefull concerning: the things we watch, friends we keep etc.
      let me share my experience with you. I met a friend online, & we were discussing scriptures,though my spirit knew that the enemy is @ work, but I ignorantly refuse,because of my LUST (The bible order us to flee).Due to pressure of lust….I began to look @ sensitive part of the Female body in an attempt to strengthen my self, which ended up in ponography which lead me to mastubate.
      & With my friend who is Old enough to be my mum, we began to lust after each other & I made her to be naked before the cam. which lead me to mastubate again.
      now all this things begins with our desire….the thing with think most (give) Piority to,takes the center stage, THINK SPIRITUAL!!!
      As I’m talking to you, I know God has forgiven me, but we need to be strong & rely completely on God.because my bro. I’m a pastor & so what then will I tell my congregation? I had to Delet all contacts on my page that i dont know & renounce every act.because I dont want to go to hell. I shared with few brothers in the faith on how lust was finding it way into my life.
      & for those who think marriage is a solution ground,good! but if you go into marriage because of sex,then you have to stand strong or else the same spirt will hunt you even in your matrimonial homes. Marriage is a ministry & not just for sex. Be blessed the Lord will grant us the grace to stand untill the very end.
      Shalom!!!
      Pst. J

      • Thanks for your words. See my problem has always been when I have someone around, I just give in very easily. And I want that to stop. So I’m trying to strengthen myself more spiritually so that I can have the confidence and faith to not give in so easily to my lustful desires with a guy who, half the time, well most of the time, I am not in a relationship with nor do I love. So I’m really trying to correct that issue in me.

  45. Samuel Abolade permalink

    I’m really blessed by this blog. God bless you Mark

  46. trish m g permalink

    this is so interesting when we pray the lord really hears and your writings have been very inspirational to me may God continue to bless and inspire you

  47. Connie permalink

    This passage reminds me that when we “let go and let God” we receive God’s gracious blessing. I need to constantly let go of focusing on my problems and let God do His work in me through consistent prayer, studding the Bible, and having fellowship with fellow Christians. This is an area that has been slacking in my life for the past three weeks. I’m so glad to have this message this morning to help me keep my priorities straight. My top priority needs to stay focused on God, not everything that is around me and about me. I need to stay focused on things around and about God.

  48. Hannah permalink

    Hi im Mark i dont usually read your blog but as christian i never felt like anyone could answer my question of how to resist temptation. Even thou i am only in middle school i have (or try) to be a mature christian everyday. I just would like to say thank you because it sounds ridiculious but, i have temptaion so much that it will just over power me. It seems like middle school is the toughest place on earth right now. I just really wanted to find a verse on temptationto to help me, and if it weren’t for your message I might not be a better christain in the future. Thank you so much. – Aynonomus Middle schooler

    ps- i might have spelled a few things wrong forgive me.

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