Most people would say that temptations come in all shapes and sizes in various aspects of life, but for the Christian everything comes down to this one temptation and there is a solution.
Whenever you are tempted ask yourself, "Why is this a temptation for me?" Then dig deeper and ask, "What is the real temptation behind the obvious or surface temptation." If you keep doing that you will always come to this conclusion - always: The real temptation is to believe, think, or assume that, "I can decide for myself what I will do or not do because (insert false reasoning or excuse here). For the Christian the temptation is to think, or reason, and decide or choose independently from Jesus. If you think about it that is the same temptation that the serpent presented to Adam and Eve. God said, "Do not eat of this tree." The serpent said, "Did God really say that? He knows that if you eat it you will be like God." So you see at this point the temptation was not to eat the fruit, but the real temptation was to rationalize, think, and decide independently from God. They decided to make a choice not on the basis of what God said, but on the basis of what they themselves thought. The devil is prochoice. He is in favor of you choosing to do things on your own. He is in favor of you choosing to think on your own. He is in favor of you choosing to listen to yourself and obey yourself instead of listening to God and obeying him. Even if there is another person tempting you it comes down to your thinking process. It comes down to you deciding to trust your own thinking, reasoning or logic instead of simply trusting and obeying God.
The Solution is to completely surrender all of yourself to God. The key is "completely surrender all". Many of us think we are completely surrendered to God, but if we start going through specific things then we find that we are not. So let's go through some of those things. Are you completely surrendered to God in:
Your head - thoughts, imaginations, reasonings, what you listen to, look at, smell, taste, and speak.
Your heart - attitudes, motives, values, priorties.
Your body - where you go and what you do with the parts of your body - your fingers, hands, wrists, arms, shoulders, chest, back, hips, private parts, legs, thighs, knees, ankles, feet, toes, skin, and hair.
Some may think this is silly to examine all these things, but I have found that if you haven't gone through in detail all the areas you need to surrender to God then you are not completely surrendered and therefore you are more likely to yield to the devil the things that you have not yet yielded to God. So a complete surrender of all of yourself in part and in whole is absolutely necessary to live successfully with Jesus. And you need to specifically do that.
So how do we do this complete surrender. You must say it out loud to God and yourself over and over again throughout your day. For example just say, "God, I surrender my________________ to you, and I have no claim in this matter but to be pleasing to you." Make a habit of it and the key is to listen to the Holy Spirit leading you. You do not need to make a plan or schedule, but just get started and listen and follow the Holy Spirit. He will reveal all the things that you need to yield to God including your affections, plans, money, goals, dreams, hopes, fears, etc. You must open yourself to the leading of the Holy Spirit. After all God says...
- II Chronicles 30:8 Now do not be stiff-necked, as your fathers were, but yield yourselves to the Lord.
- 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.
- Romans 8:14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God.
- Romans 12:1,2 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God
You can find more on meditation or speaking scripture out loud in my article entitled Say It!