March 16th

Faith to Fight Temptation

1Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. 2Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.  4In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.  Hebrews 12:1-4 NIV 

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. Hebrews 11:1 NIV 

Fighting temptation is an essential skill that we will have to master if we desire to live for God.  The above passage highlights the importance of faith in the battle against temptation.  

Hebrews 11 defined faith and discussed the many heroes of faith from history.  These people believed God, even though they often did not see the fulfillment of what they believed for while on earth.  Many even persevered in faith to the point of death.  These people are the “great cloud of witnesses” mentioned in verse 1 above.  It’s not that they are watching us like spectators to see what we will do, but rather, their lives bear witness to the truth about how faith works.    

Jesus gave us the ultimate example of faith by obeying God in surrendering his life on the cross.  Jesus endured the agony of such a death in faith that God would reward him afterwards.  God rewarded Jesus by giving him the name that is above every name and seated him at the right hand of his throne.  

Jesus, having achieved victory by faith and obedience, now intercedes for us and aids us in resisting temptation (Hebrews 2:18).  One of the ways he helps is by “authoring” faith in us.  He the source of our faith and perfects it as we walk with him.  

Just as the ancients set their hope on the fulfillment of God’s promises to them, we are to set our hope on Jesus who is the fulfillment of all of God’s promises.  The Hebrews author described this as fixing our eyes on Jesus. With our hope (and faith) fixed on Jesus, we can then endure the various challenges of trial and temptation that the world offers us, knowing that we will be rewarded for our faithfulness (Hebrews 11:6).  

Temptations usually have a point of maximum power when we feel most compelled to give in and sin. At that point, we may wonder if the temptation will ever weaken and/or if we’ll be able to hold out any longer against it.  Whenever we get weary of resisting, we can remember that Jesus resisted to the point of shedding his own blood because he believed God.  Just as God rewarded Jesus for resisting, he will reward us as well.  Keeping Jesus, the object of our faith, in mind will help us get through the point of maximum point of temptation in victory. 

Questions for further thought:

Prayer:

“Lord Jesus, thank you for resisting to the point of dying for my sins.  Thank you for never giving in.  I set my faith and hope in you today.  Please forgive me for my sin and cleanse me with your blood.  Please create and perfect the faith in me that will help me live in victory over all sin.  I believe that you are God and that you are a rewarder of those who diligently seek you.  I commit myself to diligently seeking you each day.  Please lead me, teach me, guide me and strengthen me to resist every temptation that comes my way.  Thank you, Jesus!  I praise you now and forever!  Amen.”