A Joyful Overcoming of Temptation

9 min readJune 13, 2023


temptation , satisfaction , joy
Jeff segoviaBy: Jeff Segovia
Share This:
Link copied!

The Joyful Overcoming of Temptation

Every believer is indeed blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ (Ephesians 1:3). Every gift was freely given to us by God on the basis of what the Lord Jesus Christ has done for us. The only reason why we are blessed before God is because we stand on the finished work of Christ.

In Christ, we have become a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:7). We are now God’s workmanship in Him created for good works (Ephesians 2:10). We have been set free from sin and have become slaves of righteousness (Romans 6:18). But although we have been already given a new, solid, and unchanging identity in Him, we can still be tempted and sadly, sometimes we give in to temptations.

Temptation is a reality in the Christian’s life and it is not something to be ignored or denied but something to be biblically dealt with. We can’t be complacent about this. The enemy have used temptations to deceive and weaken even the most experienced and learned Christians throughout history and you and I can be his target as well.

It is my aim in writing this that the reader will find help and comfort as I try to navigate through the Scriptures, specifically in the practical epistle of James, to address temptation and how to overcome it not by brute force or legalistic discipline but by joyful consideration of what the Lord has freely given us.

What is temptation?

The word “temptation” in Greek is πειρασμόν which means “A putting to proof (or test) by provocation”. We still have “members” which are on the earth, that is, fleshly (Col. 3:5). These members lust against the Spirit for these are contrary to it (Gal. 5:17). It is the flesh that the enemy tries to lure by offering us that which will gratify or satisfy the lust of the flesh.

Now, how does temptation come about? James wrote,

Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed.

James 1:13-14

The temptation that James talks about here does not come from God. The Lord cannot be tempted by evil and He does not tempt anyone. He never provokes His children to sin for that is contrary to His nature and that does not align with His will. So, James then clarifies that one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed.

The very presence of temptation around us does not mean that we have already sinned. We sin when temptation appeals to our own desires and we start to be enticed or attracted to it. The Lord Jesus Christ was tempted in all points yet He was without sin (Hebrews 4:15). None of the enemy’s offering was the desire of the Lord so He didn’t give in to any of it. So, temptation takes advantage of the desires of the flesh so the enemy packages his offerings in such a way that appeals to our flesh and its desires. A man’s desire is important for it is the pedestal upon which all his actions are grounded. Thus, we are urged to put to death our members which are earthly (Col. 3:5). Even as born-again, blood-bought believers, there still remains our flesh that needs to be mortified day by day through the sword of the Spirit which is the word of God.

Now notice what James says,

But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed.

James 1:14

Note the part which says, “he is drawn away”. The idea here is that every time that there’s a temptation, its goal is to draw us away from something that is far more precious and glorious. The devil cannot break the covenant in which we are under and he cannot nullify our salvation. But he can distract and deceive us so that instead of being drawn to God, we are drawn away from Him but drawn to our own desires. He will do everything in his power, offering us pleasure after pleasure, things that seem harmless and beautiful yet bitter and poisonous and life-draining, just to stop us from enjoying God. The aim of the suffering of Christ is to reconcile or to bring us back to God (1 Peter 3:18) but the aim of satan by means of temptation is to draw us away from God.

The end game of the devil is for us to become dry, fruitless, and unusable for God’s kingdom. But he does not need to provoke us directly to sin. All he needs to do is to have us feed our own desires with the pleasures that he is offering us. James wrote,

Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.

James 1:15

The enemy knows how deadly a fleshly desire is that when it is conceived, it gives birth to sin and sin brings forth death.

Temptation is Deception

Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren.

James 1:16

Contextually, in saying “Do not be deceived”, James is essentially saying that temptation is deception and when we give in to temptation, we are being deceived. We have to understand this and we have to really know that to be deceived is not God’s will for us. Think of temptation like a spider’s web which is so intricately woven and set in place beautifully with all its symmetries and shapes. Yet, that same web can be a trap to other insects. We have to always understand that the devil’s trap always appears harmless, sweet, and beautiful but in reality, it is deadly, bitter, and ugly. We have to always remember that his aim is to paralyze us by trying to drain the life from us through all the distractions that he serves to us. He never wants us to enjoy God. He never wants us to pray and to read God’s word. So, the enemy will do everything to feed us with the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life so we’ll end up dry, barren, and unusable for God’s kingdom.

How to overcome temptation?

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. James 1:17

It is most helpful in overcoming temptation when we fully grasp the worth of Christ and what we have in Him. Verse 17 is not another subject that James wanted to discuss in his epistle. Rather, it is a continuation of the present subject which is about temptation. After saying, “Do not be deceived”, James goes on to say that every good and perfect gift is from the Father. He is saying that temptation may appear good and perfect but make no mistake for every good and perfect gift only comes from God. Thus, the joyful remembering and treasuring of what the Lord has given us in Christ is the key to overcome temptations.

Remember that everything that the enemy is offering us is a counterfeit which should not be exchanged for the fullness of joy in God’s presence and for the real pleasures in Him. In God we have life while satan wants to kill us. In Christ we are reconciled to the Father while satan’s aim is to draw us way from Him. The fullness of joy is in God’s presence alone so satan distracts us by telling us that we can be happy in entertainment. Again, every good and perfect is from God alone and we will do well when we always remember all the things the we have in Christ.

Enduring Temptation is Loving God

Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. James 1:12

The ones who will surely endure temptation are those who love God. John wrote,

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 1 John 2:15

Not enduring temptation means something in us loves the world and this implies that we have not truly received the love of the Father. The Father’s love which He wonderfully demonstrated through the suffering of His Son produces in us a love for Him. “We love Him because He first loved us (1 John 4:19)”. It is the Father’s love that draws us continually to Him and empowers us to endure temptations. The glad enjoyment of His love causes us to live for Him and to say no to all that which tries to satisfy the flesh.


The Scriptures expose to us the nature of temptation and how to overcome it. Temptation is deception and only the knowledge of the truth of what we have in God because of Christ can really help us in this fight. Moreover, while overcoming temptation is indeed a fight that we are to engage in, we must hear the Scriptures when it says, “flee” (1 Cor. 6:18, 1 Cor. 10:14, 1 Tim. 6:11, 2 Tim. 2:22). The point is, rather than starting a fight, just flee and “Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth (Colossians 3:2)”. Savor God, enjoy Him forever by making much of Him for this is how we joyfully endure everything including temptations until our faith is turned to sight.

Share This:
Link copied!