Salvation is not a barrier to temptation. On the contrary, Satan is more likely to attack Christians than unbelievers. He loves nothing better than causing one of God’s children to fall into sin. But temptation, while unavoidable, can be overcome! Although it is hard to endure, temptation can be used to help us grow in Jesus. I believe every believer needs and wants to know how to turn temptation into triumph.

When temptations arise, people usually respond in one of three ways. The primary method is to simply give in. These individuals are not concerned with the result of their sin or with the moral consequences. Others struggle against temptation daily. They spend all their time fighting temptation in their own strength. They fight and fail over and over, because no one can overcome human nature alone. If we could defeat the power of sin on our own strength, then it would have been pointless for Jesus to die for us. Finally, there are those who overcome temptation through the power of Jesus Christ. They turn their temptations into triumphs. That may sound like wishful thinking, but I assure you that you can win over temptation. It is possible to live in victory. But you need to know a few things to be able to accomplish this. 


All humans are subject to temptation (for example, Jesus, Peter, David). Every day we are assaulted with a wide range of temptations. We all have one area where we are particularly vulnerable. 

It is not a sin to be tempted (Heb. 4:15). Our greatest danger is to think we have arrived at a place where we are above sinning (Heb. 4:12; Prov. 16:18). When our pride tells us that we cannot fall, we are headed for a huge one.


Many sins are “common” (Heb. 4:13). Do not think your temptations are so great; they are just like the ones we all face. They are just common, runof-the-mill, garden-variety temptations. We all get the same ones from the same sources (1 John 2:16; Gen. 3). There are three primary sources of temptation: the world, the flesh, and the devil. Let’s look at these three sources and how they attack us.

The world. In the Bible, “world” means “system” or “order.” The Bible speaks of this system called the world and says it is evil (1 John 2:15; James 4:4). Believers may become so worldly that they fail to stand out for the Lord. We are to be different and distinct. We are not to allow the world to force us into its mold (Rom. 12:1, 2; Matt. 5:13- 16). 

The flesh. Every one of us, from the most innocent child to the most spiritual adult, has an inclination toward sin. We inherited this from our first father, Adam. It is called the “old nature” (Galatians 5:17 says that there is a civil war in the heart of every saved person here today). When we fail, we try to blame our sin on the devil.

The devil. His main objective is to lead you into sin. He knows every weakness you have, and he exploits them trying to get you to sin. 


Man is made in the image of the triune God. Man is a triune being, possessing body, soul, and spirit. When you are tempted, you will be tempted in one of these three areas. If we are going to overcome temptation, we need to understand this principle and pay attention to the areas that will be attacked.

The soul. “Soul” is the word used to describe your internal self. “Soul” is your mind, your will, and your emotions. The world is the primary tempter of the soul. The world says to the soul, “You need more. You can have more!” The world always appeals to the ego, to pride. A worldly person is one who indulges in the pleasures of the world (for example, Lot looked, lived, and lost in the world; see Gen. 13:10-12).

The body. Referring to the “old nature,” the flesh always attacks the body. We are tempted by laziness, lust, overindulgence, sexual sin, etc. These are temptations of the flesh (for example, David with Bathsheba; read 2 Sam. 11).

The spirit. The spirit is the primary arena for satanic attack. If the soul is our self-consciousness, then the spirit is our God-consciousness. Our spirit is what sets us apart from the animals. It is in our spirit that we can know God. It is our spirit that worships and communicates with God. Satan hates this communion. He places doubts in our minds to distract us. He places false doctrine there to turn us away from the truth.


There are three words to remember when facing temptation: flight, faith, and fight.

To overcome the flesh, we need flight. The key to defeating temptations of the flesh is to flee from them (1 Cor. 6:18, “flee fornication”; 1 Cor. 10:14, “flee idolatry”; 2 Tim. 2:22, “flee youthful lusts”). You cannot expose yourself to these temptation and expect to escape unscathed (read Prov. 6:27; read also the story of Joseph and Potipher’s wife in Gen. 39:12).

To overcome the world, we need faith. Faith that Jesus will take care of us when we willingly give up our attachment to worldly things. If we love the world, we cannot love God (1 John 2:15; James 4:4). If you really want victory over the world, you must love Jesus more than you love the world (Heb. 12:2). It is our faith in Him that offers us the victory (1 John 5:4).

To overcome the devil, we must fight. If we stand up and fight, Satan will flee (James 4:7). You cannot run away from Satan, but you can drive him away from you. You must face him in the power of the shed blood of Jesus Christ. He doesn’t fear you, but he trembles before the blood of the Lamb! Fight Satan and he will flee (Eph. 4:27; 1 Peter 5:8; Matt. 4).


I don’t know what temptations you are dealing with in your life; however, I do know that if you are breathing, you are struggling to overcome sin! Our greatest resource against temptation is a close relationship with Jesus Christ. Bring your needs to Him. Whatever the need, trial, or temptation, lay it down before the Lord, and He will help you. He has promised us grace during temptation. Why not take Him up on His promise today?

General Conference Ministerial Association